It is not easy to get D’Angelo out of the house. Even after his triumphant Black Messiah comeback, the enigmatic R&B genius does not exactly come out with new music very often. (He showed up on the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack last year, but other than that, it’s been a while.) So it’s very cool to hear D’Angelo’s voice on “Ibtihaj,” a new track from the North Carolina MC Rapsody.
We last heard from Rapsody when she said nice things about her mother on the heartwarming “Phylicia.” “Ibtihaj” is named after Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. Muhammad is the first American Olympian ever to compete while wearing a hijab. But the song isn’t really about Muhammad. It’s an easy, laid-back flex.
On the track, Rapsody goes in over the beat from GZA’s 1995 classic “Liquid Swords.” D’Angelo warbles the “Liquid Swords” hook, and before the song is over, GZA himself shows up to contribute a verse. Regular Rapsody collaborator 9th Wonder produced the track. You might think that a younger rapper like Rapsody would be intimidated to be on a song with a bunch of legends, but no, she’s calm and collected. And the song sounds pretty great. Listen below, via 2 Dope Boyz.
“Ibtihaj” is out now on the streaming services.