A North Carolina native rapper, Rapsody, just dropped her latest album titled Eve. Clocking in at one hour and three minutes, Rapsody delivers a rhythmic and lyrically loaded project full of beautiful and familiar samples. Rapsody reinforces her love for Black culture not only through the lyrics she recites, but also through the titles in the album, ‘Eve’. Each one is named after famous powerful women, such as Whoopi Goldberg, Maya Angelou and Serena Williams. In an interview with The Oxford, Rapsody calls her album, “My love letter to not only myself, but all Black women”. The album is peppered with strong features like GZA, Queen Latifah, and fellow North Carolinian J. Cole. ‘Eve’ takes listeners on a powerful journey exploring identity and empowerment.
The album opens up with the song ‘Nina’, with the opening lyrics being a sample from Nina Simone’s iconic song Strange Fruit, which highlights the brutal and cruel crime known as lynching. Throughout the song, Rapsody references tragedies such as the brutal murder of Emmett Till and the attempted murder of Tupac Shakur. She rhymes, “Old panthers lookin’ back like who gon’ come up after us?” referencing the Black Panther party who were prominent in the late 1960’s through the early 1980’s. Rapsody opens up the album with this song to grab her listeners attention immediately, and to set the tone for the rest of the album. Rapsody even acknowledges how the heavy start might be a little harsh for sensitive listeners by saying, “some of y’all sensitive but y’all still need to know.” This firecracker approach will most likely weed out listeners who aren’t interested in hearing Rapsody’s message.
Despite being produced by several different artists, the album does an excellent job of maintaining the same general vibe. This is accomplished mostly through samples and consistency of a vintage Hip Hop sound, in that each song sounds like it could have been produced by a DJ from the late 70’s when the genre was first beginning to blossom. The vintage sound in reference can be found most prominently on songs such as Myrlie and Iman. The way the tracks sound spliced together gives the album a signature sound of its own, while at the same time paying respect to the original sound of Hip Hop as a whole.
Notable samples on the album include Nina Simone’s ‘Strange Fruit’, and vocals by Aaliyah. The use of the samples on this album reinforces the message of the songs, really creating a unique soundscape that is educational as much as it is celebratory. Whether it be through singing along with the sample like in ‘Nina’, or simply referencing the vocals of the sample like she does in the opening line of the song ‘Aaliyah’, Rapsody makes the most of her samples.
On ‘Eve’, the songs consist of titles of powerful Black women in society who have achieved great feats. Whether it be through means of music, activism,] or athletics. The album ends with a song titled ‘Afeni’, named after the mother of 90’s rapper Tupac Shakur. This track is a strong contrast from the opening song in terms of sound and energy, but it keeps the theme of highlighting the struggle which Black women have gone through and continue to endure. The song begins with a sample of Tupac questioning why men abuse the women in their lives when they give so much, which gives listeners something to think about. ‘Afeni’ is a strong close to an album focused heavily on the struggles of African Americans.
The most memorable tracks on the album have to be ‘Nina’, ‘Oprah’, and ‘Afeni’. Each of these songs stand out against the rest in the album. ‘Nina’ beginning with the beautiful sample of ‘Strange Fruit’ will draw in anybody who’s a sucker for this vintage sound. ‘Oprah’ is the perfect song to add to your playlist of songs to bump to in the car. Rapsody’s lyricism is on point here with witty references and clean rhyming. ‘Afeni’ is a smooth change up from the rest of the album, using a sample from the late and great young Shakur. Over all, the album is Rapsody’s best work.
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