Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Sep 11, 2013
Originally published on February 13, 2014 1:06 pm

Our September edition of Heavy Rotation features an African legend, an indie-folk orchestra from Portland, and a French band ready to catch on in America. But first, our panelists:

  • David Dye, host of WXPN's World Cafe
  • Anne Litt, a host on KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Kevin Cole, program director at KEXP in Seattle
  • Matt Reilly, program director at KUTX in Austin
  • Carmel Holt, assistant music director at WFUV in New York
  • Jessi Whitten, music director of Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir
  • Ms. Florida, host of WEAA's Strictly Hip-Hop in Baltimore
  • Vicky Gregor, music director of KRCC in Southern Colorado
  • Kim Ruehl, blogger for FolkAlley.com
  • Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR Music producer
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Time now for our music series, Heavy Rotation. Every month, NPR Music asks Public Radio personalities at our member stations across the country to tell U.S. about a song they cannot stop playing. And we invite one of them to share their pick here on MORNING EDITION. This month's selection brings U.S. music from a hip-hop artist named Rapsody.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) They couldn't stop me and now they're stuck underneath me. I took a leap of faith and I climbed up easy. Rap-so-deezy and Eric Jones, I Gotham City. I save ya all from the bad rappers in your city...

INSKEEP: The song also features D.C.-based rapper Wole. It was chosen by the host of the show Strictly Hip-Hop at member station WEAA.

JASMINE FLORIDA HENDERSON, BYLINE: My name is Florida, that's my DJ name. My real name is Jasmine Henderson. I'm from Strictly Hip-Hop, located in the Baltimore, Maryland.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) Dark nights been cold like night veins, serves (unintelligible) and chills, I'm ill like Mike Caine...

HENDERSON: The way the song starts off, she just basically lets you know that she's about the business.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) I'm lyrically Bruce Wayne. Pain, I felt it...

HENDERSON: The song is called "Dark Knights," and she mentions Bruce Wayne, the Bain reference from the Batman movie. And this is a good example of hip-hop being diverse and offering different subject matters from different artists.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) Beats with Bs, we rep honesty. My history, Cherokee and its African. The blue cinnamon, every bit of the black and him embrace and heritage, capitalize like...

HENDERSON: I love this song. It was a breath of fresh air, honestly. There are not a lot of female MCs that are being played on commercial radio. Women are perceived to have to show skin or, you know, have to be somewhat explicit with their lyrics - and that does not have to be the case. With Rapsody, she's been around for a long time and also she has been seen as one of the up-and-coming female lyricist of this generation.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) The Idi Amin of all of these idiots mean I know toe to toe go with the best that they throwing the ring. Seen lot of despair, pair me with none of them things. To let feeds only dance to the beats with Bs. We rep honesty. My history, Cherokee and its African...

HENDERSON: Samples are used within hip-hop to show the connection between past and present. And with this particular example, because it is a female, it shows the connection and Rapsody paying, I believe, tribute to the females have come before her. The beat to me didn't fit at first. But then as a song progressed, then I understood where she was going with the concept.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) And Benedict to ourselves, to deplenish(ph) all our wealth. Never blame a man for misfortune, do it yourself. Never blame a man for misfortune, do it yourself. Never blame a man for misfortune, do it yourself.

HENDERSON: She pretty much sums it up. You know, you have to be held accountable for what you do. And also, you know, just keep pushing forward 'cause you're going to make it as long as you put in the hard work, dedication and the time. You can get into the song. And not only that the production is easy on the ears, so it's an enjoyable track to listen to from beginning to end.


RAPSODY: (Rapping) Though I've been broke like pieces of soap tasted to cleanse my soul. (Unintelligible) Ra's al Ghul protege, I've been cold as Jay on "3 Kings," get schooled. I am the 5'3" Morgan free flow genius. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.