Rapsody is a 36 year old MC from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina that rose to prominence this decade with a handful of mixtapes & EPs. Her 2012 debut album The Idea of Beautiful continued to show her potential, but it wouldn’t be until the Roc Nation Records backed Laila’s Wisdom in 2017 that she would truly refine her style & sound almost perfectly. 2 years have passed & she has teamed up with Def Jam Recordings to deliver her highly anticipated 3rd full-length album.
The album kicks off with “Nina”, where Rapsody gets ambitious over a soulful beat. The next song “Cleo” sends a message to the naysayers over a boom bap beat from 9th Wonder sampling Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” while the track “Aaliyah” ponders about that somebody over an Eric G beat with some beautiful background vocals. The song “Oprah” with Leikeli47 sees the 2 talking about being masters over an instrumental with some rubbery bass while the track “Whoopi” gets cocky over a quirky Khrysis beat.
The song “Serena” talks about not stopping over a restful instrumental while the track “Tyra” talking about how fine she is over a woozy beat. The song “Maya” talks about elevation over a soulful yet flute-heavy instrumental from 9th Wonder while the track “Ibtihaj” with GZA is pretty much a modern version of “Liquid Swords” down to the exact same Willie Mitchell sample.
The song “Myrlie” gets conscious over a glitchy vocal sample & after the “Reyna’s Interlude”, the next joint “Michelle” talks about a lady’s party over a funky beat. The track “Inman” with J.I.D sees the 2 paying tribute to black men over a minimalist yet luscious beat while the song “Hatshepsut” with Queen Latifah sees the 2 talking about being the right women for their fellas over a piano-inflicted boom bap beat. The penultimate track “Sojourner” with J. Cole sounds just as witty as it did on Jamla’s the Squad II last winter & then the album finishes with “Afeni”, where Rapsody is talking to abusive men over a grand instrumental.
All that being said, Rapsody gives us another example as to why she’s the best female lyricist in hip hop right now. The production is sweet to the ear & her intelligent bars never fail to amuse me.