Review: The Idea of Beautiful x Rapsody

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Hear This, Review, Word
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lately, the ugly monster haunting hip-hop is its virtual underrepresentation of women behind mics.  Now, if you’re only tuned into your local radio station, yes, you’ll be hard-pressed to hear a female holding shit down outside of Nicki Minaj.  But if you’ve kept your ear to the ground, you should know the name Rapsody pretty well.  Being hailed as one of the best femcees, North Carolina’s own Rapsody has finally dropped her debut EP The Idea Of Beautiful.  Produced largely by her mentor 9th Wonder and the Soul Council (Khrysis, Ka$h, E. Jones, eric g, and Amp), Rapsody incorporates clever wordplay, intricate storytelling, and personal revelations into the Jamla Army sound.

Rapsody clearly has a deep, personal relationship with hip hop, as evidenced by the many subtle and overt odes to the art form.  It’s not uncommon for rappers to personify hip hop, showing love to h.e.r. through dedications and celebratory lyrics.  In “Precious Wings,” Rap comes to hip hop as a sanctuary, an escape from life’s confusions and pain.  “Everyday is pressure, each one feeling like 22/catches, that’s some give and take/and all of if learning, tryna educate myself as I go through it like Lauryn,” she laments.

Speaking of Lauryn, the NC artist seems to have a connection to Ms. Hill that speaks of reverence and empathy.  As a female MC in a male-dominated industry, surely both Lauryn and Rapsody know the obstacles sexism presents when attempting to establish oneself as a serious entity in the game.  On “Believe Me,” Rapsody humanly expresses her tug-of-war relationship with the business side of the music industry. “Put out more product and it’s better than labels move/meet the frustration that I never gave into/Lauryn ain’t crazy, just don’t know what she been through.”

Like most women relate to, heartbreak is real and love sickness requires bedrest.  You know when you’re in love but your pride threatens to fight against the love?  “Good Good Love” tells the story of a young lady in a beautiful but tumultuous romance, torn between her heart and her ego.    With BJ the Chicago Kid singing the hook and fanciful production, the track plays like the soundtrack of an indie romantic drama.

Rapsody’s The Idea of Beautiful is a concept consisting of notions to combat what we define as beautiful.  The standard usually is not representative of the reality and this album is the testament.  What’s beautiful about this album is Rapsody’s genuine effort to create a body of work that women, young and otherwise, can be proud to listen to.  No matter who the guests are, from Big Rube to Mac Miller to Raheem Devaughn to the South African songstress Nomsa Mazwai, they all provide a complement to Rapsody’s laid back flow and introspective words.  Rapsody touts “Culture Over Everything” as not only a mantra but a blueprint for success.  Her story behind the cover of her debut album represents her  dedication to the culture:

Ndibulele Nqeni and Lowethu Zembe are the two little girls on the cover who live in Soweto, South Africa.  9th Wonder met them while he was touring in Johannesburg and took that picture.  I look forward to meeting them when I tour there this month.  I will be donating cash and other gifts to them, as well as other children in South Africa for representing my Idea Of Beautiful. This is like the beginning of my community work; I’ve been wanting to do with the youth for a long time.  I work hard to be a great emcee, but I also want to be an even better role model to young girls like Ndibulele and Lowethu.

The Idea of Beautiful is absolutely worthy of many listens.  You stream the album here or buy it here.

  1. […] Shabazz,” which will be featured on the upcoming compilation Jamla is the Squad.  Rapsody continues to prove–male or female–all wack MCs can get it.  “I’m ignoring all that female […]

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