by Zaria Sims for Urban Mindz
Marlanna Evans (born January 21, 1983), well known as Rapsody, is a Carolina-bred hip-hop artist advancing towards a permanent seat at the throne among hip-hop’s greatest to ever do it. Although the lyrical intricacy and intimacy in her music are formed around wordplay, make no mistake, her artistry is no game. If anything, her music is everything but.
Rapsody is a living version of all the social movements created to uplift black people, a mix between melanin magic, black excellence, and black lives matter. She released her junior album "Eve" in August of 2019 as a tribute to all of the black superheroes who reigned before her and ultimately had an influence on the woman she is today. Her musical ode to black history and heroines is comprised of songs named after many different black revolutionary women who served as game-changers for black culture such as Nina Simone, Sojourner Truth, Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou and other notable black women.
With each one of her songs setting the stage for multiple different stories to be told and listened to, it appears that her long-term goal to wake the world up and enlighten the youth through metaphoric storytelling is finally snowballing into fruition. Little by little and piece by piece, Rapsody’s fanbase continues to gradually develop into mainstream territory soaring her to mainstream numbers on the charts. Rapsody signed to Roc Nation in the summer of 2016 and released her sophomore album "Laila’s Wisdom" shortly after. Laila’s Wisdom was nominated for two Grammy’s under the categories Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song. From her introduction into hip-hop as a member of a rap group at North Carolina State University to the release of her third album, her career has now gone full throttle.
Rapsody took the path less traveled by choosing to remain true to herself instead of constantly chasing the trends. Yet, her rewards for her relentless spirit have been bountiful. Currently, she’s headlining on Big K.R.I.T.’s "From the South with Love" tour, and next year, she will be embarking on her first solo tour across the globe. After all the peer pressure and rejection she has faced in the rap industry for being a beautiful black woman who refused to boost her sales through the appeal of sex, no one can stop her now.
Rapsody reigns as the queen of gold hoops, box braids, and tomboy gear. Her style is a direct duplicate of the aura of her music which rejects the hyper-sexualization of black and brown women in the music industry. Growing up in the ’90's gave Rapsody a viewpoint of a full spectrum of conscious women artists who set out to change the world by infusing their music with their beliefs. Idols like Queen Latifah and Aaliyah influenced her musically as well as fashionably. In “Sojourner”, the 15th track on Rapsody’s current album, featuring J. Cole, she takes a jab towards the current state of hip-hop marketing stating:
“Yeah, I know my worth, these colonizers got to pay me
Yeah, I had to go first ‘cause the rest would never last
I had to show the positives for those who couldn’t add
Looking at the ads, they only love us for our *ss”
Symbolically, Rapsody is that black female college professor whose class roster is completely packed every semester because of the fruits of her passion that leave her students thirsting for more knowledge. Pulling from the mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), her lyrics resemble an educational seminar meant to cultivate change, vigorously stimulate growth, and prepare the community for its expansion. Somehow, listening to the album "Eve" provides listeners with a similar gravitational pull as going to church on Sunday or reading a self-help book. Once you open your ears to receive the message, you can never unlearn the wisdom.