Rapsody: The one that always sticks out to me is the one with Big Daddy Kane. That was my first one, my first big collaboration. When we got into the studio, he played something and wanted to know what I thought about it. I was like ‘You want to know what I think? You’re Big Daddy Kane!’ Later on, I rode with 9th when 9th took him back home. 9th got out the car, and me and Big Daddy Kane had a real one-on-one. He was like ‘I want you to know that you are special, that you have something, you have it. There is something really special about you and I don’t want you to forget that, I need you to recognize it, because you’ve got it.’ Yea, that one definitely meant the most, especially at that time in my career. Nobody like that, a legend, says that to you.
Hip-Hop Wired: What’s a dream project, who does it involve?
Rapsody: Jay Z, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. I think those three have the biggest influence on me. I’d add Mos Def in there too. They all have the most influence on the culture as a whole, without a doubt. So Jay Z, Lauryn, Erykah Badu, Mos Def and then 9th and the Soul Council handling the beat –– that would be my dream project.
Hip-Hop Wired: You said you believe in “culture over everything,” expound on that a little bit.
Rapsody: Culture over everything is more or less “for the people, by the people.” Culture is a way of life. It’s our history, it’s the way we talk, it’s the way we dress, it’s not just the music. This is how we see ourselves as a people. That’s why I always wanted to get into music, so I can inspire the people, especially little Black girls. I didn’t get into it to become famous or super rich. You know, I do want to live off of it, but the main goal is to tell these stories, inspire somebody to be great, to do something beyond their dreams. That’s what that means to me.
Hip-Hop Wired: How do you feel about female rappers today?
Rapsody: I think there’s a resurgence happening. But that’s music as a whole. There’s so much music coming from so many different people, from so many different areas, and that’s the beautiful thing about it. I think today everyone is so different. Big K.R.I.T., TDE, Joey Bada$$, Troy Ave, Action Bronson, Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper. Music is in a great state, or going to be in a much greater state and I think female rappers are very much a part of that movement… myself, Nitty Scott, Ill Camille.
Hip-Hop Wired: How did you react when you found out you didn’t make XXL’s freshman cover?
Rapsody: I found out a month before they announced it. When I found out, I’m not going to lie, I felt some kind of way at first, because I felt like it was a huge snub. With the year that I had, how could I not? But I had to tell myself not to be emotional about it, because at the end of the day it’s still a music business and it’s going to be political. There will always be someone else who “made it” and it might not be because of the art or because of the work or how talented he or she is. That’s just what I had to tell myself. And I also had to remind myself that the goal when I first got into this, the ultimate goal was never to make a XXL cover. It’s to be one of the best artists at the end of the day, to be one of the best artists that ever did it, one of the best lyricists that ever touched the mic. The ultimate goal was always to make great music, put out classic albums and inspire people. So, f*ck it.