Lauryn Hill was the only female rapper I admired— until now.
The moment I deemed Lauryn Hill as my all-time favorite lady emcee was when I heard The Score for the very first time. Years after the Fugees released their sophomore album, I became a fan of hip-hop music. I was seven when the album was released in 1996. During that time, I didn’t care much about anything other than playing hide-and-go-seek with the neighborhood kids after school. Appreciating good music was far from my mind until I hit my teenage years.
Ever since I heard Lauryn spit hot rhymes throughout The Score, I tried my best to study her flow. I would literally dissect each song and pay close attention to many things, including her bar structure and rhyme scheme. Her syntax is in a world of its own. Pras and Wyclef Jean are amazing, but I would fast-forward every song to hear the Queen speak. Lyrically she’s gifted and I miss her. Ms. Hill’s disappearance from the rap game left me with no other female emcee to admire.
I respect female rappers who came before and after Ms. Hill, like MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Eve, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma. They are all great, but they didn’t inspire me to be a prolific writer and poet. Lauryn Hill is more than a dope female rapper, she is one of the greatest rappers of all time. PERIOD. No one can fill her void, but another great female emcee has caught my attention.
After listening to Rapsody’s latest album, Laila’s Wisdom, I’ve finally found another female rapper who gets me. The North Carolina native has been rapping for years. She gained mainstream attention from the hip-hop world after being featured on Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp A Butterfly in 2015. I haven’t been able to connect with any other female rapper until the recent Roc Nation signee dropped this masterpiece.
Rapsody’s spoken-word vibe captivated my attention. Her tracks are full of thought provoking bars, relatable subject matter and hypnotizing beats. Laila’s Wisdom took me on a colorful journey and explored topics, like self-love, social media, relationships and following your dreams.
My favorite song on the album is “Ooowee.” Every time I hear the song, featuring Anderson .Paak, I imagine he is one of my friends supporting me before I reach my fullest potential in life. His words sound like something my friends would say. He says, “Yeh, I see you shinning n***a, go and get yours, yeh! Say when you come around, don’t forget about me.” I brush my teeth to this song almost every morning to motivate the hustler within.
“Ooowee” is super motivational because it’s all about staying grounded, grinding hard to get to where you want to be in life and never changing who you are once you become successful. Rapsody says, “Go and shoot your shots, show ‘em you can box, we won’t ever stop that’s the Puffy in me.” The song highlights the importance of being confident in oneself. Her values are similar to mine. I appreciate her for that. I also like how she’s a storyteller.
Rapsody deserves to be in the same lane as Lauryn Hill. She represents a different type of female in hip-hop music. Her music is for the intellects — people who appreciate stories. Laila’s Wisdom is not a party album, it’s a life record. I highly recommend this album if you want to vibe out to a lyrical beast.
I’m glad I finally found another sister I can relate to, it’s just sad how it took me so long to jump on her band wagon. Go figure, huh!?