As one of North Carolina’s top-tier M.C.’s, Rapsody has created a comfortable space for herself in the rap game.
With her lauded album Laila’s Wisdom under her belt, along with celebrated mixtapes and memorable features with folks like Kendrick Lamar, Rapsody is now looking to take on other endeavors.
This definitely doesn’t mean she’s quitting the rap game. Instead, she hopes to exercise more aspects of her creative side. Rapsody stopped by Global Grind on International Women’s Day to discuss some of these burgeoning interests:
“I have so many other loves,” Rapsody said. “Like I was a big reader as a kid. I went to the library all the time, so for that, I want to write children’s books.”
Rapsody also has the dramatic arts on her mind:
“I’d love to get into acting, but I want to do it right. You know I’ve been sent several scripts, but I told my agent to hold off because I really want to take classes and really learn about the art of acting. Like I would want somebody trying to enter the hip hop world to be respectful of the culture and learn the art of M.C.ing, I want to learn how to be a great actor.”
The 36-year-old listed Cicely Tyson and Phylicia Rashad as her biggest influences:
“If I can have the chance to share a screen with them. Even if I was the person who came in and put the milk on the table. Just to be in that space and just to have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and wisdom because they’ve been in the arts forever.”
Inspirational Black women have been a common theme in Rapsody’s career. Although she’s listed people like Jay-Z as a major influence on her rhyming, women like Ms. Lauryn Hill set a standard right when Rapsody needed it.
Since Hill’s seminal work The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she hasn’t acquired the best reputation when it comes to showing up on time for shows or even creating a good relationship with certain band mates (according to Robert Glasper).
However, Rapsody says there’s always more to an artist than what’s put into the public:
“Lauryn runs her business the way Lauryn wants to run her business,” Rapsody said, “It’s two sides to every story. Robert told his, Lauryn told hers. It’s none of my business. It’s not my place to critique as far as her shows or her lateness.”
Rapsody also doesn’t let the tough talk diminish Ms. Hill’s impact on her life:
“You know, for me, I always say Lauryn was on time when we needed her. When I needed Lauryn in ’98 and ’96, she was on time, so to me, she’s allowed to be late. I think the industry has been trying to run her for her life, so for her to take control of what she wants to do and do it her way, I applaud her on that.”
Rapsody went on to detail the various reasons Hill could be late to a show:
“You know as a mother, putting your children first, I’m never mad at that. You gotta be late because you got something to do with your kids, then do that. You know at this point, if you know she’s going to be late and you ain’t with it, then don’t buy the ticket. If you decide to go, take some Uno cards just in case. I’m just in the business of appreciating Lauryn while she’s here.”
Just like Ms. Hill set a blueprint for many women to come, Rapsody hopes to follow that same path with music, the arts and even fashion one day:
“I definitely want to do my own clothing line at some point. Maybe like some tomboy feminine-type style ’cause women that are tomboys are sexy too, so I want to create a space for that.”
If Cicely Tyson, Phylicia Rashad and Ms. Hill have taught us anything, it’s that there’s always space.