It’s almost poetic how around Cardi’s B’s assent and eventual claim of the number one song in America, Rapsody has now decided to release her third studio album, Laila’s Widom.
On one hand, you have a record that starts off with the lyrics: “Lil’ bitch!” and on the other, you have a body of work that exemplifies the essence of black womanhood.
Ratchetness and righteousness at its finest.
Who would have thought that in today’s America two woman emcees in hip-hop representing contrasting sounds could coexist? Not only are there female rappers, but there are female rappers to choose from.
What a time.
That’s just the thing: hip-hop offers a platform that has room for such a vast variety of styles.
At the top of the summer — around the time when Yatchy, Lil Uzi, and Kodak were coming up — we saw stout resistance from hip-hop purists complaining on how these acts were apart of a new ‘mumble rap’ era.
Since then, Ebro and other Timberland wearing hip-hop heads have compromised that there are elements that can be appreciated from the flows and melodies this generation has to offer. But the new generation exemplifies just how much variety this single genre has.
You see, there is no need to come at the new generation. They’re just expressing themselves in the most authentic way they see fit. And it’s not like it keeps “real” hip-hop off the shelves. Rapsody proves that.
Not only does Rapsody provide some of the best songwriting that you will ever come across, but she gives yet another face to hip-hop. One that has softness, poise, and top-tier talent.
Released on the 22nd of this year, Laila’s Wisdom is Rapsody’s first official release since inking a deal with Roc Nation in 2016. Named after her Grandmother, the album tackles touchy topics like love, race, and religion with no hesitation.
For example, one of the records on the album is titled “Power” featuring Kendrick Lamar. In an interview with Power 107.1’s The Breakfast Club she revealed the song’s meaning.
“Power to me is, for one, I think knowing who you are. First you have to know yourself before knowing what to do with your own power. Power comes in different forms and I think that’s what the record is about.”
And just like “Power” every joint on the album has gems to share.
From the moment you press play, you can tell Rapsody was first singed to and worked closely with 9th Wonder and Little Brother. All of the classic soulfulness that came from that special time in the 90s is heard in this album. The samples steal your breath and her wordplay inclines you to rewind — she doesn’t miss a beat once on this project.
But we honestly shouldn’t be surprised.
She may not have the numbers of a Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, or Remy Ma but she makes up for it with the respect she garners and features she nabs.
Rapsody has worked with the who’s who in the business, ranging from Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Raekwon, Big Daddy Kane, Marsha Ambrosius, Mac Miller, and Big K.R.I.T., for starters.
Rapsody was even named one of ‘the top female artists to know’ by both TIME Magazine and USA Today and was named one of the ‘20 Greatest Female Rappers of All Time‘ by XXL.
If that doesn’t give perspective, get this: In 2015, she was the only rap feature on Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed album, To Pimp A Butterfly, going bar for bar with arguably the best in the game on the track “Complexion.” With no sweat, too. As she did again on the record “Power” on her own album.
That’s why I’ve always maintained that it’s really difficult to get upset at the state of hip-hop today. There’s something for everyone. You can’t even argue that her music is hard to find — like say a Noname or Tink — she’s has a major distributor behind her and has nothing but good music to offer.
When you look at Rapsody you don’t see the Barbie curves that Cardi B and Nicki have. You don’t see the platinum blonde wigs, or the caked up make-up. You see a black woman that, for all intents and purposes, could be your next door neighbor. Which is positive for hip-hop.
Rapsody gives hip-hop a new face. A face that says you can be yourself, a woman, and not compromise your art to be in the industry. And that’s why we need her around.
Who knows if her album will make the charts or do crazy numbers, her last two albums did not and her music has a niche following. But I also do not think that matters too much.
Rapsody’s music is a gift for whoever comes across it, and from the tours she goes on to the lives she touches, it’s apparent that her purpose is fulfilled either way.