Marlanna Evans (born January 21, 1983),[2][3] better known by her stage name Rapsody, is an American rapper. After signing with music producer 9th Wonder's music label It's a Wonderful World Music Group, she released a series of mixtapes and collaborated with Erykah Badu and Talib Kweli. Soon afterwards Rapsody released her debut album The Idea of Beautiful (2012). She would attain further prominence when she was featured on Kendrick Lamar's 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, on the track "Complexion (A Zulu Love)".

Rapsody in 2018
Rapsody in 2018
Background information
Birth nameMarlanna Evans
Also known asRapdiddy[1]
Born (1983-01-21) January 21, 1983 (age 41)
Snow Hill, North Carolina, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2007–present

Her second album, Laila's Wisdom (2017), received critical acclaim and was nominated at the Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song.[4] Rapsody released her third studio album, Eve on August 23, 2019, to critical acclaim from music critics.[5] In 2020, she was featured alongside Cordae, Chika, and Busta Rhymes, on the Stevie Wonder song "Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate". Rapsody released her fourth album, Please Don't Cry, on May 17, 2024.



Rapsody began her career at North Carolina State University, where she joined hip hop collective H2O and its spinoff group Kooley High, despite not having rapped before.[6][7][8] The group met producer 9th Wonder in 2004, who was impressed by one of Rapsody's verses,[9] and she would go on to make her recording debut on 9th Wonder's sophomore album, The Dream Merchant Vol. 2 which released on October 9, 2007, in which she freestyled over 9th's re-chopping of old samples he already used for other artists.

She launched her solo career in 2008 after signing with 9th Wonder's It's A Wonderful World Music Group. Her first significant career breakthrough came with the release of her mixtape Return of the B-Girl on December 7, 2010. Return of the B-Girl marked her first work with hip-hop producer, DJ Premier, and featured guests such as Mac Miller and Big Daddy Kane. She continued to build acclaim with the release of her next mixtape, Thank H.E.R. Now which showcased her storytelling abilities as she drew from personal life experiences and featured her work with a variety of critically acclaimed acts such as Marsha Ambrosius, Estelle, Raekwon, Jean Grae, Murs, and Big K.R.I.T.

Her next project, For Everything was released on November 15, 2011, and showcased her work with both newly acclaimed and established acts such as Kendrick Lamar and Freeway and a number of the tracks were featured in XXL magazine's "Bangers" section.[10][11] In May 2011, Rapsody joined Mac Miller on his Incredibly Dope Tour for 15 dates.[12] In late 2011, she toured with Phonte and 9th Wonder as a part of the Phonte & 9th Wonder Tour.[13]

Rapsody signed with Jay-Z's record label Roc Nation in July 2016,[14][15] and her debut for the label, Laila's Wisdom, was released on September 22, 2017. The album received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song.[4]

Rapsody's third studio album, Eve, was released on August 23, 2019, to critical acclaim from music critics.[16] In June 2024, Rapsody's "Asteroids" was nominated for the Hollywood Independent Music Awards in the Adult Contemporary Hip Hop category.[17]

Style and philosophy


Rapsody is known for her intricate rhyme patterns, metaphors, and wordplay. She is often hailed as one of the best living lyricists in the hip-hop genre.[18][19][20][21][22] Rapsody cites Jay-Z, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, and MC Lyte as the biggest influences on her music.

Rapsody's production is primarily handled by The Soul Council, the team of in-house producers at It's A Wonderful World Music Group comprising E. Jones, Ka$h Don't Make Beats, AMP, Eric G., Nottz and Khrysis. Rapsody's philosophy is "Culture Over Everything," referring to the culture of hip-hop music. She describes this phrase in an interview with Vibe Magazine where she says, "To me, it's about culture more so than money or anything. I make music for the people of the culture we’re in; that comes first. If you touch the people first, the rest just falls into place. That's what it means to me, just preserving and respecting the culture."[23][24]

Personal life


In her younger years, she watched the MTV show Yo! MTV Raps and considered MC Lyte as one of her early influences and later stated Lauryn Hill as an all-time favorite.[25] She grew up in the small town of Snow Hill in North Carolina. Rapsody wasn't exposed to much hip hop and would listen to what her older cousins would play in the car. She would later develop her love for hip hop when she entered college.[26]

Her 2017 album Laila's Wisdom was named after her grandmother, Laila Ray.[9]

In 2019, Rapsody played for the "Home" roster during the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Bojangles' Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The roster was made up of celebrities with Carolina roots. Her team won the game and she had one assist in the game while playing around 12 minutes.[27]



Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions

The Idea of Beautiful
Laila's Wisdom
  • Released: September 22, 2017
  • Label: Jamla/Roc Nation
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download, streaming
  • Released: August 23, 2019
  • Label: Jamla, Roc Nation
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download, streaming
76 42
Please Don't Cry
  • Released: May 17, 2024
  • Label: Jamla, Roc Nation
  • Format: LP, CD, cassette, digital download, streaming

Extended plays


with Kooley High

  • Kooley High Presents... Raleigh's Finest (Mixtape) (2007)
  • The Summer Sessions EP (2008)
  • Eastern Standard Time (2010)
  • Kooley High Presents...David Thompson (2011)



Guest appearances

Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"We Are Jamla" 2009 Skyzoo, Big Remo, GQ The Power of Words
"As We Shine" Thee Tom Hardy, D-Mal The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape: Curse of thee Green Faceded
"Okaaaaaay" Thee Tom Hardy, TP
"Let's Go" 2010 Actual Proof The Free EP
"It's Cool (Word to A. Gilliam)"
"Times Up" Actual Proof, Halo, GQ, Sean Boog
"I Will Always Be Down" Heather Victoria Victoria's Secret
"Your Favorites" Thee Tom Hardy The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape: Secret of thee Green Magic
"Never Settle" Sean Boog, Halo, Sundown Light Beers Ahead of You
"What It Is" Sean Boog
"Heroes" Sean Boog, Big Remo, King Mez, Halo, GQ, TP
"Breathe" 2011 Actual Proof The Talented Tenth
"The Jungle" Halo Heat Writer II
"Dream Big" TP TP Is My Hero
"Won't Stress Me" Heather Victoria Graffiti Diary
"Fight the Feeling" Sean Boog, Halo, Tyler Woods The Phantom of the Jamla
"Represent" Actual Proof Still Hotter Than July
"Sizzlin" Median The Sender
"Lines" Halo, 9thmatic The Blind Poet
"20 Feet Tall (Remix)" 9th Wonder, Erykah Badu The Wonder Years
"Set It Off" The Away Team, Talib Kweli Scars & Stripes
"Black Swan" Statik Selektah, Nitty Scott, MC Population Control
"ACC" GQ, Halo Trouble Man
"Optimus Prime" GQ, Bluu Suede
"Not Taking You Back" Heather Victoria Hip Hop Soul Lives
"Headlights" 2012 Actual Proof Black Boy Radio
"Many Microphones" Actual Proof, 9thmatic
"I'm Back" Big Remo Sleepwalkers
"A Love Never Dies" Sean Boog, Khrysis Sean Boogie Nights
"And Another One" Rah Digga
"Shorty Left" Buckshot, 9th Wonder The Solution
"Get Together" Murs, 9th Wonder The Final Adventure
"Gettin' Mine" 2013 Big K.R.I.T., Heather Victoria
"Same Shit" Oh No, Psalm One Disrupted Ads
"I Know" GQ, Rocki Evans Death Threats & Love Notes: The Prelude
"Before Midnight" L'Orange, Stik Figa The City Under the City
"It's OK" Add-2 & Khrysis Between Heaven and Hell
"The Resurrector" 2014 Bishop Lamont The (P)reformation
"Hallelujah" Dilated Peoples, Fashawn, Domo Genesis, Vinnie Paz, Action Bronson Directors of Photography
"Pretty Balloons" Halo Mansa Musa
"Pump Ya Brakes" Diamond D, Boog Brown, Stacy Epps The Diam Piece
"Never Give Up (One for Ava)" A-Villa, Guilty Simpson, Villa, Avalyn Villagomez Carry on Tradition
"Complexion (A Zulu Love)" 2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly
"Told Y'all" dEnAuN sTuFf In My BaCkPaCk
"Kidnapped" King Magnetic Timing Is Everything
"Another Level" Statik Selektah Lucky 7
"Stop Play Rewind" Add-2 Prey for the Poor
"Kool Aid" Add-2, Sam Trump
"Guillotine Flow" Big K.R.I.T.
"Respect" Bad Lucc Breathe
"Ski Mask Way"
"Every Ghetto" Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder Indie 500
"Life Ahead of Me"
"Don't Be Afraid" Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder, Problem, Bad Lucc
"See Love" Shawn Stockman
"Walk Like a God" Murs, 9th Wonder, Propaganda Brighter Daze
"Without You" 2016 Anderson .Paak Malibu
"Far Gone" Musiq Soulchild Life on Earth
"Shadows Crawl (DJ Premier Open Eyes Remix)" Torii Wolf
"Guns Hang High" GQ
"The Law" Ab-Soul, Mac Miller DWTW
"Let It Burn" 2017 Talib Kweli, Styles P, Chris Rivers The Seven
"Loved Ones" 2018 PRhyme PRhyme 2
"Love Is A Funny Thing" Evidence, Styles P, Khrysis Weather or Not
"Care To Say About It" T.I. Rapture The Soundtrack
"Go" H.E.R., Alex da Kid
"Go (Remix)" H.E.R., Alex da Kid, Jorja Smith
"Dostoyevsky" Black Thought Streams of Thought, Vol. 1
"Big Discount" 2019 The Karrin Allyson Sextet Shoulder to Shoulder: A Centennial Tribute to Women's Suffrage
"Wishing Well" Elle Varner Ellevation
"He Won't Hold You" 2020 Jacob Collier Djesse Vol. 3
"Fight The Power: Remix 2020" Public Enemy, Nas, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, ?uestlove What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
"The Mighty Tree" Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington, Herbie Hancock Dinner Party: Dessert
"Air & Water Interlude" T.I. The L.I.B.R.A.
"Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate" Stevie Wonder, Cordae, Chika, Busta Rhymes TBA
"Deep End (Remix)" Lecrae Restoration
"Fallback" 2022 Phife Dawg, Renée Neufville Forever


