Rapsody: Hip-Hop’s Soul Sister

rapsodyPhoto Credit: Jose Gongora

After gaining a solid fan base and finding her creative footing, Marlanna Evans, better known as Rapsody, has blossomed into an artist that many people crave to hear. She pulls hip-hop, R&B, and soul influences together to create music that reflects raw emotions. With so many well-received projects under her belt, Rapsody is finally beginning to make a larger mark on the music industry.

Marlanna Evans was born on January 21, 1983 in Snow Hill, South Carolina. Growing up Marlanna found inspiration from MC Lyte and Lauryn Hill. While attending North Carolina State University, she joined the collective group H2O. In 2004, the group met with the famous artist 9th Wonder. H2O formed an offshoot called ‘Kooley High’. Over a period of four years, the group released three albums.

Rapsody’s first mixtape Return of the B-Girl was released on December 7, 2010. It marked an upswing in her music career especially as she worked with the popular hip-hop producer DJ Premier. When Thank H.E.R. Now was released in 2011, Rapsody showed off her story telling abilities while working with high ranking artists like Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius, King B.R.I.T. and more.

Rapsody’s mixtape, For Everything dropped on November 15, 2011 and received even more attention from fans as she worked with Kendrick Lamar and Freeway. In February 2012, Rapsody released her first EP, The Black Mamba. The tracks “Respect Due” “Right Now” and “With You” show off the artist’s heartfelt style and soulful flow. On August 28, 2012, Rapsody released her debut studio album The Idea of Beautiful. The 16-track album featured collaborations from Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, Raheem Devaughn, and more. “Believe Me” was the first single followed by “Kind of Love” and “The Drums”.

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Beauty and the Beast is a 10-track EP that places Rapsody in a modern, yet classic-era-feeling of the genre of hip-hop music. Released on October 7, 2014, the artist talks about her determination and pride throughout songs like “Forgive Me” and “Who I Am”. Other songs like “Don’t Need It” and “Hard to Choose” capture Rapsody’s honesty and frustration during her own personal struggles.

In July 2016, Rapsody signed to Roc Nation. On September 22, 2017, she released Laila’s Wisdom. The 14-track album features collaborations from Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak, Musiq Soulchild, Busta Rhymes, and more. Pulling together beats, melodies, and samples, Rapsody weaves quality stories together without them feeling strained or fake. Songs like “Sassy” are catchy whereas other songs like “Ridin” need the listeners’ full attention because it develops a detailed story throughout the song. Laila’s Wisdom is a soulful collection of gems passed through personal and observational messages.

Rapsody’s next EP, Crown, represents the artist coming to terms with the power and energy that is within her. The project reflects on political and social concepts using charged verses to keep her flow steady. Rapsody shows off her storytelling skill to weave the narrative into a collective body of work. Her latest release was 2019’s Eve, which felt like an instant classic album upon its initial reception from both fans and critics alike. In the 16-track album, Rapsody talks about the plight of black women and minorities in society. Part of the charm of Eve is that many of the tracks on this project have an incredibly high replay factor. Throughout the album Rapsody sounds confident, intelligent, and carries an extremely cool persona. The rapper brings up concepts of female empowerment and black consciousness. The tracks attempt to connect to listeners through refined ideas about navigating the world at large.

For years Rapsody has created vibrant music that speaks to people, culture, and identity. With her most recent release, the artist has officially secured her place in hip-hop as she continues to produce unapologetic music for minorities. Rapsody’s storytelling, empowering messaging, creative lyrics, and high-quality collaborations have given the artist a title that’s she’s not letting go of anytime soon.

Written By: Carlton Rolle

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