In the Inknight Hour


Northern State are three young women living in the flash and spirit of 1980, batting words and rhymes back and forth just like the Furious Five of yore, discovering themselves as we discover them, and like the pre-“Message” Five they rap with genuine freedom without making a big capital F deal of it, tell their truth without having to come across as Truth. What’s their truth? “I wrote about The Bell Jar for my book report.” They watch Oprah, Dawson’s Creek, 90210. “I’m a break that shit up like Brenda and Dylan.”

This is Hesta Prynn (dig that name), no holds barred, keeping it real: “Keep choice legal, your wardrobe regal; Chekhov wrote The Seagull, and Snoopy is a beagle.” Hesta has a fabulous New Yawk let-me-massage-you-with-sandpaper voice, but even better is Guinea Love, who’s got the Roxanne Shanté talent for sounding nonchalantly emphatic and casually sultry (comes from an ease with counterrhythms, which she also shares with Shanté: can hit three beats where you expect four, so her voice seems to float, no matter how full-throttle it is otherwise).

Guinea calls out, “To all the boys known for drunk dialing/’Cause my smile’s so fucking beguiling,” but the three women have got their priorities straight. DJ Sprout: “I write rhymes at night, got ink in my bed.” Yeah. I love the wordlife, I love to boogie, I love the verbal round.

Northern State ( play Parkside Lounge July 13.