Rapsody Credits Lauryn Hill For Erasing Hip Hop's "Gender Lines"
Rapsody talks past homework assignments with 9th Wonder, says she had to memorize Jay Z's "The Black Album."
As the mastermind behind The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, New Jersey rapper Lauryn Hill has long been referred to as one of the most groundbreaking female artists in Hip Hop, and to one emcee in particular she’s gone on to erase gender lines in Hip Hop and helped to ensure that female emcees no longer be placed in a box.
While speaking exclusively with HipHopDX, North Carolina rhymeslinger Rapsody didn’t hesitate in expressing her appreciation for Hill as she reminisced on her first time hearing the former Fugees rapper.
“The first time I heard Lauryn Hill was—you know, I was a kid in front of the TV watching videos and the ‘Fu-Gee-La’ video came on. And I was stuck for a minute,” Rapsody revealed. “It was this girl and these two guys rapping and I was just drawn to it. Like ‘what is this?’ It was a different sound for me. It had that African, eccentric feel to it. It was soulful at the same time…To me she erased gender lines. She out-rapped the guys to me...She out-rapped the guys and a lot of times people like to put women in this box where we’re only supposed to rap a certain way or we’re not supposed to be as good as men. You hear a lot of times, ‘she’s good for a girl.’ Lauryn was one of those females that erased that.”
In her music career, Rapsody has worked heavily with noted producer 9th Wonder, but according to the rapper, she says upon first meeting 9th, although he thought she was a “dope” artist, he offered her a unique homework assignment in the hopes of improving her lyrical delivery.
“When 9th [Wonder] heard the very first song that I did, he gave me homework,” said Rapsody. “He said, ‘You’re dope. You’re a star, but you gotta work on inflections and flow.’ So, my homework was—he reeled off all these albums: Snoop this, Tribe this. I knew the music, but he said ‘I want you to go back and memorize these joints word for word, but not what they’re saying, how they’re saying it.’ And one of those was Jay Z’s The Black Album. Which I had no problem doing because he was my favorite rapper. So, for two months that’s all I played until I knew from the intro to the very last song. Every track, word for word.”
As an artist signed to 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records, Rapsody has gone on to release a debut album, titled The Idea of Beautiful, and most recently, her She Got Game mixtape. Released last month, She Got Game boasts production from 9th Wonder and guest appearances from Mac Miller, Wale, Ab-Soul, and a handful of other notable artists.