Three Big Winners from Rapsody’s Eve album
Albums-With an aggregate score on Metacritic of 91 out of a 100 Rapsody’s new album Eve is not consummable in pop music chunks. While it is sixty two minutes and fifty seven seconds long It is so heavily thematic that every song acts as a vital puzzle piece in the totality of Black feminine dimension. This is more literal than hyperbole; most of the songs are named after an important black woman who made an important contribution to the world (Iman, Afeni, Serena, Whoopi, Oprah, etc).
Rapsody is my favorite female rapper in the world right now because of how elusive she is. She sneaks lines through like on the lead single Ibtihaj where she talks about how long women have led the way in hip hop. She says “Women been leading the way, since Roxanne Shante/And the Unit had Flava and Jay had Marcy neighbors that waved.” If you catch it, it is odd to think about Jay at one time having neighbors in Marcy who waved and how long ago that was. It’s a sneaky thoughtful personal image of a figure who seems so enormous now. For her pen to put the camera there is a real strong choice.
As the album’s star she never yells at people or engages theatrics. While this costs her a larger stage it creates real weight around bars that might not be considered that big a deal from someone else. On Whoopi when she sternly states “I ain’t feeling you like I ain’t feeling new Kanye,” you couldn’t help but think that might actually hurt Kanye’s feelings. She didn’t stutter or equivocate. Nothing she says is to be dismissed and critics know it. After years of putting out strong verses and solid music, fans know it as well. I watched a documentary following Rapsody. She is a nice lady in a hooded sweatshirt and if you ever need to ask what weapon she will use to defend herself against this dangerously half dead music industry…the album is the answer. It tells her story in full.
Eric G & 9th Wonder-12 out of 16 songs on Eve are produced by one of these two. 9th Wonder gets the full victory lap treatment because he has been pushing Rapsody with all the strength of his reputation for years and years. Now talking heads (like me) are running around touting Eve when they were dismissing her back in 2014.
I am very happy for Eric G to get a little of this shine. He is one of those kept label producers who remain the backbone of a unit (Elite is this for J.Cole and the Dreamville people). Rapsody sounds amazing over soul samples and smacking drums but Eric G finds a way to push the tempo. He sprinkles a little Roger Troutman into the song Aaliyah. Serena actually uses a Luther Campbell sample to set a fast tempo that pulls some of my favorite words from our narrator. He gives her soul but imbues it with strength and confidence. Rapsody has grown alongside 9th Wonder and Eric G. Eve is their moment alongside her.
Guests-Have you seen who is on this album? The lead single has GZA and D’Angelo on it. Gza does not contribute verses all over the place. He absolutely brings it like he’s happy to and he is not the only one. Nottz T’s up the perfect piano with chunky bass for Queen Latifah to flex over. J. Cole doesn’t just rap well dude gets deep into himself. His verse starts with “Born into pain” as the first three spoken words. This verse is given with deep respect to a piece of music he knows to be important. Iman captures a lot of talent in one place with JID continuing to build his guest verse portfolio , this time matching his speedbag flow with sincerity, Sir sounds buttery on the hook.
This is not a full review of Eve. If I did one of those it would be 1,500 words. I’d do 400 words just talking about how important to music Oprah is in that it brings the two best female rappers in the world together (Leikeli47 and Rapsody) over a beat (thank you Eric G!) that captures the best of both styles. It bounces with drums 47 can be proud of while giving Rapsody the sonic space to stretch out.
If this isn’t a review let it be a toast.
Glasses up for this thick novel of a thing.
May it never leave us.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 9th Wonder, best albums of 2019, D'Angelo, Dreamville, Eric G, Eve, GZA, J Cole, JID, Leikeli47, Nottz, Queen Latifah, Rapsody
Song of The Year-Threat 2 Society by 2 Chainz produced by 9th Wonder
Shout out to 9th Wonder who knows the transcendent power of the right sample. Go ahead and find The Truthettes- So Good To Be Alive and bask in how pimpish that gospel song already is. Pumping it up, speeding it up and passing it to 2 Chainz was a brilliant idea.
