Killing My Stereo
If this was 1985, Northern State would be touring with the Beastie Boys, and together they would own the hip-hop world. Unfortunately, this is 2003 and Northern State’s album Dying In Stereo feels like more of a cheap rip-off.
The beats are well done – simple and clean. The additions of Latin percussion, live drums, and other instruments make up for what these three girls are lacking, namely anything to really rap about.On first listen, they seem to have it all. They have the nasal whininess of the Beasties, there are three of them, and they are from New York. Whereas the Beastie Boys lyrics and hooks were clever and funny, making fun of themselves as much as everything else around them, Northern State sounds forced, with rhyme schemes that usually end in the same word over and over. This could be forgiven if they really had some relevant or funny things to say, but it seems that they just ramble on about nothing, making the vocals mean even less.
While some reviews of this album say it is “old school and totally original,” they didn’t look hard enough in old record bins. The Yeastie Girlz were three girls from various punk bands in Berkeley, and put out a 7″ with them rapping accapella, much in the vein of the Beastie Boys, but much more explicit, raw, and funnier. That album, called Ovary Action, came out in 1988.
While it’s cool to watch I Love The 80’s and reminisce on VH1, Northern State’s crude attempt at trying Beastie Boys sound just doesn’t work. One would do better to go buy Licensed to Ill instead.