Music, like any artform, is only digested fully with time. The best forms of the art have many layers to peel back and one can’t truly get the full experience from one listen, but an impression most certainly can be left. Some even say the first impression is the purest so, with our First Impression segments, we’ll be tackling new music from all over, describing what we get from the artist’s work, and expressing immediate stand outs from each work.
The next First Impression comes from Jamla artist and North Carolina native Rapsody with her Beauty and the Beast EP. With Khrysis, Eric G, and 9th Wonder doing the heavy lifting on production, Rapsody takes listeners on a journey into duality.
I didn’t know what to expect when I was presented with Rapsody’s Beauty and the Beast EP to listen to. I’d lost faith in all female MC’s. I was feeling Nicki Minaj in her origins, and I’ve always been a Remy Ma fan, but both have been extremely lacking recently. Rapsody is like a breath of fresh air. It’s refreshing to hear a female just spitting real content without any gimmicks or theatrics. I feel like when I enjoy this project it’s because it’s genuinely a dope piece of work, not because it’s a female rapper spitting well. Rapsody shows a lot of self awareness in the project, rapping about comparisons to other females, and in the song Godzilla she even raps “While y’all still argue about Nicki, Iggy / I’m killing these biggies, biggie”. The line signifies that Raposody is focused on dominating her own lane, and I like that.
Beauty and the Beast EP has some nice production with some of the heavyweight producers contributing. From 9th Wonder, to Denaun Porter to DJ Premier. Rapsody’s vocals are also never overwhelmed by the production, her flow and the beat are one. The stand out song for me is probably Feel It as it represents the style of Hip Hop I fell in love with. Hard to Choose is also a very meaningful song in which Rapsody subtly highlights what’s wrong with Hip Hop. I think that I could listen to the project again and easily pick new favourites each time.
I knew nothing about Rapsody before Beauty and the Beast, but after listening I will definitely be following her music in the future.
Favorite Track(s): “Feel It”
I’ve never listened to a Rapsody song before. I listen to so much music for my website that I usually don’t have time to check out new artists as frequently as I used to but I’m trying to change that. So for me to check out Rapsody for the first time with her new project was rather interesting. Lyrically, she’s decent on here. She has flashes of greatness but there’s also a “one step forward, two back” feel about her songs. Rapsody may be good on a song but the flow and the beat take away from her lyrics.
The majority of this project just served as background noise due to the boring re-used flows from track to track and the mediocre at best production. “The Man” was a nice track and the only one I really would go back to if I were to listen again. I’m not sure if it’s her style or the production but I don’t think Rapsody is for me.
Favorite Track(s): “The Man”
Rhapsody’s Beauty and the Beast is exactly what it promises to be. A flowing piece of poetry detailing the good and the ugly side of the world we live in. It’s long for an EP, but it never feels like it. Swiftly flowing from track to track, Rhapsody lets out a heartfelt lyricism that is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill or Jean Grae. The EP prominently features an East Coast production style that will make old rap heads feel right at home.
This is real hip-hop by anyones definition. By the end, your neck will be tired and your heart completely satisfied.
Favorite Track(s): “Forgive Me (I’m Sorry)”, “Who I Am”
Rapsody has perpetually existed on the fringes of my interests for quite a while now. Tracks I’d heard up until now hadn’t made me a fan or caused me to disregard her as an artist, I simply remained neutral. A friend of mine forced me to listen to “Hard To Choose” one day and suddenly The Beauty and the Beast EP was on my radar. The honesty oozed from this particular track and I found myself relating quite closely to her.
In the beginning, I didn’t think the instrumentals would draw me in. “Feel It” is solid, but the beat didn’t really captivate me. “Who Am I” is SICK though and it continues to improve greatly from that point on. Regardless of my preconception on the music, I could tell that it would be lyrically impressive at times, I just didn’t think she would maintain so well throughout. For example, you’d think her having a woman’s perspective would limit her spin of the young black man’s plight on “The Man”, but she weaves an incredible tale. The flip at the end of that track is definitely one of the standout moments. She also speaks from the heart often, and “Forgive Me” is a perfect example of this. Her sarcastically apologetic bars blend brag rap and introspect well for the perfect closing statement to the EP.
Overall, Beauty and The Beast will be getting many spins from me and it certainly knocked me out of my neutral stance. Consider me a fan.
Favorite Track(s): “The Man”, “Forgive Me (I’m Sorry)”, “Hard To Choose”
As you can see thoughts vary across the board, lending to the beauty that is Hip Hop. Stream the project below and share your own First Impression in the comments below, and go cop it via itunes or Google Play.