May our idols never become our rivals, at least that’s what we wish for ourselves; however, for Rapsody, who is placed alongside her idols in the battle for the gramophone in the forthcoming Grammys, it might just be a different story.
Rapsody has always been a spitter whose talents has been buried underground due to the frivolities of the mainstream acts who gets the crowd hype but not the cultural pass. In 2012, her LP The Idea of Beautiful threw the first warning that this woman is here to stay with all guns out; she has weapons in her arsenal she hasn’t even fired. Laila’s Wisdom is just one of those shots, and as far as the rap game is concerned, more bullet will fall from the revolver of the North Carolina woman.
When the nominations for this year’s Grammy award rolled out, Rapsody had two nods, Sassy for best rap song and Laila’s Wisdom for best rap album; alongside projects from Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Migos and Tyler, The Creator. This rare feat makes her the only fifth female nominee in the 23-year history of the category.
Marlanna Evans (better known as Rapsody) is a throwback rap-storyteller with the 80s vibe and tomboy flows. She would rock T-shirts and tracksuits; plus she has an undying love for Kobe Bryant as a basketball joggler.
Her music is different from the contemporary boss bitch lyrically infested music of her female counterparts who gathers the numbers in the rap business. In a generation classified with a highly advanced stylized trap-rap fusion, Laila’s Wisdom stands out as a bold artistic tapestry with strong thematic concerns and lyrical genius with infuses subjects like violence against blacks, war, drugs and gender concerns. Laila’s Wisdom came through at a moment when hip-hop is engaging the socio-political world with a greater sense of urgency alongside the miseducation of the white-supremacist in the American society.
Laila’s Wisdom is named after Rapsody’s grandmother, and to the rapper, it is a project that carries a deep connotation as to an extent she fills the reader into the walls of her intimate relationships. In tracks like A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love, she talks female beauty standard; in Black and Ugly, she draws a line between Beauty and Skin colour.
However, she spits fire in tracks like Power, where she says “I know my blackness powerful and they don’t like that,” and in You Should Know, she reaffirms her stand in words like “There’s levels to this, but I’m a whole new floor, they talkin’ keys to success but I’m a whole new door”.
A whole new door she is. went from having the only rap feature in Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy winning track, Complexion, to Co-signing with Dr. Dre and Jay-Z and in been part of the few figures to visit the Obama White House.
Now being nominated alongside a Kendrick Lamar, who validated her mic-handling skill, and a Jay-Z who is the boss of Roc Nation (which she is signed to) is a big one for the North Carolina native.
If she stands a chance against the big names? Maybe.
It is going to be a long ball throw; but regardless of how it is, the world belongs to Rapsody, and the other female rappers have to understand that they are living in it.