When the MCs Came to Live Out Their Name…

Originally written by Mike Smith lead contributor for Eshkoshka.com, Creator of Source & Co. and Co-host of The Sports Bar Podcast.

Hip hop is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes the beauty is obvious and recognizable to all, if they choose to pay attention to it.

Other times the beauty is layered, less on the surface, and may take some thought.

In both instances I mentioned above, it is subjective.

Not everyone is going to love everything the same. And not everyone is going to care about what someone else finds beauty in.

That goes for more than just hip hop. That’s life.

All that said, I enjoy sharing my take on things. And fairly often, I think that folks don’t necessarily catch (or care about) the dopeness in a rap verse, a punchline, or a concept.

This may be one of those times where folks recognize it but don’t find it to be dope. Or maybe they just don’t see it at all.

But in my opinion, it’s right there.

Grammy nominated hip hop artist, Rapsody, released a new song last week.

“Ibtihaj” is the lead single from Rap’s forthcoming album entitled “Eve”, set for release in a little over two weeks.

The song’s title is a shoutout to United States fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a bronze medal with her team in the 2016 Olympics; all while being scrutinized for wearing a hijab. Muhammad was and is a trailblazer in American history, more specifically the Muslim-American history.

She was/is the first Muslim-American to medal for the U.S in an Olympics. And she was the first athlete to represent to United States in competition while wearing a hijab.


The 9th Wonder produced track is heavily influenced by “Liquid Swords” which was the single and album title of GZA’s 1995 classic.

So let’s all recognize what we have here:

We have a song named after a woman who made history using a ‘sword’ of sorts;

We have a track reminiscent of a hip hop classic that has the word ‘sword’ in the song title;

And we have a moment of paying homage to the original song by having a guest appearance by GZA on the joint.

Then you add in a hook from the rarely heard, rarely seen D’Angelo?

Still not convinced? Here’s the video:

Are you not entertained?!?!?!?!?!?

I am. This song is love on multiple levels.

And on some unrelated stuff……

Have I ever mentioned that Rapsody and I both guest appeared on the same song back in like ’07?

What about the fact that I went to high school with D’Angelo?

Oh, I’ve said that before? Both of those facts? Are you sure? Oh, my bad.

Anyway, salute to all involved in creating this heatrock for the masses.

Rap, 9th, GZA, Ibtihaj, Jamla, Roc Nation, errrrbody.



sn: For more on Ibtihaj Muhammad, check out her recent appearance on Jemele Hill podcast.

2 thoughts on “When the MCs Came to Live Out Their Name…

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