Rapsody’s New Song With Kendrick Lamar Shows Hip-Hop’s Power Remains With Real MCs (Audio)
Tomorrow (September 22), Rapsody will release her long-awaited Laila’s Wisdom album. Already promising to be the biggest release in the North Carolina MC’s decorated career, the LP marks the first with backing from JAY-Z’s Roc Nation, along with that of her mentor, 9th Wonder, and Jamla Records.
Among the impressive personnel on the tracklisting, “Power” immediately stands out. This is the latest in a run of collaborations between Rapsody and Kendrick Lamar. A follow-up to the pair’s Grammy Award-winning work (“Complexion (A Zulu Love)”) on 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and Rapsody’s “Rock The Bells” before it, the moment is more proof that these two have undeniable microphone chemistry, and similar industry experiences.
With a sultry ’70s Funk bend, the beat builds to emphasize hard drums. Rapsody enters, chronicling the power of lust, badges, and melanin. “Badge make police feel powerful in the hood / Guns make us feel powerful, but they don’t do no good / I know my Blackness is powerful, and they don’t like that / I know some ni**as sold theirs, sat back and watch them tap-dance / Bombs over Bagdad to have a flag to brag ’bout / Don’t make you a big boy, ’cause you got a nice stack.” She uses wordplay to reference Jerry Stackhouse, Steph Curry, OutKast, and more. Rap’ re-ups with a second verse. It reps her Jamla squad and asserts her place atop Rap’s best MCs list.
Then enters Kendrick, at 3:00. He recalls his days in poverty, homelessness, and questions “celebrity vs. integrity.” Lamar makes a prayer of gratitude to above, and like Rap’, makes a power-play to the top of the MC list. He spits, “I shot ni**as then shot movies, 10 years later / Dear God, why you show me so much favor? / Amongst the haters and wickedness / Deliver this child from evil convictions and frivolous / Debates about who’s the preeminent MC of the millennium / And it’s all for the Benjamins / And I’m all of y’all nemesis / And I’m all in all happy none of y’all can fathom who Kendrick is / The only one who ever did wrote Book of Genesis.”
TDE’s affiliate Luke Skiiiwalker appears on the hook, which chronicles “a decade to get you,” perhaps an allusion to Rapsody and Kendrick’s 10-plus-years of paid dues.
In late 2011, Rapsody and Kendrick Lamar made “Rock The Bells,” produced The Soul Council/Away Team’s Khrysis. That would appear on the pivotal For Everything mixtape, at a time when both MCs were early on their paths to true greatness.