“When You Separate Us By Gender, It Puts Female Rappers In A Box”: Rapsody On The Female MC’s Identity

November 23, 2013  |  

It is often said real hip-hop is dead because the musical genre has gone mainstream. With this notion in mind, MadameNoire got the chance to interview Rapsody, who was featured on BET’s Hip Hop Awards cypher and  Pepsi’s “Who’s Next” Artist To Watch.  Not only is she  a breath of fresh air but she revives a hip-hop generation who has forgotten its roots. Found and signed by legendary producer 9th Wonder,  Rapsody offers up the edge of Lauryn Hill and realness of Lil Kim with her staccato bars.

The North Carolina native, brings people inside a world where millennial women voice their opinions on sex, love and politics with no apologies. Her resume that includes work with the likes of Kenderick Lamar, Erykah Badu and Big K.R.I.T to name a few. Whether it was her thoughts on how to make in the music industry, how to connect with fans or her morning ritual of searching the internet for new artists to collaborate with, Rapsody spoke with humility and raw honesty.

How She Entered The Music Business

I got my official start around 2008 through signing with 9th wonder. I met him in 2005 through friends and from that meeting, we kept in touch and I was eventually signed. I released my first solo project , Return Of The B-Girl, in 2010 and from then to now I have six projects. Because of that meeting, I began my initial introduction to the world as Rapsody.

What Does It Take To Make Money In The Industry

The best way to make money in the industry is to tour. The beauty of touring is, a fan will be able to experience the music and connect with the artist. Because of tours, fans will be able to understand the music they believe in, especially if it is a  powerful fan base. They will follow you ’till the end of the earth. After the tour experience fans will trust anything you put out because they have a better sense of who you are.  The other creative ways to increase your finances as an artist, is to create mixtapes instead of albums. Though, mixtapes may not tell your story the way albums do. Also artists can pave a retail avenue by designing their own merchandise. That is the beauty of the internet, you are able to be creative and  your own boss- cut out the middle man. Whereas, in the past you needed approval from the record label before you did anything. In present times, there are more opportunities to connect with your fans from a business standpoint.

Do you have to be tougher in the entertainment business because you’re a woman 

I never entered the industry feeling like, “Oh I am woman, they will treat me differently.” The way I see it, everyone needs to  read their contracts and find a lawyer. It is important to make smart business decisions. No matter your color or gender, once you are a dope artist you have the potential to make money. You will always meet people who will want to take advantage of you, so you have to be  protect yourself  with the moves you make.

On Rebranding the Female MC’s identity in hip hop

Honestly I do not like  the term “female MC” because I hate to be put in a box. I don’t look at labels. I believe you are either dope or you’re not. I think that is what matters the most. We need to cut the term and view female MCs as artists. To re-brand the image, I suggest we focus on whether female rappers can rhyme or not. Do we make dope albums? So people will not say, “I really like these female MCs.” Instead it will be, “I like Rapsody, I like Nicki just like I like Kenderick.” When you separate us by gender, it puts female rappers in a box.  Then people only expect women to rap about certain things or achieve a certain level of success.

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