Music

Rapsody Reveals the Real Meaning Behind Her New Album ‘Please Don’t Cry’ & Says the Resurgence of Women in Hip-Hop Is a ‘Beautiful Beginning’

Rapsody has been in the rap game for over a decade, and she always sings the praises of the great female rappers who came before her while feeling excited to see a new generation find success.

“This is a beautiful beginning. We’ve never seen it like this,” she said in her Billboard News interview Tuesday (May 14) about the resurgence of women in hip-hop. “I think there was a time, ’90s ‘course you know we had MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lauryn [Hill], Lil’ Kim, Foxy [Brown], Missy Elliott, Charlie Baltimore…. I could go on and on. But I think with social media, you just see it in such a heavy force that’s everywhere. I’m excited about it.”

The 41-year-old MC named Ms. Hill, MC Lyte and Queen Latifah as her main hip-hop influences, as well as Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., DMX and Erykah Badu (“She’s hip-hop to me,” added Rapsody). But she credits Nicki Minaj and Cardi B for paving the way for a newer crop of femcees.

“Nicki coming in, doing what she did, definitely opened the door. And then when Cardi came in, you have two huge women that are very, very, very successful. And if you know the industry, you see one success, it’s like ‘Great. Let’s really pour into this,’” she told Billboard‘s executive director, R&B/hip-hop Gail Mitchell. “I think that women’s stories were needed…. And I think the way that Cardi supported so many women also helped as well. Because of who she was and the success she had and to speak people’s names, to work with the artists that she did, it definitely made room and space for other artists.”

Cardi has worked with many of the newer female rap stars like GloRilla on “Tomorrow 2,” which earned Glo her first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100; Latto on the Hot 100 No. 13 hit “Put It on da Floor Again;” FendiDa Rappa on “Point Me 2,” which earned her her first Hot 100 entry; and Flo Milli on the remix of her Hot 100 No. 15 hit “Never Lose Me” (also featuring SZA).

Rapsody is set to release her fourth studio album Please Don’t Cry on Friday, May 17 via Jamla and Roc Nation. “It’s supposed to be ironic, right. It’s Please Don’t Cry, but the real message is please do cry. Allow yourself to be human, allow yourself to feel, to sit in your emotions, to grow from it. And think of all the reasons that we do cry. Of course, we cry when we’re sad, but we cry when we’re happy, too, and joyful. And we cry when we’re in love. It’s just about allowing yourself to really be imperfect and embracing the human that you are,” Rapsody said of the album’s title, adding that it’s her most vulnerable body of work to date.

Please Don’t Cry arrives five years after her album Eve, which reached No. 76 on the Billboard 200 and No. 42 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. “After Eve and I did two tours, I had an idea of where I wanted to go next with the album. And then we went into the pandemic. Everybody having to sit with themselves, be alone, the volume of the world turned down and everything internal turned up. You have some healing to do, you have a lot of growing to do and evolving,” she recalled. “And going through the process, it started in March of 2020. I started working on three albums at one time. I’m thinking Eve is done, I know which one I want to do next, but then I had this other idea, but then I’m feeling so much emotionally that I need to purge. And I think it was a week once we were in lockdown, I did 10 or 12 songs in two or three days. And I just kept going. And it took me about three-and-a-half, four years, 360 songs. I had a lot to say, I had a lot to get out. But I was relearning myself.”

Watch Rapsody’s full Billboard News interview above.

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