Rapsody – “Laila’s Wisdom” review

After signing to Roc Nation last year, North Carolina MC Rapsody is delivering her sophomore full-length album & her first in 5 years. The album opens up with the title track, where Rapsody tells you not to worry about anyone tells you along with knowing your worth & the instrumental from Nottz has some great piano chords along with some boom bap drums & even choir vocals. The next song “Power” with Kendrick Lamar gets self-explanatory & their chemistry on here is just as great as it was on “Complex (A Zulu Love)” off of Kendrick’s previous album To Pimp a Butterfly. Also, I really like the Bootsy Collins sample that Rapsody’s mentor 9th Wonder uses for the instrumental. The track “Chrome (Like Ooo)” talks about ending your career if you diss her along with respecting the driver more than the ride & while the production from Ka$h & Khrysis was just ok to me, her ambition really makes up for it. Also, I found the Forest Whitaker line near the end of the first verse to be pretty funny & clever. The song “Pay Up” vividly tells the story of a money hungry woman along with the final verse being about her bum-ass boyfriend who wants to get her pregnant over a funky instrumental. The track “Ridin’” with GQ speaks on finding oneself but with a dark tone to it & the instrumental from 9th & Eric G. starts off with a spacey time, but then it nicely transitions into something more boom bap-esque for the final verse. The song “Sassy” flaunts about success over a vibrant instrumental & the charismatic tone in her voice is absolutely absolutely flawless. The track “Nobody” intelligently talks about how no one really knows anything from Biggie & 2Pac’s murderers to even minding one’s business over a smooth instrumental. Also, I think the one line during the 2nd verse about how you can’t divide hip hop at all despite not everyone liking someone in the vein of Waka Flocka Flame is absolutely true. As for the features, the Anderson .Paak hook is on point & the Black Thought verse is just as flawless as one would expect. The song “Black & Ugly” dives into beauty over a 9th Wonder instrumental with some scent guitar licks as well as some explosive boom bap drums & I really like how she incorporates her personal experiences into it. Also the hook from BJ the Chicago Kid kinda reminds me of D’Angelo for some reason, but not in a bad way at all. The track “You Should Know” sees Rapsody getting braggadocious about her skills over an menacing instrumental from 9th, but then it transitions into something more lush & we are treated with a verse from Busta Rhymes that compliments Rapsody perfectly. The song “A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love” talks about staying with her man no matter what & the way 9th constantly changes the instrumental after each verse is just fantastic. The track “U Used 2 Love Me” is basically Rapsody speaking to her ex-boyfriend & musically, it really gives me some Zapp vibes & 9th did a damn good job at it. The song “Knock on My Door” vividly talks about Rapsody’s desire to have a man over her place over some jazzy piano keys along with a soul sample in the back. The penultimate track “OooWee” was taken from Rapsody’s 3rd EP Crown that came out last November, but it still sounds great from her aggressive delivery & the Anderson .Paak hook to the guitar loop throughout. The album then closes out with “Jesus Coming”, where Rapsody creatively spits about “going home” in 3 different perspectives over a spacey instrumental & the Amber Navran hook is beautiful. If you ask me, this could very well be Rapsody’s best work yet. The production (mostly handled by 9th Wonder) is beautiful, the features fit in perfect, Rapsody’s lyricism is stronger than before & the passion that was put into it is as bright as day. I know a lot of cats are stuck on Cardi B’s latest hit single “Bodak Yellow” but if you want an actual female MC with intelligent lyrics & organic production, PLEASE give this a listen

Score: 4.5/5

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