R.I.P. to all the 2012 white people ironically bumping 2 Chainz on some Trinidad James ish. That is all dead. 2 Chainz has legitimately put his energy determination and creativity into carrying the torch Weezy lit. Pretty Girls Love Trap Music was one of my favorite projects and to follow it with an album as great as Rap or Go To The League is fantastic. You probably heard about this album because it is executive produced by Lebron James and it does talk basketball but that’s just the beginning. This is a very personal album where he talks dead friend’s tax rates dope boy past framed next to sunny futures.
As to-the-bones groovy as this beat is nothing beats the moment when 2 Chainz vengefully spits “I’m so famous can’t even COUGH in peace.” He pulls in lessons from his coaches on jump shots and so much more. With fatherly pride he muses on the possibilities of having another child. While discussing the fact that he doesn’t get the credit he deserves he is absolutely right. The weird thing, I think only three people do. The spotlight has a terrible attention span so if you’re not Drake Kendrick or Cardi you are probably under appreciated. It might take another five or ten years for people to really start thinking about the legacy 2 Chainz has left on the game. Not just being different but being relentless. It’s that kind of willpower that pays dividends in the form of top notch music like Threat 2 Society.
So you don’t have to look it up here is The Truthettes
Locksmith-The Green Box review
Locksmith never seems to exist on the same plane as rap music. In an era where everyone needs a slowed down DJ Screw-feeling salute to drank, Lock drops The Green Box mixtape and it’s most joyous and overpowering moment is the song Livin’ Loaded about getting “loaded from life” equipped with jabs at twitter and Maze references. It’s a beautiful song partially because of BrandUn Deshay who has been in a zone this year cranking out sweeping emotional soundscapes that smash on the chorus and lay back for the MC the rest of the time.
This set of songs marks is the most brutally personal Lock has every released and he knows it, stating from the first song “They say Lock you gotta make some party sh#t, rap about money and hoes and all that gaudy sh#t. you goin’ over N’s head they’ll never get it. Well excuse me for giving my people too much credit (Everything).” If you haven’t heard Locksmith before you might have the image of a Lupe Fiasco type of character, get that out of your mind. Lock spits with the wicked irritation of road rage. He never loses control fully but he’s always pushing his performance to the brink, where it needs to be. He sums it up perfectly “I got passion, they can’t teach that (Broken).” That passion is what keeps The Green Box from being too much of a burden on the listener.
This project seems like it was completed solely for the purpose of Locksmith getting rid of his internal baggage. He talks at length about his sister, his father, past relationships gone wrong while never pulling any punches. The song Bear with Me allows him to discuss the loss of his mother (a definite theme of the tape) “Conversations with my pops. Crying as he’s packing my mother’s clothes in a box. It’s hard to watch just seeing what kind of state he’s in. It never dawned on me…like what if he wants to date again?” It’s not even the most shocking moment on Green Box. Through all the topics, souls haunting Fleming Street, the shame he had of his Persian heritage, his sister working at the some hospital his mother died, nothing hits as hard as his admission regarding his sister’s sexuality. “…and I used to bash gay people until my sister was. It’s funny how people quick to condemn and if they do, it only means there’s something F’d up with them (Finish Line).” The most admirable trait The Green Box has is its dedication to learning and personal improvement. Not many people would have the guts to admit something like that and condemn where their own hatred came from but Locksmith puts it into the context of learning and understanding how much work he still has to do on himself.
It’s an unforgiving journey with sparse instrumentals from 9th Wonder, Mike TopNoch, Eric G, Drew Byrd, Ka$h, and Khrysis. Lyrically its part confession, part diary, part public service announcement and it’s his voice pounding away at all the painful seething negativity with a real purpose; so this isn’t a pop record in any way, shape, or form but don’t overlook the fact that NO ONE else is doing this. Other sober rappers wouldn’t dream of declaring that rappers doing drugs are jealous of their sobriety…Lock doesn’t seem to mind if The Green Box makes him enemies. He might rap about how much better he is than other rappers or he might talk about his panic attacks. I grab everything I can get from Locksmith because he’s that dangerous on the mic, he could diss your favorite rapper or he could diss himself.
Stream or download The Green Box below: