Back in 2014 Rapsody released one of my favorite albums of that year, Beauty & The Beast. Since then she was the only rap feature on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and she signed a joint deal to Roc Nation. Now, she is finally back with Crown a 10-song mixtape. While I don’t think it as good as Beauty it has a few great songs. “2 AM,” which features Ab-Soul, is a highlight with a dope beat and some of the best wordplay on the project. The song I really want to talk about is “Fire.” A song laden with meaning and inundated with references (is there a better word than this?) to the fight for civil rights.
I love the first beat on this song the vocal line in the back is gorgeous. The drums are super nice, the keys are also fantastic. The way Rapsody flows over the top is so good. Proving why she really is one of the best rappers out. Even with all that she puts the message first. Talking about the racism that put Trump into the white house and the deaths of black people at the hands off the police. And with all that she ”still gon’ go super hard for you all.” Then she begins to bring in multiple allusions to Malcolm X, specifically his speech the Ballot or the Bullet and this one from UC Berkley.
If you watched Luke Cage on Netflix, you probably remember who Crispus Attucks is as the second verse starts. While she moves on to the dehumanization and demonization of victims of Police brutality, specifically Michael Brown. In light of the mistrial of Walter Scott’s killer it is important to remember that the police literally see black people as demons trying to kill them. Side note if you haven’t seen Ava Duvernay’s The 13th on Netflix, please go watch it. Because while slavery is illegal normally, it is still an acceptable punishment for criminals. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
That brings me to one last thing. “They wildin’ because Obama made it. A Black man made it better and that’s why they hate us.” If you have not already seen Van Jones’ emotional speech on whitelash, do so. Also, listen to this episode of The Spin, one of my favorite podcasts.
These next four years are going to be difficult, but like Nina Simone said “What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did.” So be prepared to walk through the fire for others.
by Addison Garry (@addisonagarry)