Don’t call her a ‘female MC’ simply call her a beast. This simple request from Grammy nominated hip hop star, Rapsody, during her headline UK performance acts as a direct challenge to some of the deep-rooted sexist tendencies of hip hop culture. Commonly, female rappers are often overlooked and placed in a completely different category to their male counterpart. What Rapsody proved is she can not only match, but surpass the skill level of any fellow MC. Her show gave no room to challenge this statement and if I have one word to sum up the talented, North Carolina MC’s show at the Jazz Cafe it would be fucking inspiring. Ok I needed two words but you get the point.
Rapsody has been active for a number of years now with humble beginnings as a member of rap group ‘Kooley High’ who gained moderate attention in the scene, especially with the smooth track ‘All Day’. Rapsody instantly stood out as the most lyrically talented member and it wasn’t long before she caught the attention of legendary rap producer 9th Wonder who began to help propel her solo career. The release of return of the B girl caught the hip hop community’s attention and two years later she released her Debut Album ‘The Idea Of beautiful’ which is beautifully-produced gem of an album that many hip hop fans slept on.
Since her debut, Rapsody has gone on to release critically acclaimed mixtapes such as Beauty and the Beast and She’s got Game, as well as working with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Raekwon, Black Thought etc; and this growth culminated in her 2017 sophomore project Laila’s Wisdom. This album not only cemented her spot as one of the top rappers of the current generation but also earned her two Grammy nominations which is not something that should be taken lightly.
Rapsody’s has very serious and conscious, social undertones in her music and this made me curious about the energy she would bring to her performance. What I quickly found out is that she is a natural. Her stage presence and crowd interaction made the show feel special and performing in a small venue such as the Jazz Café allows artist to make their show extremely personal. Rapsody made the most of this through communicating with many members of the crowd and even bring a few lucky members of the audience on stage.
She set the show off with Laila’s Wisdom, which is a personal favourite mine and proved be not only a great intro for her album; but also, for her stage show. What was even more impressive was the interweaving of different instrumentals from DJ/ legendary producer 9th Wonder, and her ability to effortlessly transition from one beat to another. Other highlights have to be The Man, Ooh Wee, Sassy, Black and Ugly, Ridin’ (ft. GQ) and her encore track, Godzilla.
Although, I’ve been going on about the greatest of Rapsody, I have to also shout out GQ, and upcoming rapper from Oakland, who provided a sick opening to night performing songs off hi most recent project. As someone who was relatively unfamiliar with his work; he caught my attention and is definitely an artist I will be looking for in the near future. 9th Wonder also got the show running with a set of some of the most popular record he has produced, I have to say that his catalogue is not to be slept on. It was special having such a legend in hip hop as the DJ for this event.
To sum up Rapsody is someone that I am already waiting to come back to the UK and if you are rap fan in need of some real hip hop shit; then I expect to see you there to.
Written by: Daniel McNab (@Dnabs)
9th Wonder: @9thWonder