Album Review: Rapsody’s “The Idea of Beautiful”
Before the phenomenon of Nicki Minaj, the female MC had become something like a short flash in a pan in Hip-Hop for quite some time. One or two hits on one album, before disappearing from radio and video rotation, was quite average for the “Femcee.” A large void in the Hip-Hop female perspective had caused the upcoming generation of female MCs to out-sex and sometimes out-diss each other in a fight for the spotlight. Yet, North Carolina femcee Rapsody is reminding her sisters in rap that The Idea of Beautiful is more than raunchiness and finding flaws in your competition. On her debut album, she also reminds that you must first give a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T to the Hip-Hop culture before you can receive some.
Jamla Records’ first lady wastes no time venting over producers Eric G’s and 9th Wonder’s soulful backdrops on “Precious Wings” and “Believe Me”. She proves herself as a metaphor master by spitting bars about trust issues with men and fallen heroes effortlessly on crooning samples: “War with my past/ that’s how a lot of us women feel/ brother’s sneaking on you like Jay and that Ross chill/ That’s why the feeling hit you/ like missing your birth pill.”
An uncompromising respect for Hip-Hop culture is evident throughout the album. Rapsody uses classic and recent topics - from Nas’ Illmatic to Canibus’ loss to Dizaster - in order to tell heart-wrenching stories, air out personal demons, or just showing how creative her pen can be. In true a MC fashion, she puts her word-play to the test against Black Hippy’s Ab-soul on the lyrical lashing “Non-fiction” and comes out victorious. Even when Kooley High’s lady is relaxed and playing around, she seems to be lyrically lethal on the cipher-like song, “Roundtable Discussion” with Mac Miller and the Cool Kids.
“In the Town” has Rapsody showcasing her storytelling skills via a vivid tale of a mother dying from drugs, and leaving her daughter to repeat the mistakes of the mother. 9th Wonder reminds listeners why he is widely considered one of the last of the true Hip-Hop architects, by supplying Rapsody with his signature soothing samples, grooving bass, and head-nodding snare loops throughout. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the two seems so natural that one might mistake Rapsody as a reincarnated Jean Grae at times. Yet, besides a few blemishes on “Motivation” and “Celebrate”, Rapsody shows that true beauty is not without its imperfections.
Photo credit: thewomenofhiphop.com