In Rapsody’s followup to her strong debut album The Idea of Beautiful, she channels the kind of sincerity and wit that is badly needed in the rap game as a whole, but even more for future female MCs looking to make their way up the ranks. There is a perplexing trend among modern female rappers to present hypersexualized versions of themselves. While this is perfectly fine if it’s how they want themselves to be represented, it comes off as forced and, with some rappers, wholly unnecessary, taking away from the point: their lyrics. Rapsody is an entirely different beast. It is probably hyperbole and wholly opinion-based, but it’s hard not to label Rapsody as the most lyrical female MC doing it right now. The North Carolina native raps circles around the numerous features (who themselves are nothing to sneeze at) and justifies the expert production from legends like 9th Wonder and DJ Premier. It was so good that after listening to the free mixtape, I went back to Itunes and bought the $9.99 version just to support. You should too.
The Must Listens:
“Coconut Oil” ft. Raekwon: With help from Raekwon and 9th, Rapsody hits her stride near the end of her verse, saying :
“Blow up your spot, never
Underestimate the plot, my flock stick together
Shining on you daily, no matter crazy the weather
Glimmer like diamonds in chains
Pain a pleasure, in time, if it help me do better”
“Lonely Thoughts” ft. Chance the Rapper and Big K.R.I.T: Easily one of the best songs on the whole tape. If you only listen to one song, make it this one. Featuring 3 tough verses from Rapsody, Chance and Big K.R.I.T (who proves, if he hasn't already, that he definitely deserved to be on that list of rapper Kendrick needs to murder), the Mr. Porter-produced track has the laid-back, airy kind of feel (courtesy of a simple-yet-effective chorus from Chance) that makes it perfect to sit back and relax to.
Too many lines to quote, but here is a good one from Rapsody:
“My my what he told me reciting OBI, Kenobi
'you'll be the death of me solely'
I told him slowly, I agree I'm Ali, cross ‘em like Doji
Sting like wasps I serve ‘em losses they lowly
Call me young achilles cause I snap on these like Kobe now”
“Generation” ft. Mac Miller: Mac and Rapsody trade verses playing off their feelings on the generation we’re living in. The 9th Wonder beat lays the grounds for some introspective verses from both rhymers, making sure to keep it light with the wordplay but asking some deep questions under the surface.
“I only lean on family and double on my dutch
Generation hope faith is tomorrow's trust
Land of milk and honey
All the boys found it inside a bus
Only lust for the feeling of large city's dust
I could pierce the night with a light
Bright as a delta's tusk”
“Dark Knights” ft. Wale: This is one of those tracks that makes you wonder why Rapsody isn't more famous than she already is. I’m a fan of the “throw a topic or a title in the ring and let ‘em rap off it” tracks, which this is to a T. Both Rapsody and Wale eat the “Dark Knight” topic alive, peppering Batman allusions throughout their verses in genius ways. Up there as one of the best things this tape has to offer.
Not gonna post any verses because you should just go listen to this however you can. But there is something extremely catchy about the “Never blame a man for misfortune, do it yourself” chorus.
“Complacent” ft. Problem: At first you wonder how she managed to corral so many gems from 9th, but then you hear her rap and it makes total sense. Even though she gives this beat the business (and shouts out Geno!), it’s Problem who makes this track truly great. I have yet to hear him do anything close to this good, so we have to thank Rapsody for bringing out some backbreaking honesty about himself, his rapping style and what people expect from him.
“Y’all wanna hear ‘bout the drugs, the money, sex and the guns,
Or how I hate the hater and what I do with my tongue
Or how I’m with the faders and how my squad is the realest
You’d rather play my games, than hear ‘bout my scrimmage.”
“Kingship”: DJ Premier came down from on high to give Rapsody this banger of a beat (originally meant for Nas) and she absolutely kills it. Both verses are chock full of lyrical gems, but my favorite made me go back and listen to the song about 4 or 5 times:
“Word to Preemo, I pray Chicago puts down the heat,
Huh, Chicago almost put down the Heat”.
“Feel Like (Love Love)”: I’m generally not a fan of the lovey dovey stuff, but something about the way she puts her attraction into words is so sincere, relatable and patently novel considering the way other female rappers talk about their relations with men, that i couldn’t not like this track.
“Jedi Code” ft. Phonte and Jay Electronica: Another jewel from 9th. For some reason it reminded me of Big Sean’s “Control” (and not just because they both have Jay). One of those beats that just tees them all up off to drop some of their toughest stuff. Mostly just glad to hear something from Phonte, who is depriving the world of his genius with how little material he releases.
“Had to break promises, today where the karmas is
Took a breath for every life left, that's that honor s**t
All my new garnishes peal like the pharmacists
Had no need for no Hermes, I value cognizance”
“The Pressure” ft. Styles P: I feel like a broken record at this point. But there really is no other way to put it. Great beat from Khrysis, hard bars from both rappers.
“Epic poetry ask Rapsody
You want the hardest n***a better ask for me
Now that’s actually near factually
I told 9th Wonder “I’m tenth, get back at me”
“IJS”: This is the track you wish every rapper would have on their albums. Pretty much a “State of Hip-Hop” address for all to hear. And she couldn't be more right about almost everything.
“Had a dream about me, L Boogie, Jean, Lyte
Latifah and Rah Digga going for broke on the mic
And I wonder if they’ll ever see us in the same light
Yet I wonder what Bambaataa think of hip hop
From now to when he recorded Planet Rock
I know some older one’s that diggin’ it, and some older ones not.”