Just three days in, Dessa is showing her support for the new Biden administration in a way that probably no one except maybe her high-school civics teacher could have planned for.
The Twin Cities hip-hop star took up a call from the nationally syndicated public-radio show "Marketplace" to create a fight song of sorts for new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Dessa's 90-second tribute to the first woman to hold the vital cabinet position debuted on air Thursday after President Biden himself suggested that Yellen was deserving of her own "Hamilton"-style musical.
"We might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote the musical about the first secretary of the treasury, 'Hamilton' — to write another musical for the first woman secretary of the treasury," Biden said while announcing Yellen's nomination in December.
Enter Dessa, who was featured on 2016's Miranda-curated "Hamilton Mixtape" — and who apparently knows a lot about what the Treasury secretary's job actually entails.
"Damn, Janet, got get! Fifth in line for president," she raps in the track, officially titled (wait for it!) "Who's Yellen Now?"
Other lyrics include a nod to Yellen's belying stature ("She's 5-foot-nothing, but hand to God / She can pop a collar, she can rock a bob") and her already-impressive resume ("She's the first to led the Council of Economic Advisors, Tresh and the Fed").
The song ends with this mic-drop line: "And lift up your mojitos 'cuz she manages the Mint."
"[We] had a mess of fun working on it," Dessa said on Twitter about creating it with her regular collaborators, arranger/composer Andy Thompson and Doomtree producer Lazerbeak.
Elsewhere on Twitter, the song she wrote for the American Public Media show earned high praise from the Washington Post's economics correspondent, Heather Long: "Janet Yellen has won many awards, but this might top all."
"Who's Yellen Now?" is the second new song Dessa has dropped in as many weeks. Last week, she debuted the rhythmic jolt "Rome" to kick off a new monthly "IDES" single series. "Yellen" is not part of that series, but perhaps it, too, can be the first of many; just imagine all the lyrical fodder there might be in a song for housing and urban development boss Marcia Fudge.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658