Sure, it’s a man’s world but it wouldn’t be a damn thing without a woman’s touch. With more and more female rappers trying their manicured hands at juggling an occupation in the mic booth, North Carolina’s Rapsody puts the contents of her name first and details about her measurements dead last, proving she can conceive witty one-liners and linear subject matter just like everybody else. Backed by 9th Wonder and his production cohorts The Soul Council, the ambitious emcee’s For Everything looks to make believers out of the entire Hip-Hop community.
Rapsody creates music like she has something to prove–without the phony urgency, making for a more organic experience. She calmly kicks up similes and metaphors with Kendrick Lamar and GQ on “Rock the Bells” and “Ain’t Worthy” respectively, putting her mettle to the test and passing with Duke and Tar Heel colors. As important as the aforementioned records go in showing that her skill is valid, it’s “The Autobiography Of M. Evans” that earns the crown, answering the Five Ws and giving listeners a more detailed résumé than anything on Monster.com. Over a mystical flourish of drum slaps and angelic vocals, Rapsody gives the rundown on her venture into music, stints in college and everything in between: “I was shy/but cried when my mom and daddy flipped/she left him one time/the source of the argument was me/I carry that burden eternally/taught me that marriage ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
However, even with a sturdy foundation underneath her feet, Raps isn’t quite the sharp, co-ed version of her N.C. counterpart, J. Cole. What For Everything lacks is a consonant theme as several tracks such as “4:20 pm” and the Freeway-featured “A Cold Winter” start to merge together simply because they’re just rappity-rap tracks. Furthermore, Rapsody’s insistence on selecting slow and dreamy beats that work to drown out her whispery baritone cause the album to surrender a chunk of its enthusiasm. 9th Wonder’s “The Woman’s Work” is a solid composition but the nonsensical lyrics make for a forgettable cut. Likewise for the “Teenage Love 2.0″ playful lyrics of “A Crush Groove,” which drags the album into an ill-advised slow start.
When taking into consideration the work ethic it takes to create three full length projects in under a year and the air of apparent skill instilled in all of them, it will only be a matter of time before Rapsody is inspiring both genders to put the culture above all. For Everything serves as a respectable benchmark.
Label: Jamla Records | Producers: 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Eric G., AMP