Rapsody’s third studio album Eve was released yesterday and it’s everything I needed in a hip hop album. The title, named after the biblical mother of humanity is fitting. The project begins with Nina, an homage to Africans, particularly African women. She cleverly weaves a parallel between the struggles of black women like Nina Simone throughout history with her own. Yet, she also expounds upon her dopeness as an MC with lyrics like :
Know I’m a God MC nigga cause I made the devil wait
boy I brought you hell you aint gotta tell me I’m hella great
dont speak on it nowadays I just meditate
ya’ll can keep the bars nigga I spit hard metal gates
The first 95 seconds she raps over a deep brooding instrumental with a piano loop rythmic enough to drive the beat of the song. But when that beat kicks in though!! The song ends with a bold testament of the greatness of African people performed in spoken word. Produced by Mark Byrd, this song samples Strange Fruit by Nina Simone. It’s a perfect blend of consciousness, bravado and call to unity.
On the 9th Wonder produced Cleo, she’s harcore as she addresses associates and people in the industry who doubted and didnt support her. She also speaks on the danger of seeking validation outside of yourself, and the importance of not caring what other people think.
She unapologetically stated the only industry opinions she cared about were 9th Wonder, JayZ and Dre. It could be the shout out to Queen Latifah’s character Cleo from Set It Off. Or it could the confidence and tenacity she speaks about that really make this song stand out. Either way this song is another banger. Oh, and 9th Wonder samples Phil Collin’s In The Air Tonight for this track.
Every door you close every back you turn
cant keep me away from the life I earned
my rock bottom still be the life you yearn
what’s not given I had to take my turn
Come back with more ammo like Cleo to burn
With production by Mark Byrd, 9th Wonder, Eric G, Khrysis, Nottz and features from D’Angelo, GZA, J. Cole, Elle Varner, JID, and Queen Latifah Eve is fire! Rapsody is spitting hard on every track, and the production is on point. She proves that a woman can spit like a dude and still be feminine without leaning on her sexuality.
Every song on the album is named after a woman who inspired her. We all know Eve, Serena, Nina, Oprah, Michelle, Mya and Whoopi. But if you don’t know Myrlie, Reyna, Hatshepsut or Soujourner you need to do your research and listen to Eve. There’s a song for each one of them. And while this album screams black girl magic, it’s still a true banger. The male listener would also enjoy it- if he’s not a hater.
Rapsody’s lyrics are clever, serious, introspective, playful, and brilliant. And the production is hard hitting and melodic sprinkled with classic boom bap. I initially planned to stream this album, but after listening a few times, I purchased it. So should you.