She came, she conquered, she slayed.
After announcing the release of her forthcoming album EVE, Rapsody pleased students of the hip-hop game with “IBTIHAJ,” a solid tribute to self-love and the building blocks of hip-hop. Released Friday (Aug. 2), the visual does a service to both old school and new with the help of creative director and style icon Misa Hylton. Young Muslim women in designer hijabs float around the streets of Harlem as bystanders catch a glimpse of true black girl magic in action.
Produced by 9th Wonder, the track also features GZA and appreciated vocals from D’Angelo. The soul singer takes GZA’s “Liquid Swords” sample and truly makes it his own. “IBTIHAJ” and the Jay Scorsese video reminds us of Rapsody’s ability to release the perfect amount of black girl magic into the world.
Check out our favorite moments of black girl magic in “IBTIHAJ” below.
1. An Ode To The Wavy Powers That Be
Part of Rap’s BGM is showing love to everyone, including the hot boys. Before D’Angelo sings the chorus, Rapsody throws a few compliments to the wavy ones. The love was definitely felt back with Anthony Adams making a hilarious video to the track.
2. Easy Breezy Beautiful Hijabs
Part of what makes Rap’s video so captivating are the many women rocking stylish hijabs in confidence. There’s also female bike rider Ms. Paris showing off her incredible skills on the streets of Harlem.
3. A Tribute To Ibtihaj Muhammad
Each track off EVE is named after a woman Rapsody admires. “IBTIHAJ” is named after Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic fencing bronze medalist who made history as the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab while representing the United States at the Olympics.
Rapsody also shared information about The Peter Westbrook Foundation. The nonprofit uses the sport of fencing to enrich the lives of young people from underserved communities in New York. Founded in 1991 by legendary sabre fencer and Olympic bronze medalist Peter Westbrook, the organization has served over 4,000 students.
4. Mary J. Blige’s Auntie Dance
With Ms. Hylton acting as creative director, it’s only right that her early muses like Mary J. Blige make a cameo. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul brings out her iconic dances while supporting Rapsody. What a moment!
5. Roxanne Shante Rightfully Rocks Her Crown
“The stories behind the songs on EVE are inspiring, and I wanted to do my part in celebrating these women in the best way I know how,” Rapsody said in a statement about the song. “I want to not only help tell these stories but help further each woman’s legacy and spark curiosity in people to learn more about them.” Part of that is giving the women on the rap game like Roxanne Shante her flowers and then some.
As the first lady of rap, the Queensbridge native created the art of the diss track and even helped shape other icons like Nas and Biz Markie.
6. A Lesson In Wu-Tang History
Rapsody is a true student of the game. Along with the “Liquid Swords” sample and its interpolation (Groovin’ by Willie Mitchell), the track also features the one and only GZA. The legendary emcee brings his sharp pen (When I’m so off the radar, it’s very hard to find me In space, a selfie with the Earth behind me) and the power of rap (An MC should electrify, beautify, strive to Empower, inspire, transform a world view).
7. Misa Hylton Brim’s Keeps The Drip At An All-Time High
Misa Hylton is responsible for some of the most iconic looks in hip-hop (Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, Mary J Blige), so it makes sense for her to serve as the creative director for “IBTIHAJ’s” visuals. Earlier this year, Hylton was announced as MCM’s global creative partner. Her work with the luxury brand is seen all over “IBTIHAJ,” from Rapsody’s MCM decked car to her other regal looks in the video.
Speaking with The Daily Front Row, Hylton highlighted her legendary career, which dates back to the early days at Uptown Records in the 90s.
“I’ve always been a creator. I love fashion, I love music, I love hip-hop, I love wardrobe — that was my natural gift. I was styling my friends, I was styling my family, anybody,” she said. While dating Sean “Diddy” Combs, the designer had a chance to show off her work by styling MJB and Jodeci.
“This is not an easy business to navigate. I decided that I wanted to go ahead and get certified because it was time — it was just a calling for me,” she said after her work with hip-hop’s elite began to take off. “My philosophy is that we have the ability to create the life that we desire. It’s a passion to help people through challenges and roadblocks and help them achieve their goals.”
8. D’ Angelo’s Deep Vocals Keeps “IBTIHAJ” Legendary
D’Angelo’s collaborations are rare, especially in recent years. It’s a true gift to hear the crooner on the track and using the style that made his previous project Black Messiah so memorable.
9. Prayers And Awareness For Sudan
Women made up a majority of the Sudan revolution against Omar al-Bashir, whose 30-year reign ended in April. As many women fought against the political regime, the military took power leading to the deaths of thousands of people. Many are still calling for a civilian administration, despite the lack of support from the media. Rapsody informs us that the people of Sudan are still fighting for freedom and justice.