The nominees for the 2018 Grammys have been announced and one unexpected name stood out among the field of those selected to compete for Best Rap Album Of 2017: Rapsody, whose Laila’s Wisdom major label debut turned out to be one of 2017’s many revelations.
Rapsody, born Marlanna Evans, is a 34-year-old native of Snow Hill, North Carolina, and a legitimate 10-year veteran of the rap game. Getting her start with the North Carolina rap collective Kooley High on producer 9th Wonder’s 2007 The Dream Merchant Vol. 2 compilation, Rapsody has slowly, but steadily, increased her profile with a series of lyrically-focused, 9th-helmed releases, including four mixtapes, three EPs, and one other studio album, The Idea Of Beautiful.
With each subsequent release, Rapsody refined both her dextrous wordplay and her burgeoning songwriting skill, ultimately leading to a career-turning appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s sensational 2015 masterpiece, To Pimp A Butterfly on the track “Complexion.” Now, Rapsody is competing with Kendrick — and Jay-Z, Migos, and Tyler The Creator — for the Best Rap Album Grammy.
What’s more, she absolutely deserves to win.
Let’s be clear here: All of the albums in the running — yes, even Migos’ Culture — are very good and stand a decent chance of winning. I doubt anyone will be too angry if Jay-Z beats Kendrick or vice versa. Tyler The Creator broke one of the many molds of what good hip-hop can be, and in doing so, may have become the first, successfully mainstream openly queer person in rap music. Laila’s Wisdom does what each of their albums does, in spades. What’s more, in a year that has seen the first No. 1 single from a solo female rapper, Rapsody winning the Best Rap Album in 2018 would not only make history but also tie off the single most successful year for women in hip-hop in a splendid display of almost fated symmetry.