Fortress Festival Artist Spotlight: Rapsody

Rapsody, two-time Grammy nominated rapper, side steps pigeon holes, boxes and generalizations. She has been labeled a “conscious rapper.” While that title appropriately describes her style of music, she wants to model for others that “You don’t have to be just this. The idea behind this statement is that the power to be anything and anyone lies within each and every person. Coincidentally, considering this statement feels introspective and poetic, her songs frequently feel like spoken word poetry; simultaneously inspiring, enlightening and calming. Her music simply flows.

Hailing from North Carolina, Rapsody was signed to Jamla Records in 2010. This record label is under It’s a Wonderful World Music Group, founded by fellow North Carolinian, 9th Wonder. 9th Wonder has mentored, coached and molded Rapsody into the artist she is today. When she first began rapping, she had a higher inflection and her metering was not on the same level as now. According to Rapsody, “9th saw something that I didn’t.” Together they dropped four mixtapes prior to her debut EP, The Black Mamba. In total, she has three EPs – The Black Mamba, Beauty and the Beast and Crown.

Rapsody was the first lady of Jamla Records. Following this path of firsts and the idea that the cheese stands alone, she was also the only female nominee in the 2018 Grammy’s Best Rap Album category for her album Laila’s Wisdom. Laila’s Wisdom is Rapsody’s second studio album, preceded by The Idea of Beautiful. To revisit the idea that she could fit into the box labeled “conscious rapper,” Laila’s Wisdom, an album inspired by her grandmother’s advice of “Give me flowers while I can still smell them,” commands open eyes and open ears. Tracks such as “Jesus Coming,” “Power,” and “You Should Know” worm their way into the mind, laying eggs that hatch into larger thoughts and ideas.

Kendrick Lamar (Rapsody was featured on “Complexion” off of Kendrick’s Grammy award winning album To Pimp a Butterfly”), Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Big Daddy Kane, Mac Miller, and Big K.R.I.T. have all scored Rapsody’s dance card. She is well respected in the hip hop industry. Dr. Dre advises that you check her out and has also been heard saying that she is his new favorite female MC. She shares a style comparable to 20 year veteran Brooklyn rapper O.C., which is worth mentioning in that Rapsody does not aim to be the best female in the industry. She aims to “be one of the 20 year plus legendary artists…[to] make music that really stands the test of time and connects with people.” Check her out at Fortress Festival the weekend of April 28th and 29th.

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