  1. ^ Aguilar, Andrea. ""LOVE AND HIP HOP" – INTERVIEW WITH RAPPER RAPSODY". Beautiful Struggles. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
  2. ^ "Rapsody Profile". Recording Academy. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  3. ^ "Rapsody". HotNewHipHop.
  4. ^ a b "Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars Lead 2018 Grammy Nominees". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  5. ^ Kearse, Stephen (2019-08-29). "Rapsody's 'Eve' is a Masterpiece of Hip-Hop Feminism". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-07-26.
  6. ^ "Rapsody Bio | Rapsody Career". MTV. 2010-12-07. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  7. ^ Griffith, Spencer (28 January 2009). "Raleigh hip-hop six-piece Kooley High hits the big screen". Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  8. ^ Yeh, Samantha. "Where My Ladies At?". Ready Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  9. ^ a b Hutchinson, Jacob. "Rapsody clever, insightful in 'Laila's Wisdom'". The Panther. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  10. ^ "Rapsody ft. Kendrick Lamar "Rock The Bells"". Archived from the original on November 19, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
  11. ^ "Bangers News". XXL Mag.
  12. ^ Paine, Jake (April 18, 2011). "Mac Miller Adds More Incredibly Dope Tour Dates, Rapsody Joins As Opener". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  13. ^ Paine, Jake (September 19, 2011). "Foreign Exchange Continues Tour, With Phonte & 9th Wonder Dates Added". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  14. ^ Williams, Houston (17 July 2016). "Roc Nation Signs Rapsody, Announced Deal At Brooklyn Hip-Hop Fest". Allhiphop. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  15. ^ "RAPSODY SIGNS TO ROC NATION". the The Northstar Group. 16 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  16. ^ DeVille, Chris (August 23, 2019). "Stream Rapsody's New Album Eve". Stereogum. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  17. ^ "2024 NOMINATIONS | Hollywood Independent Music Awards". Retrieved 2024-06-23.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Rapsody Is a Hip-Hop Pioneer. The Rest of the World Just Doesn't Know It Yet". The Root. 2023-11-30. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  20. ^ "'Eve' by Rapsody helps rapper contend for best lyricist in hip-hop". The Daily Sentinel. 2019-09-11. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  21. ^ "With "Eve," Rapsody gains traction in the best rapper debate". AP News. 2019-09-11. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  22. ^ Phillips, Devon (2020-10-28). "Rapsody Wins Lyricist Of The Year At The 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards". ROC NATION. Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  23. ^ "Watch Your Throne! Rapsody Discusses Becoming The Female Jay-Z And What To Expect From 'Thank H.E.R. Now'". Vibe. May 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  24. ^ "'s Top 25 Artists of 2013"
  25. ^ Yeh, Samantha. "Where My Ladies At?". Ready Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  26. ^ Frank Stasio, Charlie Shelton. "Looking At The World Through Rhyme: Meet Rapsody". North Carolina Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  27. ^ release, Official. "ESPN and NBA announce celebrity rosters and coaches for 2019 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles exclusively on ESPN". Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  28. ^ "Rapsody Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  29. ^ "Rapsody Chart History: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2023.