It took me a while to figure out the difference between NonFiction and Fiction in elementary school, but I finally got around to it – and so did first lady of Jamla Records, Rapsody – whose theme of her single, “NonFiction”, has to do with staying truthful to the soul and culture of hip-hop.
Since she met 9th Wonder in 2005, Rapsody has been working for the day to finally release her debut album, “The Idea of Beautiful.” If the rest of the album has relation to this single, “NonFiction”, featuring Raheem Devaughn and Ab-Soul, it will play true to her art form, connecting the idea of hip-hop culture to a fast rapping play on words.
It takes more though than just clever metaphors to gain respect as an MC, but it sounds like her boss, 9th Wonder, had her realize that years ago. Rapsody raps her lines between patterned pauses and with a rhythmic recurrence that balances so well she’s able to keep up with her fellow peers like Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar.
Every part of “NonFiction” was integral for the theme of authenticity she aimed to stick to. Both Rapsody and Ab-Soul fueled the fire with how well their styles intertwine. Producer 9th Wonder once again masters a hit using some inspiration from Lauryn Hill's infamous “Ooh La La La” phrase. And, Raheem DeVaughn polishes the track with his R&B touch, singing lines like “this ain't no bubble gum w/rap.”
We the truth none realer//
Too uncommon like Dilla to light
Rapsody introduces herself and 9th Wonder as a classic pair in today’s hip-hop roster, like Common and the late J-Dilla. As simple this line is, it sets the tone for the song, and she continues to showcase the resemblance of her flow to those of the ‘90s.
Man I made a man cry vibin to be a man//
Walking like an Egyptian life ain’t [pharaoh/fair ol'] boy just got shipped and the judge don't care//
I'll take my steak rare maybe it'll help me bare with all the bloody consequences obvious in this [air/heir]
Ab-Soul spits the truth to the point where men even cry. From what I interpret, he plays with double meaning phrases like ‘life ain’t fair’ and 'life ain’t pharaoh' to make a single point; in this instance it’s the hardships of being among the common people and having to take careful steps to live comfortably (like the Egyptians believed). About the “bloody consequences,” Ab-Soul is alluding to the vulnerable state at which plebs are shot down emotionally or killed from the doing of those in power. Then he goes on to talk about eating raw steak to get used to the sight of blood in a terrain where 'air' is supposed to symbolize liberty, but 'heir' refers to the limit of that liberty with elite self-interest. Once again, Ab-Soul performs a dope verse that mixes his free-slinging flow with the art form of multiple meaning words.
Indeed Rhapsody is blessed to have the mentorship of 9th Wonder, but to have that type of blessing first comes 7 years of strengthening her flow, including 4 mixtapes and an EP under her belt. And now she has Soundcloud users “breaking their necks” to this song. Pow! Look out for her debut album “Idea Of Beautiful” expected to be out August 28th.