Northern State offers another dose of old-school-inspired hip-hop on its major-label debut.

Northern State offers another dose of old-school-inspired hip-hop on its major-label debut. This time out, the female trio—Sprout, Spero and Hesta Prynn—eschews the low-fi simplicity of its indie debut, "Dying in Stereo," for a more produced affair. "Girl for All Seasons," helmed by Muggs of Cypress Hill, is a girl-power tome with a rock guitar bite. On "Siren Song," the group teams with soul rocker Martin Luther and producer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the Roots for a melodic, effects-driven, hip-hop love song. The group also tackles such topics as mic skills ("Time to Rhyme") and wild parties ("Last Night") with a feel-good attitude not often found in mainstream hip-hop. With few female MCs truly representing these days, Northern State's "All City" is a breath of fresh air.—RH