Rapsody: 7th Boro Interview
We often discuss the “Kings” in Hip Hop but rarely do we discuss the “Queens”. We often fail to recognize that women have been holding it down in Hip Hop for many years. Women such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill and Rah Digga can lyrically hang with any of the so called “Kings” of Hip Hop. I feel like there have not been many women who have been carrying that torch lately. That is until I heard Rapsody. Rapsody is one of those MCs who rhyme from the heart. She doesn’t care about the “Now” trends that are hurting Hip Hop so much. Instead, she focuses on the art. I had the opportunity to talk to Rapsody over the phone and talk about Hip Hop, past projects, and her latest mixtape titled, “She Got Game”, set to drop this summer. I posted the audio at the end of the interview for those who rather listen. Enjoy.
Stroydnaire : First off I want to thank you for taking the time out and doing this interview with the 7th Boro . My first question is, How did the name Rapsody come about?
Rapsody : Before I started rhyming I used to write poetry and I was very really into spoken word. One night I was looking through the dictionary and came across the word Rhapsody which means, “poetry spoken with great emotion”. I dropped the H and made it my own.
Stroydnaire: That’s what’s up! I’m a big fan of Queen and I was thinking of Bohemian Rhapsody!
Rapsody: Yeah ,every time I Google my name (laughing) that comes up!
Stroydnaire: The first time I saw you perform was at Webster Hall NYC in 2011 with Saigon. You had the Zulu piece on and you did your damn thing. It’s evident that you love Hip Hop because of the quality of music you put out. You also paid homage to some Hip Hop legends on the intro to your “Thank Her Now” mixtape. The thing that sticks out the most is when you say, “Culture Over Everything”. Where did your love for hip hop come from? Was there a moment that you knew, “this is what I’m going to do”!
Rapsody: I’m trying to think of my first encounter with hip hop and I can’t remember like a specific song or a moment but more memories when I was like 5,6 years old that with my cousins bumping Nas , Kriss Kross or Black Moon. I loved watching videos! My favorite was Method Man & Mary J. Blige’s “You’re All I Need”. Then I got in MC Lyte, then I was like, “This is what I want to do!” The stories that MCs were telling, I just fell in love with it. I grew up during the 90’s and it was a great time for hip hop. I think it was a combination of all of that!
Stroydnaire: Growing up in New Jersey, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to legendary artists like Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, and Rah Digga. They are legendary MCs because they put their heart and soul into their art. I feel that you do the same which is rare these days. I love that “Precious Wings” joint by the way. Who had the biggest influence on you when it came to rhyming?
Rapsody: 9th Wonder was the one who gave me that push. I had written and recorded my first two songs and he heard them. He told me that I was a star and that I was something special. That was the push I needed. That gave me confidence. Other influences are Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Lauryn Hill had a major influence also because she was writing rhymes that you can feel.
Rapsody : This newer generation maybe…..fans that are in their late twenties or thirties know Queen Latifah, Lyte, Bahamadia, and Rah Digga. This newer generation has not been exposed to female MC’s except for Nicki Minaj so that is all they know. This is one of the reasons I started rhyming. I have nieces that I want to be a role model for. I don’t want them thinking that all women look, dress, and rhyme a certain way.
Stroydnaire: One of my favorite tracks is AMP produced “Out Tha Trunk”, I actually blew a car speaker to that joint. You’ve worked with many talented producers but you’ve made excellent tracks with 9th Wonder. How has that experience been? How did that come about?
Rhapsody: I met 9th while I was still in college. I attended NC State and I was in Hip Hop organization with a group of friends. We later went on to create Kooley High. We had an event and I met 9th through that. In 2008, I had the opportunity to sign with 9th Wonder’s label. It’s been an amazing experience and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. He’s a great teacher and a genius.
Stroydnaire: For me 9th is up there with Pete Rock and DJ Premier. He’s mastered his craft!
You have recorded with many talented MCs over the years. Are there any other artists (Hip Hop or any other genre) that you would like to work with?
Rapsody: Definitely…..Mos Def, Jay-Z, Mary J., John Mayer, Jay Electronica. I want to do something with the legends like Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Patti Labelle. I’d also like to work with. Hi Tek, Prince, and Kanye West.
Stroydnaire: You have a healthy collection of music out now, which track are you most proud of and why?
Rapsody: Precious is one of my favorites….. The Drums, Destiny…I know you only asked for one but those are my favorites!
Stroydnaire: I guess it’s hard to choose when you’re an artist.
Rapsody: It’s the greatest feeling. I don’t want to say it only last a day but that first day was like ahhhhh!!! That feeling is one time! To know that people were listening and sharing was a beautiful feeling. Another great part was reading all the positive reviews. It was my first album and it will always be special to me.
Stroydnaire: What could we expect from Rapsody in the near future?
Rapsody: I’m dropping something around the end of the month with DJ Drama titled “She Got Game”. I’ll tell you a few features. I have Styles P, Knotts, Ab Soul, Common, and a few others.
Stroydnaire: Sounds good! Now this is the quick 5 portion of the interview. I’m going to ask you five quick questions. You have to give me one answer and one answer only!
Q1. What hip hop album do you remember listening to and saying, Damn, that’s my shit!
Rapsody: Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt”
Q2. If I found your ipod, what would I be listening to?
Rapsody: Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Joey Bada$$, 90’s Hip Hop, Luther Vandross, and a whole lot of beats!
Q3. If you could perform anywhere in the world…..where would it be?
Rapsody: Johannesburg, South Africa.
Q4. In your opinion, what was the best year in Hip Hop?
Rapsody: I have to say between 1992 through 1995.
Q5. If you could form your own dream super group (MC’s and DJ/Producer), who would be in it? (can’t say 9th Wonder though!)
Rapsody: Kendrick, Ab Soul, Jay-Z, Biggie, and J-Dilla on production!
These last five questions were hard!
Rapsody, thank you for taking time out and doing this interview with the 7th Boro!
Rapsody: No doubt!
Look out for the “She Got Game” Mixtape coming soon!