If you haven’t listened to Rapsody’s latest album Laila’s Wisdom, then you are honestly missing out on one of the best hip-hop albums of 2017.
The North Carolina emcee has been delivering solid content throughout her solo career thus far, but this album takes it to the next level. Her flows are consistent, her storytelling about her life experiences and her reality are some of the most authentic I’ve heard for a while now (a constant any Rapsody fan can find in nearly all of her work).
However, this article is not actually about her newest album, but about what is being created by her flows and how they are matched with the beats and sounds made by 9th Wonder, who has produced a large chunk of her discography.
It’s hard to really describe exactly what I’m trying to get at, but let’s start with these two words: Reminiscent Modernism. If I’m not mistaken, I’ve just coined the term (at least in the context of hip-hop music), and here is what it means to me.
It’s when you take a sound, let’s say a classic soul tune or some old school R&B, you sample it, and then once you’ve flipped the beat, you’ve captured the timeframe in which the original track came out as well as the sounds of the present. That’s what Reminiscent Modernism is to me, and 9th Wonder is one of the principal practitioners of that sound.
It’s even easier to hear when combined together with an emcee like Rapsody, who has a timeless delivery time and time again. The only other hip-hop artists producing this kind of quality material over their past few projects would have to be Run The Jewels, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson .Paak. That’s it.
Can you imagine the supergroup that would come out of the artists listed above? It’d be world shifting.
Anyway, let’s look at a song from these two in order to better understand exactly what I’m talking about.
We’re going to look at Rapsody’s mixtape from 2016, entitled Crown. The song called #Goals has that sound that I mentioned above if you would like to check for yourself:
Now if you’re like me and do not listen to synthpop/ jazz funk from the 1980s, then you also wouldn’t know that a UK group by the name of Level 42 is the group beatsmith 9th Wonder samples (as shown below):
Level 42 is definitely a band of the 80’s, but 9th Wonder brings the sound with him and flips the sample into something representative of today. Ergo, Reminiscent Modernism. 9th Wonder is one of the best to ever produce, but he just seems to create something special with Rapsody on the mic.
The challenge for you now as the reader is to go and find a hip-hop song that really speaks to you sonically, and has a producer who does both similar and separate things from what 9th Wonder does. When you do find it, share it in the comments section below and we’ll discuss it further.
Enjoy crate-digging for Reminiscent Modernism!