Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Northern State: Hip Hop You Haven't Heard [Northern State, 2002]
Three white-girl voices from the farthest reaches of Nassau County: Hesta Prynn angular and willfully ill-bred, Guinea Love zaftig and a touch guttural, the misleadingly handled DJ Sprout well-rounded and sometimes pretty. Their aesthetic is old-school; they quote Roxanne Shanté and cop an all-time beat from Hitman Howie Tee. But their live bass is as hooky as any sample on two of the four tracks on this EP they think is a demo. There's none of that self-abnegating underground minimalism about them, and plenty of regular school, always a reassuring complete disclosure in artists who've been to college: "Keep choice legal, your wardrobe regal/Chekhov wrote The Seagull and Snoopy is a beagle." Twice they boast about their "optimism," and I love them for putting it so literally. Optimism is always the secret, after all. Not only do they believe in their own talent, they're blessed enough to enjoy it. Life isn't eternal. But as long as it renews itself we can pretend. A