First Listen: Rapsody, 'She Got Game'
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A young rapper from North Carolina, Rapsody
doesn't want to be labeled or limited as a woman in hip-hop; she wants you to know that she's as good as any of her male peers — and better than quite a few of them. With her newest project, She Got Game
, Rapsody is in her own lane, one that skirts music industry norms for female musicians regardless of genre (read: bikinis, rescue fantasies, twerking).
Influenced by greats like Lauryn Hill
, MC Lyte
and Yasiin Bey
(Mos Def), Rapsody is grittier than Hill and more soulful than Lyte, with a knack for brutal realness that recalls Bey. The production here, helmed by Little Brother's 9th Wonder, is a masterful mix of '90s-esque beats derived from soul samples and sunset tones. Rapsody's deliberate voice flows smoothly over them; she's got purpose here, but She Got Game
can help listeners unwind, too.
Rapsody is unafraid to spar with veteran rappers Raekwon and Common
, as well as newcomers like Mac Miller, Chance the Rapper
. DJ Drama has put his name behind her by including She Got Game
in his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series
, where it will be available on August 20. Going that route — one dominated by male rappers — directs her toward a broad and discerning audience. The record provides a showcase for her skills, smart positioning of her aesthetic among the old and new guard of rap, and a cool-headed voice in a sweaty, overbooked room.
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Click each song title for individual tracks, the last track is the album in its entirety.