Northern State (band)

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Northern State
Origin Long Island, New York, U.S.
Genres Alternative hip hop, Indie rock[1]
Years active 2002–present
Labels Ipecac Recordings
Columbia/SME Records
Members Spero, Sprout, Hesta Prynn

Northern State is a female hip-hop/indie rock group from New York, United States.[1] The group consists of members Julie "Hesta Prynn" Potash, Correne "Spero" (previously "Guinea Love," due to her Italian heritage) Spero, and Robyn "Sprout" Goodmark.[2][3] The group is named after the Northern State Parkway, one of the highways on Long Island, New York State.


Sprout, Spero and Hesta Prynn attended Half Hollow Hills High School West and graduated in the 1990s.[1] The group was first formed as a joke, Spero stating in 2003 "It was hilarious. Could you imagine three white girls from Long Island opening up their mouths and acting like they could rap?"[3]

In 2002, the group released Hip Hop You Haven't Heard, a four-song collection, the songs from which ended up in remixed form on the 2003 EP Dying in Stereo, which was given a scathing review by Michael Idov in Pitchfork magazine.[4] For their second album, All City, the group worked with Pete Rock, Questlove from the Roots, Har Mar Superstar, and DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill. It was released on Columbia/SME Records, but because of disagreements, the group left the label.[2]

Northern State released their most recent album, Can I Keep This Pen?, on Ipecac Recordings on August 28, 2007. They collaborated with producer Chuck Brody of Shitake Monkey (Wu-Tang Clan, Yoko Ono, etc.) and Adrock from the Beastie Boys to make the new album.[2]

They have shared the stage in North America and Europe with The Roots, Le Tigre, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, The Gossip, Gym Class Heroes, Tegan and Sara, and Cake.[2] Their songs "Better Already" and "Iluvitwhenya" were featured in season 4 episodes of the hit show Grey's Anatomy. Their song "Good Distance" was featured in the episode 5 season 1 of the show Damages.[5]

The band appeared on an episode of Washington-based television show Pancake Mountain alongside Tegan and Sara.

Northern State covered "No Surprises" for Stereogum Presents... OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer, a tribute album to OK Computer by Radiohead.




  • Hip Hop You Haven't Heard (2002)
  • At the Party (2005, Wichita)
  • Better Already (2007, Kanine)


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, MacKenzie "Northern State Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-06-28
  2. ^ a b c d Northern State
  3. ^ a b Morton, Pascal (2003) "Rise of the B-Girl", X-RAY, April 2003, Swinstead Publishing
  4. ^ Idov, Michael (2003) "Northern State Dying in Stereo", Pitchfork Media, July 17, 2003, retrieved 2010-06-28
  5. ^

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