Tuesday, June 28, 2011

INSIDE THE MUSIC: Rapsody "Thank H.E.R. Now"

Last week North Carolina's own and Jamla's first lady Rapsody released a pretty impressive project. Through DJBooth.net she dropped Thank H.E.R. Now for the generous price of free.99. You almost feel guilty getting it for free. So, maybe you should be thanking her now and later.

But as Rapsody explains, it's about more than just the money. It's ultimately about the music. Wow, what a nobel idea. I've been a fan of her music since her days with Kooley High. She's a pretty dope emcee and her latest is just another example of the quality she's putting out there.

After the release of the new project I reached out to her for a Q&A. We talked about being a female emcee, the music and more. Check it out after the jump.

You're a female emcee with substance. Do you think folks overlook what you're doing musically because of your gender? If so, how do you address that?

Rapsody: Yes it happens, most definitely. It's just the world we live in. You're going to get prejudged based soley on your gender, ethnicity, religion, whatever. That's life in general, and Hip-Hop to the outsde world isn't immune. It happens. I read comments on blogs. Some of the comments are made by individuals who just need attention because they don't "feel" important unless they're hiding behind some screen name, using their "alter ego" to down someone else. And, some are just really simple minded individuals who think because I'm a women, it has to be wack, when they haven't listened to one song. Those who claim to be "Hip-Hop" but don't really know the meaning of what Hip-Hop is. They're playing a role. I don't expect everyone to like my music, but if you're going to criticize, listen to the music first and have something constructive to say.

But, I've definitely learned how to deal with it. You just let the music speak for itself. 9th always told me that good music moves itself.  And, two or three silly comments verses 30 good comments, that [also] speaks for itself. I have to tell myself not to focus on the negative, when there is so much positive around you. To have legendary artist like 9th Wonder, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Premier, DJ Evil Dee, Raekwon, Phonte, Monie Love, cosign your music ... I let that be my motivation. It humbles me and assures me that I'm going in the right direction. To keep going and growing and learning. To be able to work with artist like Estelle, Marsha Ambrosius, Rah Digga, Jean Grae, Big Krit, Mac Miller, Murs, Nottz and the like off the love ...it's humbling. I let the true lovers of the music and culture be my guide.

Speaking of music lovers, can you explain what culture over everything means?

Rapsody: I am a lover and child of Hip-Hop. I respect the culture and history and our pioneers. It's not about the money. It's not about the fame. It's not about the plaques. It's not about the watches. It's not about the clothes. It's about the people ... the CULTURE. That feeling you got when you first heard Bonita Applebum, T.R.O.Y., Fu-gee-lah, Lyte As Rock, Nas Is Like, etc, etc. Yes, we all want to eat and live off of this but I want to do it the right way. And, that's to make music that represents and respects the culture. Culture Over Everything is like the intro to "Brown Sugar" ... if you go listen to what Talib, Quest, Kane, Common, Method Man...all of them were saying and the passion in it. Thats "Culture Over Everything".

Dope. It seems like Jamla has created a hotbed of fresh Hip-Hop headquartered in NC. How does it feel to be part of such a movement?

Rapsody: It's a special feeling. I can't describe how it feels to be a part of a movement like this. I remember what it meant to me when the Justus League created that for us. I'm honored and humbled to carry the torch with Jamla. It's a good scene here and a bunch of talented artist. To have people say they have a reason to want to go out on Friday nights now, and read comments that some people really didn't know what "Hip-Hop" was until they went to a Jamla show. It's a great feeling.

When I looked at the features and the production on your latest project, the first I thought was "why is she giving this project away for free.99". So, why are you giving it away after already giving away so much free music?

Rapsody: A couple of reasons.

One being is that, we didn't pay for any of the features. They did it all for the love.  And, I am a million times grateful to them all. So, I can't sell it. It's not about making money off of any of their names. I'm a FAN ... TRUE FAN ... of them ALL!!! And, I'm happy to say I have gotten the chance to work with them and make good music. So, that's our gift to the people - good music.

And, I'm still a very new artist. There is a good buzz building, especially after coming off the Mac Miller tour. So, we just wanted to put out a project for the new fans to expand the fan base and brand.

I respect that. That's a dope and smart way of look at it. Okay, the next series of questions is kind of like a rapid fire. Each will start with "what's your thoughts and feelings" then the subject. Here we go.

What's your thoughts and feelings ...

On the features on your project?

Rapsody: I'm still AMAZED that we got everyone (with the exception of one). It's so humbling to work with the ones that influenced you ... that you are a FAN of! To have them take the time out of their busy schedules and lives to show you love.  Words will never describe the feeling. It's still like a dream to me! Waiting on someone to pinch me (laughs). It's moments like this that I love making music ... Hip-Hop. The people who are still fans of MUSIC, and there aren't middle men and this and that. Just getting together to create, even with someone like me who isn't a mega star ... just a Hip-Hop girl. To have their support, I can't truly describe it in words.

On the production on your project?

Rapsody: Man, good production accounts for a lot.  And, I'm thankful to be surrounded by 9th and The Soul Council, and have Nottz and Vitamin D assist. I couldn't be happier with the sound of the project. It helped tell my story without words. You can feel it in the kicks, snares, samples, bass, etc. I'm humbled to work with such talented, legendary, and soon to be legendary producers. Again, speechless!

On the journey to the release of your project?

Rapsody: I tell 9th that it's a BEAUTIFUL GRIND. Working day in and day out. The hungry days. The many sleepless nights. All the tweets. The videos from Kenneth Price. The push by the Jamla Army. The aid from our label manager Joyce He. The financial backing from 9th and Vince Clark. The support of my Jamla label mates. I dont know what giving birth is like but I feel like I have some idea. From the seed ... the day 9th came up with the title, to the first song, to the last song, until midnight June 21st ... when you get to see it unfold and read the reactions. It's a beautiful ride, and I'm loving every moment and looking forward to the next.

On what's next for you musically?

Rapsody: I would love to go on a college tour - any tour for that matter.  But, we are looking to release a 7-10 song EP titled "THANK H.E.R. NOW: The Dark Side Strikes Back". A collection of songs that didn't make Thank H.E.R. Now, with a couple new songs. We are also putting out a label mixtape sponsored by DIME Magazine. I've begun work on my album. Mainly, just back in the studio working. Whether the next project is a mixtape, EP or album, I don't know. It all depends on the buzz, if the time is right. We have to see what the defense gives us and we'll make a play based on that.

H.E.R. Throne

Sweetest Hangover

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1 comment:

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