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RED Reviews

by Brent Sallay and Autumn Thatcher 

Northern State
All City
Columbia Records

With intense lines such as, “I do this shit ‘cuz it’s the shit I do”, contained within the first song on Northern State’s sophomore album, All City, it becomes rapidly apparent that the Long Island trio knows their “shit.” True, the group may not be the most musically concise group out there, but Hesta Prynn, Spero and Sprout clearly know how to rock the mic. The group’s sophomore album celebrates its release through Columbia Records by proving to the world that Columbia Records will sign just about anybody.

The main problem with Northern State is that the three members just don’t sound well together. The girls each maintain their own elements of talent. However, when brought together, the sound can easily be compared to that most infamous one of nails on a chalkboard. The album attempts to make up for their lack of musical talent through old-school hip-hop beats enhanced by the sound of scratching records in the background. However, the beats aren’t enough to sustain the album and make it worthy of listening to.

It wouldn’t be fair to knock the group without trying out their music first. But one can really only subject themselves to so much torture. The 11-song album does have some humoring moments. “Girl for All Seasons” takes an in-your-face stand against popular magazines that do nothing but instruct girls on how to look beautiful for their guy. The girls in Northern State throw sarcastic rhymes back and forth, and successfully provide an anti-fashion, feminist voice against the pressures that society places on young girls and women to attain an idealistic look that is nearly impossible to achieve.

Though most of their other lyrics lack any sort of depth and intensity, the group’s saving grace lies in their ability to represent themselves as individuals who don’t care about what others think. They are not three white chicks acting as posers—they do have a love and connection with the hip-hop world, and they prefer to be real than change themselves to meet the so-called “norms” of society. Their feminist lyrics are definitely a plus, and perhaps their unwillingness to succumb to society is what excuses their bland voices, although it’s hard to believe that while listening.

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