Grammy Nominated Artist and Lyrical Powerhouse Rapsody Graces the Attendee Stage

There can be no doubt about it: North Carolina MC Rapsody has some friends in high places, and she seems to be making more – and more fans, too – by the minute. Discovered by DJ and super producer 9th Wonder (who has worked with a who’s-who of hip-hop and R&B), Rapsody has gone on to win support from no less than current rap ruler Kendrick Lamar (who gave her the sole guest spot on his seismic 2015 record “To Pimp a Butterfly”), Jay-Z (who signed her to his Roc Nation imprint) and, last but not least, the Grammy’s, who graced Rapsody with a couple of high-profile 2018 nominations, including Best Rap Album for her record “Laila’s Wisdom.”

But Rapsody (born Marlanna Evans) couldn’t have made it this far without both serious talent and an equally serious drive to succeed. “As hard as it is for a woman in the music business,” she asked the rapt crowd, rhetorically, at the stage, “how do you do what you do?” She sought a show of hands in the audience representing all active and aspiring artists and musicians. “I used to be you!” she declared in return, demanding no one give up on their dreams before she showed off the results of all that hard work with a 45-minute set that showcased both her commanding, inspiring rhymes and the backing of her band the Stormtroopers, who included both a horn section and 9th Wonder in the DJ spot.

From “Black & Ugly” to “Power” (her second collaboration with Lamar), she passionately spit verses of wisdom and self-esteem in defiance of the nihilistic trends that pervade so much hip-hop (especially hip-hop by men, though that goes without saying). “Does my sassiness upset you?” she asked in “Sassy.” That’s a Maya Angelou reference, yet Rapsody was just as likely to sneak in lyrical nods to Biggie and Tupac. No question she could fight lyrically like the best of them, but she more often smartly proved how to build herself up without taking everyone else down. “With every stone you threw I picked it up and built a powerhouse,” she said of her adversaries, likening her way with words to a “Steph Curry projectile,” though on this particular night it was freshly signed Chicago Bulls player Jabari Parker who watched from the side of the stage. Count him in as another fan.

By: Josh Klein