Review: Rapsody's "Crown"
With her new EP, the North Carolina emcee just may be “H.E.R.”
When we speak on the current generation of emcees the conversation tends to revolve around J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, and Drake, for obvious reasons. But for someone who has been around for roughly as long as the previously mentioned, Rapsody is very much left out of the conversation of dopeness despite her ability to channel, but not imitate, the likes of both Jay Z and Lauryn Hill. With her new EP Crown, the North Carolina native may be the physical embodiment of H.E.R., and after listening to it you should agree.
Diving into the album, it’s clear that Rapsody is vibrating on frequencies that differ from her fellow female spitters. From her opening spoken word on the title track “Crown,” she asks, “You didn’t leave the house without your crown did you?” The figurative headgear that is referred to represents a power that she knows already lives inside of her, continues to aspire to have, and wants others to acknowledge within themselves.
“Crown” is merely a glimpse of what Rapsody delivers in the next nine tracks that range from witty one-liners inside of godbody verses, politically and socially charged words for the people, and the complicated simplicity of having a crush. Going through the album, you’ll note how talented of a storyteller she truly is. The project itself is littered with different concepts for the most part. Anybody can drop an EP and call it a day. It’s been done plenty of times, but the accumulated end result is a bloody display of verbal vignettes.
It’s not far-fetched to understand why she now calls Roc Nation her home, as the combination of her skills on the microphone and the quality production backing her are reminiscent of Reasonable Doubt’s finest moments.
Rapsody is an important component in resetting the stage for female emcees, not needing to sell sex in order to have their voice heard. As for why she just may be the “H.E.R.” that Common raps about on his classic 1994 single, Rapsody’s cadence honestly reads as the lyrics “while not preaching to me, but speaking to me, in a method that was leisurely.” Her Golden Age flow is inviting and not at all something that should be rejected as any listener would be doing themselves a disservice. Knowledge is a powerful tool and she isn’t afraid to share hers. Like she commands on Kendrick’s “Complexion,” we must let Rapsody talk her ish and Crown is a promising sign of things to come, hopefully in 2017.