In recent years, the North Carolina rapper Rapsody has become a favorite among hip-hop fans with an old-school sensibility. She is a rapper’s rapper, a lyrical craftswoman who prefers to spit over rich, soulful production from the likes of 9th Wonder. Four years ago, she and Snoop Dogg were the only rappers granted a verse on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and Snoop Dogg’s part wasn’t even really a verse. If you have ever self-identified as a backpacker, you will probably dig.
Rapsody’s new album Eve is out today. It features two of her recent all-star collaborations, “Sojourner” with J. Cole and “Ibithaj” with GZA and D’Angelo. It does not feature “Phylicia,” the tribute to her mom she released on Mothers’ Day with an assist from Buddy. In keeping with those titles, every song on Eve is named for prominent black women: Oprah, Aaliyah, Maya, Whoopi, Michelle, Tyra, and so on. It’s similar to the guiding concept of Jamila Woods’ Legacy! Legacy! — and come to think of it, a Rapsody x Jamila Woods collab would really hit the spot.
As for the artists who actually do show up on Eve, aside from the aforementioned, there are appearances from Queen Latifah, Leikeli47, Elle Varner, J.I.D, SiR, Mereba, K. Roosevelt, and PJ Morton. The production makes interesting use of some oft-used samples, including Nina Simone’s version of “Strange Fruit” on opening track “Nina” and Uncle Luke’s “I Wanna Rock” on “Serena.” On first pass, it’s sounding fantastic. Between this and the Little Brother comeback album, North Carolina rap classicists are having a very productive week.
Stream Eve below.
Eve is out now on Jamla/Roc Nation.