One of the most impressive lyricists of her generation reflects on her upbringing, performative nature and the road to Laila’s Wisdom.
Lyrics, delivery, stage presence, charisma – whatever parameters you use to measure modern-day rap, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more skilled MC than North Carolina’s Rapsody. Originally hailing from the small town of Snow Hill (“a nice place to live,” according to its welcome sign), Rapsody performed her first raps on the campus of NC State University, where she started rolling with a group called Kooley High — the group got signed by Fat Beats, and she quickly found herself under the tutelage of fellow NC producer 9th Wonder. Together with Roc Nation staple Young Guru, they created a soulful but decidedly non-nostalgic sound for her many mixtape and EP projects, and she’s now a fixture of a network of lyricists that spans from Chance the Rapper’s Chicago crew to Big K.R.I.T. in the South and the extended TDE camp in LA. Most notably she was featured on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly (the two had already collaborated on one of Rapsody’s earlier projects), and Kung Fu Kenny showed up on Rapsody‘s Grammy-nominated 2017 album, Laila’s Wisdom. In this episode of Fireside Chat, the artist formerly known as Rapdiddy reflects on her rural upbringing and global aspirations, the unique rap sensibilities she brings to studio and how creating a dense and deep record out of many moving parts is a team effort.