Exploring the stories of women who live by a ride-or-die philosophy

[INTERVIEW] An Afternoon with an All-Star: Rapsody – The Black Jedi

[Note from the Editor: Core Writer Jessxca Docs conducted an interview with Rapsody on January 16th, 2015 in Toronto and covered Rapsody’s first concert in Toronto on behalf of The Ride or Die Project. Much love to the legendary DJ Mel Boogie for hooking us up with this opportunity.]

By Jessxca Docs | @BlogThatJ

I can’t lie my track record for wicked concerts has been on point so far this year including this one.  Rapsody hails from North Carolina home to some of the greats!  I got put on while browsing for some mixtapes and since She Got Game in 2013 I’ve been consistently looking out to hear anything new dropping. Rapsody has been holding her own with 5 mixtapes, an album and 2 EPs!! This young Queen is working!  And I love the consistency. It’s what keeps me coming back to hear what else she has to say!

Before the concert was the Meet & Greet at BLKOUT Clothing in downtown Toronto. The vibe was nice and DJ Romeo was super hospitable asking if we needed anything and having water on standby and the wickedest array of toffee and caramel candies (I’m pretty sure I finished off the entire bowl and put a couple in my pocket as snacks for later).

By this time it was my turn to go up as I was sitting there fumbling with finding the recorder on my phone and then finding the record button (smh it definitely wasn’t my best Columbo moment). In between time I gave a  brief description of who I was and The Ride or Die Project….

We are a collective that explores the idea of being a ride or die as a phenomenon that has transcended time.  Our exploration refers to someone whose loyalty is not only to their intimate partners but also their families, friends, communities, political movements; recognizing that though the recipient may change, the patterns of self-effacement are consistently applied.

rapsody-650-430What’s a ride or die to you and is this a philosophy you connect to? Based on what I told you or what you perceive a ride or die to be?

Definitely you know when I write, I write about life and I write about my family and everything going on in society so you know its important for us to tell that story and document it and to let our voices be heard, without those stories being documented and around forever to pass down… they always say if you don’t know your history and where you came from you don’t know where you’re going and you open up something to be repeated again. 

 I write about life and I write about my family and everything going on in society so you know its important for us to tell that story and document it and to let our voices be heard, without those stories being documented and around forever to pass down… they always say if you don’t know your history and where you came from you don’t know where you’re going and you open up something to be repeated again. 

I loved her response. That is essentially what The Ride or Die Project is doing in taking back the term Ride or Die.  Synchronicity at its best.

How is this related to your life and the music you create?

They say music is a snapshot of your life or a period of what’s going on in your life and you know  whether I’m talking about the Mike Brown situation, or stories with love or things my Mother and Grandmother have taught me I think any story I  have, I think somebody on this earth can relate to it, can be attached to it, and feel an emotion from it.  To be able to do that and influence people in that way speaks for itself.

Rapsody’s response was trill and filled with an understanding of the responsibility to the message she is sharing in her music and from herself personally.  You can tell just by this response she is coming into her own and knows exactly what she wants. She talked a little about where she is at in her growth and development as an artist and a person:

rapsody2013I’m 100% comfortable I  feel great even in doing music and growing in music I also got to know who I was and what I wanted to do and what I  wouldn’t do and like I said meeting all these legends or new artists or talking to people…they confirm you’re the right thing. I’m all the way in a great space now and you know I believe in myself 100% there’s no doubt.

You mentioned being surrounded by people who are the best to elevate your game.  Who do you have around you in that way that’s the best?

The label and 9th (Wonder) are a given but Ab Soul we can talk about lines and versus we like, people like that they push you Kendrick, Big Krit, Chance (Chance the Rapper) and even like Talib (Kweli) and Pharaoah Monch Jean Grey, Rah Digga and Lady of Rage these are legends and legends in the making in their own right. To have that circle around to keep you on your toes, I call it healthy competition having them and talking to them and watching them progress, like oh wow I like what you did with that one let me go challenge myself and see what I can do you know? But that’s still me at the same time. Those are my circle of people. 

What stories do you wish you could hear more of in hip hop?

I think where hip hop is now outside of mainstream it’s in a really great place. I’ve heard some of everything if there was more… I’m glad the females are rising again. I’d like to hear more of the female perspective like I did when I grew up.  Just the female side whether it’s something socially or relationship wise just to have that voice heard more.

I’m glad the females are rising again. I’d like to hear more of the female perspective like I did when I grew up.

 Are there any female artists listening to now?

No Name Gypsy, ILL Kamil, Tina Apex, Tink 

What’s up with you and Star Wars?

(Laughs) I’m a Black Jedi. A lot of the people on our label are Star Wars fans and we’re excited about this movie coming out this summer but I’m also in the Zulu nation and we also named our chapter the Black Jedi Chapter. There are things in Star Wars you can apply to life. Its all about the force 

What’s next for Rapsody in 2015 and beyond?

Working on my sophomore project Untitled, the follow up to The Idea of Beautiful. A lot of touring; i want to get back to Europe, the West Coast, back here of course, I want to go back to South Africa again. We have Hard to Choose a video for that coming out and a video shoot for The Man next week, going to continue to push that project and you know keep it pushing you know

Picture 003

Meanwhile at the concert…

I like to be incognito so that I get the full concert experience.  I like to be immersed in the music and everything that comes with a performance.  This concert was no different.

First of all I love cozy venues (somebody hurry up and have another hip hop concert at Studio Bar!) I find it easier to connect to the artist and almost in a way build a rapport.

Picture 005Toronto was no slouch the opening acts were on a level!!!!! With the likes of Adria Kain and her ill vocals, Phoenix Pagliacci and her dope lyrics, to Jelly Too Fly and her undeniable flavor to Keysha Freshh who was literally too fresh.

Picture 072The stage was already on fire and when Rapsody pulled up to the scene she built off that momentum.  I was not expecting the energy that she was giving out. Homegirl went in! I most definitely wasn’t expecting all that, with her humble yet cool demeanour, no frills and kind of flirty too (You had to be there LOL).  We were in her world for a good minute while she controlled the stage and audience.  Rapsody held it down for her first time in Toronto.

Here’s a link to one of her mixtapes Return of the B Girl (just a little something to tease your ear). Also peep the video off her latest release Beauty and The Beast.  I want to thank DJ Mel Boogie for extending the invite to the Meet & Greet and KWM for putting the event together. Dope concert.


Jessxca Docs | Core Writer

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