Back in 1991, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest talked about Industry Rule #4080 on the classic album The Low End Theory. Several tracks on the album expressed the groups displeasure with the Record Business. At the time, a lot of us didn't know exactly what Q-Tip and the late-GREAT Phife Dawg were talking about. We heard the slick line on Check The Rhyme and a more detailed breakdown of being an artist on the track Show Business featuring Diamond D, Lord Jamar and Sadat X of The Brand Nubians. With that being said, we still didn't understand the intricate ins and outs of the Recording Industry. Fast forward over two decades and TV One started a series called UNSUNG. This is when fans started to received a thorough education on the life of musicians. The business side of things can be challenging to say the least. Record Companies are like starving beast that will eat you alive if you aren't prepared. Fans can also have short attention spans which leave a lot of artist discouraged. It takes a special person to show patience, focus and determination in an Industry that Q-Tip calls "Shady."
In comes Rapsody, a relatively unknown MC from Snow Hill, North Carolina. I'm sure by now many hip hop heads have seen interviews and read about her journey leading up to Laila's Wisdom, the MC's sophomore effort. After a career that started to take off in 2010 with the release of Return of the B-Girl (Mixtape), Rapsody never looked back. You see, hard work will pay off but you need to have tunnel vision as well. Rapsody has been doubted by fans and people in the industry during her early years even when she was showing substantial progression. I will be 100% honest, Rapsody is one of the hardest working MC's I've ever seen in Hip Hop History. No, I'm not just saying this for shock value or anything of the sort. I personally followed Rapsody as she released the already mentioned Return of the B-Girl (2010), Thank H.E.R. Now (2011), For Everything (2011), The Black Mamba (2012), debut album The Idea Of Beautiful (2012), She Got Game (2013), Beauty and the Beast (2014) a huge feature on the track "Complexion" off Kendrick Lamar's critically acclaimed LP To Pimp A Butterfly and Crown (2016). This list does not include other guest appearances and music released (Kooley High) before signing with 9th Wonder and Jamla Records. In the past seven (7) years, what MC do you know has 9 projects? I don't know any.
I remember when 9th Wonder introduced me to Rapsody early in her career at a party in Raleigh, North Carolina. I remember telling her she was a breath of fresh air. Rapsody recorded tracks for several years before 9th Wonder signed her. Rapsody stated on the track The Autobiography of M. Evans (Marlanna Evans) that Pharrell passed on music 9th Wonder sent him. This track sums up her struggle, rejection and the challenges she faced and would face to become the MC she is today. She told her overall life story on this track as well. Fast forward 6 years after this track was recorded her sophomore album Laila's Wisdom (2017) has been released. This album will surely be the project that take her over the top. It's an amazing piece of work. During the past few years several Industry Heavyweights including Talib Kweli, Noreaga, Raekwon, Jean Grae, Busta Rhymes, NAS, Rah Digga, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Kendrick Lamar and the legendary Dr. Dre have expressed their appreciation for Rapsody. I'm sure it's satisfying to see your career manifest in this fashion. An MC being overlooked and then one day being told that Jay-Z is going to sign you to Roc Nation. The accolades were given after sacrificing everything to achieve the goal of being a respected MC. Rapsody is a respected MC.
The Hip Hop culture and Rap Music have been waiting for an MC like Rapsody. Well, at least I have as a true fan of the culture since the early 80's. Yes, she is a dope female MC but more than that, she is a dope MC. When I think about her place in the game, several names come to mind. Rapsody is carrying the torch of L-Boogie, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Bahamadia, Monie Love and so many others. The Music Business generally go the safe route and sell SEX but Rapsody is more concerned with her craft. 9th Wonder has coached Rapsody for over 8-9 years and as they say, practice makes perfect. Rapsody has continued to grow her fanbase with each project. As I stated earlier, the Record Business can push an artist to lose themselves. Rapsody has never compromised her art. If you appreciate lyrics, Rapsody is lyrical. If you respect MC's who carefully craft thought provoking songs, Rapsody is your MC. If you want to hear an MC whose a great role model for young Women, Rapsody is your MC. Integrity is often missed in the music business but Rapsody has proven to be a gem. My appreciation for Rapsody is not only her skills but the ability to put full projects together. As an 80's baby, that's what I'm accustomed to experiencing. I recommend her entire discography to true hip hop heads and music lovers. You will not be disappointed. When people believe in you, there are no limits. As Rapsody's star continues to rise, the Rap Universe will continue to be blessed.
Rapsody - The Autobiography of M.Evans [prod. 9th Wonder]