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Driving Forces: Rapsody's Career is Inspired by Women

We went to the MC's studio in North Carolina to see her creative process firsthand and talk about what community means to her.

Sponsored content from Uber

Driving Forces is a video series profiling young creative people who are empowering their communities. We've partnered with Uber to highlight the stories of influential women whose work brings underrepresented voices to the front. Read more about how Uber is supporting women in the workplace here.

For Rapsody, being a gifted lyricist is a great responsibility.

"We live in a time when words aren't as important," she says. This is something the North Carolina rapper is intent on changing. From the start her music has put wordplay front and center, beginning with an interest in poetry which became an interest in song lyrics. As a child, she would take the booklets out of CD cases to read the words inside.


We went to visit the dynamic MC at her studio in Snow Hill, North Carolina where her positive energy and sense of humor took center stage.

Tied to her crusade to bring lyricism back is her desire to acknowledge the women that raised her—a rich legacy that she's trying to carry on to the next generation. Her acclaimed 2017 album, Laila's Wisdom, was named after her grandma Laila. "It connects to my grandmother, my mom, all the women in my life," she says. "I want my music to sound like classy black women."

Her debut studio album Idea Beautiful was heavily shaped by her travels to South Africa. The cover was shot there. The two girls on the cover are from Soweto—a place she felt at home. It was connecting with the girls as a role model that she reminded her of the power of music and words.

"You have a responsibility that's bigger than yourself," she says. "You can be born naturally talented but to be great you need to infuse some work ethic into it you know?"

Just as Rapsody feels a responsibility to the women and girls in her life, Uber is working to build communities for women within its company. "Women of Uber" is the name of an initiative that promotes the advancement of women in the company, accelerating professional development, and partnering across the company to attract & retain top talent—a major step toward increasing the representation of women in leadership roles at Uber globally.

The progress of Rapsody's career is evident in a studio full of production equipment, art—the things necessary for sustaining a creative life. When she's recording, she says, she basically lives in the studio until the project is done.

"I remember when we moved into this studio we didn't have anything but two beanbags and this desk. And now we've got plaques and Grammy awards. Just to see the journey and growth I'm super proud."

Video Credits:

Director: Brittany "B Monét" Fennell
Producer: Ayana Barber
Producer: Oyinkan Olojede
Editor: Morgan Riles
Director Of Photography: Ragland Media
Sound Mixer: Matthew Smith

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The 20 Best Nigerian Songs of 2019

Featuring Burna Boy, Rema, Tiwa Savage, Zlatan, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Teni, Davido, Lady Donli and many more.

2019 was another huge year for Nigerian music.

Zlatan's presence was ubiquitous and powered by the zeal for zanku, a dance which is now de rigueur. Rema led the charge for a group of young breakthrough artists that include Fireboy DML and Joeboy. They all represent an exciting crop of talents that point the way forward for Nigerian pop.

Burna Boy's new dominance, built around his excellent African Giant album, delivered on his rare talents, while the long wait for Davido's sophomore album, A Good Time, paid off in satisfying fashion. Simi's Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 announced her departure from her longterm label. Tiwa Savage also made a highly-discussed move from Mavin Records to Universal Music Group. Meanwhile, Yemi Alade exuded female strength with her latest record, Woman of Steel.

Not to be left out, Wizkid sated demands for his fourth album with a new collaborative EP following a year of stellar features that included his presence on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift, an album which also boasts Tekno, Mr Eazi and Tiwa Savage. Mr Eazi also notably launched his emPawa initiative to help fund Africa's promising up-and-coming artists.

Asa returned in a formidable form with Lucid, while buzzing artists like Tay Iwar, Santi, and Lady Donli all shared notable releases. Lastly, the beef between Vector and M.I climaxed and sparked a resurgence of Nigerian rap releases from Phyno to Ycee, PsychoYP and more.

Read on for the best Nigerian songs of 2019. Listed in no particular order. —Sabo Kpade

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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