Released: August 23, 2019, Jamla/Roc Nation, Review written by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and UK Ambassador for Wu-Worldwide DJ Coalition
GENESIS Chapter 3: Verse 20… And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. –
The African/Edenic woman, Eve, created from the rib of Adam, is the mother of all nations. She was black, liken unto the source from which she came (GENESIS Chapter 2: Verse 21-24)
…Today’s contemporary scholars verify that the first people of the earth were of African descent. Scientific evidence has recently revealed that the earliest findings indicate that Eve lived in sub-Saharan Africa. The great anthropologist/paleontologist Louis S. B. leaky made important discoveries of the earliest and older fossil remains of man in Eastern Africa. therefore, it is logically reasonable to conclude that the original man, ‘Adam’, who was created in the image and likeness of God, was African/Edenic.
(The Original African Heritage Study Bible King James Version)
Now… for those who claim to be atheist… the breakdown of Rapsody’s new album title may not mean much to you, which is a real shame, because it sets the standard of great black women past and present, bringing about the concept of this project which is unheard of. Each track features the first name of a great black woman, and the first lady of Jamla warps her mind and thinks like that woman in her music. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you EVE.
I DRAW A LINE WITHOUT SHOWING MY BODY THAT’S THE SKILL
This is the album setter right here, and Rapsody shuts it down within the first few bars of this atmospheric Strange Fruit sample. JUST. LIKE. THAT. Only one track in, Rapsody boasting thought provoking poetry, mentions other great black women such as Angela Bassett and Whitney, and somewhere in the world, Jermaine Dupri isn’t getting who is the best rapper…to him they are all rapping about the same thing – dancing in the club. Then in Cleo, 9th Wonder does Phil Collins proud, and Rapsody goes out guns blazing on the music industry and by the second verse, she has the Donald Trumps and the Boris Johnsons on the ropes big time and commends Jay-Z for the Tidal movement he has going on.
ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY?
This is a personal favourite of mine, and I am begging and pleading with Rapsody to drop a visual for this. You talk about a tribute to an artist who is still relevant to today’s generation who is not with us in the physical… like how Missy Elliott has recently re-emerged on the scene and making mad waves, this is also begging for a remix to be made. Phenomenally Epic, that’s Aaliyah. Props to Battlecat who lends his Westcoast seasoning all over the track. We may know 9th Wonder, I say get to know Eric G. I fell in love with his production since his early work with Heather Victoria.
Sonically, it’s going to be very hard to top that, but Eric G is gonna give it a try. ‘Oprah’ comes with that funky vibe that will have Carlton bussin’ a move.
You can see crazy Oprah street dance challenges waiting to happen. Shout out to the B.O.D. Dance crew out in Wolverhampton/Birmingham UK! Actually never mind dance crews, I can see Oprah and even Ellen going for it on this track… it’s that sort of vibe.
Oprah’s celebration of money is a nice clever Segway to Whoopi. By that I mean in the film Ghost, Whoopi’s character is reluctant to give away $4MILLION to nuns…
I don’t know how you see it but I would give Whoopi an Oscar too… $4MILLION?
At this point the album has transitioned to a more party like – flow. It sounds slightly odd at first, but you’ll get it! I’m sure that with $4MILLION you could drop your own street carnival, probably not the best way to invest your money, but we are celebrating powerful black women here.
‘Serena’ sees Rapsody shift into a more ‘trappish’ vibe, and one that works. Serena is that chick who we have seen celebrate in Tennis, whether it be through determination or by bussing a move on the tennis court, as mentioned earlier with Rapsody channeling her mind and thinking like these iconic figures through music. Rapsody & Eric G have captured this beautifully, and Serena ain’t gonna stop until she gets that title of the G.O.A.T. if she hasn’t captured it already. Going on to Tyra which has Rapsody speaking on natural black beauty and intellect…and Tyra is arguably the epitome of that…
PHENOMENAL WOMAN, THAT’S ME
…but in ‘Maya’, featuring K. Roosevelt, and knowing that Maya Angelou is one of the greatest poets to ever do it, Rapsody knows that lyrics are the focus here… “Gotta check myself, Mama/Told me, just like old Morgan, free man (Free man)
A caged bird sings a song for freedom (Freedom)/Goin’ borderline crazy thinkin’ ’bout the children/Michael Jackson told us all, get off the wall, back then…” Rapsody’s pen goes off in this, numerous references to Maya’s Autobiography ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ before making another clever reference to Jay-Z… something tells me that Jiggaman needs to stop playing with his funny looking hairstyle and get on a collab with Rapsody…it’s history waiting to happen and if this album doesn’t convince Jay I don’t know what will…
YO RZA FLIP THE TRACK
The visual to ‘Ibtihaj’ was very different to how I imagined it, and yet Rapsody took it to all new levels of epic proportions. She could have had herself and GZA walk around on a massive clock while 9th Wonder took wack records and throw it against the wall and have tarantulas crawl all over it… but instead she gets proud Muslim women in the video, displays of Ibithaj’s sword style, and then she goes and grabs Mary J Blige and Roxanne Shante to vibe with her. Incredible. When was the last time you recall GZA appear on a track not by a Wu-member or affiliate? We’ll wait as the countdown clock whittles down…
Another great thing this album does is educate the young. They know about Tyra, Serena, Oprah… but they may not know about Myrlie… widow of civil rights activist who was assassinated because he knew too much… “Invisible veil, Coretta wore that, you could see Israel/Martin Luther wasn’t a big enough deal?
