Rapsody's Eve = Black Women Empowerment
Female rapper and North Carolina's own, Rapsody released her third studio album "Eve" on August 23rd, 2019. She gave me a good impression two years ago with her second album, "Laila's Wisdom", and I haven't been this impressed by a female rapper since Eve and Lauryn Hill. Rapsody's album has been released under Jamla Records and Roc Nation and each song of the album is named after powerful famous black women. The album features J. Cole, JID, Queen Latifah, GZA, D'Angelo, Elle Varner and more, and the production of the album comes from 9th Wonder, Nottz, Eric G, Mark Byrd, and Khrysis.
The first song is called "Nina" (for Nina Simone). It samples Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit" and Rapsody explained in an interview that Nina Simone is one of her influencers because she knew her from listening to Lauryn Hill who is Rapsody biggest influence. Rapsody raps about a lot of stuff in this song, such as, not showing her body to gain respect in the hip-hop game, standing up for herself not only as a black person but as black women like Nina Simone and Roberta Flack while not giving a fuck like Pac back in the days. Bar for bar, Rapsody slayed that first track and the instrumental is fire. The next song is called "Cleo" (for Cleo in the movie Set It Off, portrayed by Queen Latifah). The song samples Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight" and Rapsody raps about how the hip-hop game did not take seriously at the beginning of her career because she rapped differently than today's female rappers and she looked like a tomboy. Rapsody never cared and stayed herself, and she doesn't care about anybody's advice or critic unless if it comes from 9th Wonder, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre. She also raps a bar which explains that white people were raping black women during the 400 years of slavery and that black women are still getting raped today but by jiggling their breasts on TV. Then we have "Aaliyah" (for Aaliyah), which is a tribute for Aaliyah and Rapsody raps about reminiscing about Aaliyah. "Oprah" (for Oprah Winfrey) is featuring Leikeli47, and both female rappers made the song fun to listen on a cool instrumental.
The fifth track is called "Whoopi" (for Whoopi Goldberg) and just like Whoopi, Rapsody raps about she's is not afraid of speaking and standing up for herself, and showing that she has a crazy attitude if she has to. On the next song "Serena" (for Serena Williams), Rapsody dedicated it to the tennis player, because she sees Serena as an inspiration for not being ashamed of showing her woman body while playing tennis, which it's a sport that black people were not welcomed at a certain time. The song samples "I Wanna Rock" by Luke and 2 Live Crew followed by the song "Tyra" (for Tyra Banks). Then we have the song "Maya" (for Maya Angelou) featuring K. Roosevelt. Before she started rapping, Rapsody was a poet and she was influenced by the great Maya Angelou. On the song, Rapsody covers the themes regarding Maya Angelou's poem "Caged Bird" which means, that black people can use their wings to fly as high and as far they desire even though they're caged in the social system they've been put in. The song samples "Green Eyes" by Erykah Badu.
At the half of the album, we have the song "Ibtihaj" (for Muslim Olympic fencing bronze medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad) featuring D'Angelo and GZA. The song pays homage and samples GZA's "Liquid Swords" and it also has a big connection to Ibtihaj Muhammad who is an Olympic fencer and she was the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab while representing the United States at the Olympics, which it explains why we see young women wearing hijabs in the music video of the song. We were blessed with a verse from GZA in "Ibtihaj" while Rapsody was doing of a lot of references to legendary rappers such as The Lady of Rage, Jermaine Dupri, Flavor Flav, Jay-Z, DJ Premier and Guru. "Myrlie" (for Myrlie Evers-Williams) featuring Mereba. The song is a homage to Myrlie Evers-Williams who is the widow of civil rights activist Medger Evers, who was assassinated after he was advocating the abolishment of Jim Crow laws. The song is also an homage to other widows whose husbands were strong activists such as Malcolm X (Betty X) and Martin Luther King (Coretta Scott King). Then we have an interlude called "Reyna's Interlude" which is words spoken by Reyna Biddy. The following song is "Michelle" (for Michelle Obama, wife of former President Barack Obama) featuring Elle Varner. The song is basically about black women being united and having fun like Michelle Obama would have to.
We have the song "Iman" (for African supermodel Iman; known for playing the Egyptian Queen in Michael Jackson's video "Remember The Time" and she's also the widow of musician David Bowie). "Iman" is featuring Sir and JID from Dreamville and the song is about black women being proud and beautiful about their skin tone no matter how dark light it is because, at the end of the day, they're all beautiful ebonies. JID's verse was about loving and protecting his ebony like a queen. The following song is called "Hatsheput" (for Hatsheput, who was one of the first female Pharaoh). With the feature appearance of Queen Latifah, both female emcees rap about being a black woman is also about being risen and act like a Queen not only for themselves but for their companion as well. Rapsody stated at an interview with The Breakfast Club that it was Queen Latifah's idea to name the song "Hatsheput" and she was also the mastermind behind the name of the album itself. Then we have the song "Sojourner" (for Sojourner Truth who was a strong activist), and both Carolina rappers were talking about keeping the youth woke about their black ancestors' history and they had done because they couldn't believe some kids don't know who Malcolm X. With a verse and the hook from J. Cole, the song is A+ with the production from 9th Wonder. The last song is "Afeni" (for Afeni Shakur, mother of Tupac Shakur) featuring PJ Morton. Rapsody and 9th Wonder sampled 2Pac's "Keep Your Head Up" as it's Rapsody's favorite 2Pac song. She took Pac's message and rapped it in her own words as black men should protect their women and not hurt them because women and God are the reason why we are here and be careful to who we hurt.
Like I wrote earlier in the review, I haven't been impressed by another female rapper since the days of Lauryn Hill and Eve and I still stand with that statement. Rapsody did an amazing job keeping the legacy of 16 strong black female figures alive, her rapping skills were just great and the production and instrumentals of each song were enjoyable to vibe to. This is not an album for the club or the beach parties, but an album for your mind to develop for anybody not just only black people as knowledge for any ethnicity and religion is important so you do not stay misinformed. I was always disappointed that people would always listen to Cardi B instead of Rapsody, or when I hear people say female rappers are not serious, they need to sit down and listen to this album. I have no hate towards Cardi B, maybe I don't agree with most of her songs but at least she took the time to give support to Rapsody on Twitter which made Cardi B's fans love Rapsody's music.