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Rapsody – A Black Woman Created This

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

While traveling with Big K.R.I.T. on his “From the South with Love” tour, Rapsody and I spoke about connecting with her audience on stage, her creative process, women empowerment and the importance of women working together as well as her goals for the upcoming year. Rapsody recently announced the “A Black Woman Created This” tour, which begins in February of 2020.

How do you prepare for touring? 
The creative process is just you and your team coming up with these ideas and telling these stories. The fun thing about touring is that once the music has traveled, you get to see how it resonates with the people and you get to give and recieve the energy, making it an experience. That is what I love about shows. It is an intimate experience, whether you are performing in front of 10 people or 500 people, it is between you and a bunch of people which I like to call, “The Village” at a show. 

At every show I’ve been doing things differently to see how people connect with different music. It is always fun for the setup of songs too. I like to talk to the crowd so I have two or three intermission or interlude parts where I get to have a conversation with the crowd and perform songs that hit them emotionally. We’re going through a roller coaster of all these different emotions and vibes for one night. 

Do you still get butterflies at this point in your career?
I always get butterflies but I welcome it. Getting them is healthy for me. I am more worried when I don’t feel butterflies or I am not just a little bit nervous because when I have them, I really care. I really want to go out and get the best show that I can. I find when I don’t, I am just too overconfident. Butterflies mean I am still in the moment. As soon as the music starts and I hit that stage, all of that is out of the window and I’m in it, which makes it a beautiful experience. It is just you. You take it and the crowd wherever you want it to go. So, I am always mastering and learning more. I have toured and done a plethora of shows but as I grow in my career and my notoriety and celebrity gets bigger, I come to learn more things about how to maintain and do bigger shows and how to make it a real story and experience whether I have a screen or piro or it is just me and the DJ. I’d say I am well versed for sure but always trying to learn more.

As an artist, how do you approach creating music? 
It is different, you know? I have done it all in different ways and I have learned that depending on the situation, you have to be able to adapt. I am pretty comfortable in doing whatever it is at the moment that calls for, whether it is alone or you have to jump up and do it on the spot. When I’m working on an album, particularly I like to either be by myself or with my team, which is 9th Wonder, the Soul Council and Jamla Records. If I am inspired in the moment, I write on the spot or if it is an idea that I let simmer and I think about for five days, I’ll piece it together. There are some days when I find myself on tour and I may pop up in Atlanta and go to whoever’s studio. We might just be inspired to just BAM, create something on the spot. So, it really just depends but if I am conceptually working on a project, I prefer to either be by myself or with my team that I am comfortable creating with.

How do you feel about the controversy surrounding women who rap and their art being referred to as “Stripper Rap”?  
I think the music should reflect the world we live in. We are all different. I’m going to be different than Megan (the Stallion). Megan is different than Cardi B. Cardi is different than Nicki. Nicki is different than Leikeli47, etc. That is what I love about music. Guys can make all types of music whether they grew up in the church, on the street, in college or wherever they have. Women should be able to display our differences in the same way but again; our differences are just a reflection of the world and who we are as individuals.

So, I think it’s healthy and dope. We need a variety of women and I’m excited that we have so many different women coming up. If anything, I would want to see more balance on a mainstream level but I love the sisterhood and comradery. I want to see it continue to grow and welcome more women. There have always been a plethora of women in Hip Hop whether you see them on a mainstream level or not. We have always been there and we’ve always been different. I support all my sisters. 

For the record, we (men) do complain about there being a lack of balance, even amongst male artists. Just wanted to throw that out there. 
I’m with you 100 percent but the most important thing is to remember that in that conversation of wanting and needing more balance, it’s important to not degrade the other women to do that or put down what they do, if that makes sense. I think that has been the biggest issue where we can have that conversation without having to dim the light of others. So yeah, I agree with you otherwise, 100 percent.

I personally love to see women succeed but I also feel that because women are getting their shine as a whole, an unesseceary gender war seems to be happening. What say you?
I agree. It doesn’t have to be a gender war. There is room for us all. Like I said before, you don’t have to dim somebody else’s light to shine yours. When you have people at the forefront like Cardi who takes the time and is secure in what she does and knows that she has her lane and nobody else can do her like she can do her, she doesn’t mind giving a shout out to a Chika, Tiara Whack, myself or Kamaiyah. I never have a problem shouting out anyone either, like Megan, Tokyo Jetz, etc.

When the media or society are the ones that try to pit us against each other, we are understanding more and more that we have the power to take control of that narrative, tell the stories, support and work with each other to show that we’re not going to fall into the trap of what you’re trying to create. We can work and make music together and champion each other. It only helps us, especially the ones that are coming up after us for easier path. It is definitely getting better and it is not like it was five years ago. 

Now, being that your latest project, “Eve” has a tracklisting where the song titles are named after women that inspired you, do you have a “Top 5” when it comes to female MCs?
I mean, I have my favorites but I just hate to group us as “The Top Five Women”. I’m not really a fan of doing that. I think women can be in a complete conversation and the women that can be in a conversation that I’m a fan of are just MCs, whether male or female like Lauren Hill, Missy Elliott, Jean Gray, Queen Latifah and Rah Digga. 

Moving forward, what is next for Rapsody in 2020?
I plan on getting back in the studio. Creatively, I’m inspired again so I want to get in and work. Also, I have other goals outside of music like getting behind the camera. Those are the things on my short goal list for the next year and a half.

Follow Rapsody on Instagram @rapsody. Also, check out her tour schedule on www.genesis320.com.

Photo by Jose Gongora

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