Trayvon Martin ain’t a big enough deal?/I kid you not
How many Martin’s we had shot?/Pouring Remy Martin on the block…” You can feel your blood boiling on this subject can’t you? GOOD – that’s the idea. How you doing Jermaine? enjoying your popcorn you call your words back there?
If Cappadonna’s message ain’t a big enough deal, surely this will. Massive shout out to Reyna Brady for coming through with the spoken word. The powerful words here are sure to uplift and uphold our women.
‘Michelle’ is that great sounding record you can imagine being rocked at family gatherings, let’s not lie about that…You can imagine all your moms, aunties, grandmothers, sisters, all forming that all female soul train in the venue to this feel good record, while ‘Iman’ is just classic 9th Wonder. He has evolved his sound as of late but this takes it back to almost that Little Brother type era. SiR assists on the hook while Jid expresses his frustration of the media purposely makes iconic women and makes them something that they are not unless you do the knowledge. This is that Miss Black Beauty pageant music, but Jid makes a creative error in his lyrics which is fantastic… mentions the dreaded B- word which goes into maybe the album’s biggest highlight…
Rapsody using that iconic line ‘Who You Calling A B!tch’? was all apart of the plan to go into ‘Hatshepsut’ which sees the re-emergence of Queen Latifah and Hip Hop History been made, Queen Latifah (and GZA) DO NOT appear on other people’s albums like that and this track shows two things: one – Rapsody is really something special and two – Rapsody demonstrates her sense of humility and becomes a student in her own right, and that can only be a beautiful thing.
‘SoJourner’ featuring J.Cole originally appeared on the compilation ‘Jamla Is The Squad II’… You have to admire the sequencing of this project, going from a collab with an all-time great to a collab with a current artist which the youth can relate to. It’s great strategy for those who know Rapsody but not the Jamla Squad. Fun fact – Rapsody was going to name this ‘Harriet’, as Harriet and Sojourner share the same ambitions as regards to ‘being free’… it’s also worth noting that Rapsody did mention an ‘EVE 2’ in interviews… so who knows? Maybe a ‘Harriet’ track could re-emerge…
The album’s closer is a picture perfect one, because 2Pac’s lyrics from ‘Keep Your Head Up’ are brought into 2019 with the heartfelt ‘Afeni’ (Don’t worry Voletta, you might be Eve2’s album closer)… Rapsody pens an heartfelt letter to us men and basically urges us to fix up and to those who have, mad respect due. The last few bars of the first verse refers back to the album’s title and it’s bible scriptures… “We ain’t your hoes or your bitches, trophies, or meant for pimpin’/Recognize a gift from God outweighs a birthday or a Christmas/To protect our lives, you gon’ take it to the limit? (You gon’ take it to the limit?)
Rib of my rib, do you still feel us in ya…”
I TREASURE Y’ALL LIKE DIAMONDS
‘Eve’ is a triumph and a half from Rapsody, so much so that her first album ‘The Idea Of Beautiful’ had to be revisited just to see how far she has come. Integrity has maintained throughout and so has the musical genius of 9th Wonder & The Soul Council. Sure, a lot of people got on board from her appearance on Kendrick’s critically acclaimed album and rocked with Laila’s Wisdom… but this, shows the passion from her pen in a elevated way. From the beginning, she did not want to be acknowledged as a female MC but siply – an MC, but as far as I’m concerned, and as humble as she is, legendary guest appearances, three albums in and numerous side mixtapes/Eps, Rapsody has DONE IT. She has earned Lauryn’s throne, but Rapsody would rather build another throne and put it side by side as opposed to sitting in Lauryn’s. Take a bow queen, here’s to waiting for an artist to create a track entitled ‘Marlanna’.