DNA Spotlight: RAP(sody) is BACK

DNA Album Spotlight by Shaan Bajwa
Rapsody - Please Don't Cry
Hip hop is an interesting genre. We've come to expect artists of every level to constantly put out music or face the fear of "falling off". From yearly releases from the biggest artists, to nearly monthly releases from underground favorites, we're clearly spoiled. In recent years we've started to see artists take longer to release, and with that comes projects that are well polished and incredibly personal. One such album is the latest release from Rapsody, Please Don't Cry. This follows her 2019 release, EVE. It's been five years since she last put out a project, and this album does a really good job of explaining why. It sounds like Rapsody's been dealing with a lot of internal issues and stresses that were really amplified through COVID and the following years. In that time, it feels that she's begun to process it all.
This project goes through a lot of the emotions that she's been processing, and
honestly, I can see it being a little intense for some people at point. For example, I have only listened to Loose Rocks only once, because it hits home a little too much for me.
The therapy bits start right at the beginning with the intro, "She's Expecting You" with Phylicia Rashad as the therapist.
This quickly moves into “Marlanna”, which is a proper introduction to the project. We see that Rap has been doing some soul searching and has learned some more about herself. She's talking from a place of not fully understanding herself, but from a place where she's starting to get somewhere. It's at a point where she's questioning reality, whether that's because of how absurd the world can be, or if she's truly unable to tell if things are make believe. And ultimately she ends the track with Who am I? in a way to both ask herself who she is, but also a way to introduce the content of the project to come.
This then goes into the lead single, “Asteroids”, which I discussed back when it came out, but the overall idea of the track is that it feels like a response to people who've been downplaying female rappers and putting them into a box or just straight up overlooking them, but even more specifically how Rapsody feels about it. She mentions that if she were a man, she would easily be in the conversation with some of the greats, which depending on the criteria you're looking at, can heavily vary. But this does bring up a topic that gets brought up every so often. Why do we always look at women in rap as people who only promote one type of music? Ever since its inception, the ladies have carried hip hop from a public facing position as well as a purely lyric driven position. It feels like the ratio of pop leaning to super lyrical rappers is greater for women than men, yet the respect isn't there. A lot of these sentiments are on display on Look What You've Done, as well as slight mentions throughout the entirety of the album.
Now, while the majority of the album is heavily focused on Rapsodys growth and
processing of particular emotions and moments in her life, a lot of it is concentrated in the middle of the project from “DND” to “Loose Rocks”. These tracks are the ones that I feel are most relatable to listeners because while there are things that are specific to her, it's got overall themes as well like wanting to be left alone because things are overwhelming, or finding different ways to ignore pain, or even more personal things like having a family member with dementia on “Loose Rocks”.
The energy picks up significantly with "Diary of a Mad Bitch”, where if we're following the trajectory of the project, makes a lot of sense. Up until this point, she's discussed a lot of personal topics, like I just mentioned, and at this point she's frustrated and is letting off a bunch of steam. And much like any of us, this explosion of frustration leads to a bout of self doubt and struggle, with “Never Enough”.
As we go through the back end of the album, tones change a bit to more of a rap focus on the tracks "Back in My Bag” and "Raw”, and we also get a couple of tracks around women empowerment with “Lonely Women” and "A Ballad for the Homegirls”. Both types of tracks are great, and can almost feel like they're for the fans who listen to Rap for these things. Before the project ends, we have another therapy session where we're coming to the main question that’s been asked throughout the project, and needs to be answered to understand yourself, Who are you? It's always going to be a struggle, and always something that we can ask ourselves. And even though these are questions being
asked of Rapsody, it could be seen as an open question for the listener. Through this album there's surely a moment or two where we've stopped and reflected on ourselves and really wondered who we are. Who are you in your rawest state? Who are you when you're joyful, upset, frustrated? What makes you sad, why do you cry? Oh, but please don't cry.
After this final therapy session we have two tracks that wrap things up with “Faith” and "Forget Me Not" which serve to properly put a bow on everything. Faith acts more of an "alright, I'm starting to understand things and I get it." sort of track. And Forget Me Not is really just a spoken word piece from Rap where she talks through a lot of the process and emotions of the project.
Overall, the project was really solid. It is a bit longer of a project at a runtime of an hour and five minutes and twenty two tracks, but it makes sense for it to have been this long. The project is very personal and it HAS been five years since she's last put anything out, so it makes a lot of sense really. There's a lot that's happened since then and she's had to process it for sure.
My favorite tracks are: Asteroids, DND, Diary of a Mad Bitch, Back In My Bag, & Raw
-Shaan Bajwa @Bajwashoots
Listen to "Please Don't Cry" HERE
Follow Rapsody: @Rapsody

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