Rapsody Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Hip-hop has welcomed a platoon of talented emerging artists over the past five years or so, but few exhibit their love for the art of rapping quite like North Carolina’s Marlanna Evans, better known as Rapsody. In the late 2000s, she formed a crucial bond with star producer 9th Wonder, who signed her to his Jamla label. After dropping her debut album, 2012’s The Ideal Beautiful, she landed a guest spot on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 masterpiece, To Pimp a Butterfly, contributing vocals to “Complexion (A Zulu Love)”—a high-profile appearance that enhanced her already blossoming career. In 2016, Rapsody signed with Roc Nation, which coreleased her next two albums, including last year’s ambitious Eve. On songs named after historically important Black women in music (“Nina”), film (“Whoopi”), sports (“Serena”), abolitionism (“Sojourner”), and contemporary politics (“Michelle”), Rapsody gracefully navigates lushly produced tracks punched up with limber rhythms, her every inflection conveying the energizing glee that helps her tackle the toughest verses. Atop the minimal, despondent synth melody of “Serena,” she sketches out the societal circumstances that Black women in this country have to face simply because they exist, driving home her points with fierce delivery and assassin-like focus.   v