For the pure fans of hip-hop, there’s a few times when we meet that fork in the road. It occurs when we find that diamond in the rough that bears the responsibilities of what true emceeing is about—finding your voice, expressing your thoughts in a manner unique as possible and growth. Now couple that with flow, vocabulary and content and we’re onto something special.
Us keepers of the underground know that when we come across such a rarity, it’s only a matter of time before their talents shine and their audience broadens. Up next to make that step is Rapsody. The journey for the artist began while he was a student at North Carolina State University, where a hip-hop collective called Kooley High were trying to make a name for themselves.
The group met with 9th Wonder, one of the most creative and respected producers in the music industry. Having his ear, the group played their project for him. When he heard the song featuring Rapsody called “The Life,” he knew. After repeated listens, he told the artist, “You have some things to work on.” But he added, “Take note. That’s your star.”
To help along with the process, he chose the rapper to appear on his second compilation album, “The Dream Merchant Vol. 2,” which saw Rapsody riding beats 9th Wonder previously produced for others.
That was nearly a decade ago. After countless features, mixtapes and EPs, we have Rapsody as a seasoned veteran ready to conquer. Rapsody dropped the critically acclaimed album “Laila’s Wisdom” in September, with features from notable artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, Black Thought and BJ the Chicago Kid. The Def Jam Recordings release served as the North Carolina emcee’s second album and was produced primarily by mentor and teammate 9th Wonder. The partnership never strayed because at the core of their music relationship is the feeling provided by the music. Rapsody shared, “Coming from the South, soul was all we listened to and it’s provides the essence of how I create.”
Aside from critical acclaim, the album is on the cusp of the ultimate crescendo, having received two Grammy nominations in the categories of best rap song for the track “Sassy” and best rap album for “Laila’s Wisdom.”
As mentioned earlier, special! Doper is when you’re a specialist. What the game needs is what Rapsody provides.
“My thing is lyricism,” Rapsody told the Breakfast Club when giving a self-assessment. “That’s my science.”
Expounding further on the BET Hip Hop Award Cypher, Rapsody rhythmically stated,
“I’m Better than all y’all
I’m MJ, Kobe, KD, Bron all in one while y’all talking Lavar Ball.”
Basketball is referenced in a few selections, so we had to ask whose game is similar to the rap style. “I would have to say Kobe Bryant,” Rapsody replied. “When I step in the booth and on a track, I’m not just trying to win, I’m going for your neck!”
“Reflect on what’s the bigger picture…
servicing my ego or empowering sisters…”
As a form of respect, we failed to mention that Rapsody is a woman. When dealing with such a talent, does it matter?
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.