Hailing from the southside of the Windy City, Rhymesayers’ newest recruit is a feisty b-girl with a b-boy sensibility. “I’ve battled a lot of people,” says Psalm One in a phone interview, “and people think that if you have a vagina you’ve got to work three times harder. But I don’t care. I love a challenge.”
Having already purveyed the dog-eat-dog world of college Chemistry—she holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois in this discipline—Psalm doesn’t speak lightly.
“I’ve always wanted to be a scientist,” she notes. “But I can always go back to that when I’m like 60 or 70. I can’t really do rap then.” But rap is something that she does now, and she does it well. As she says, “I was writing for a year before I came out for anybody, but once I did people were saying how good I was and told me to keep doing it. I’m glad I did.”
During college Psalm found time to record her debut Bio: Chemistry. The album showcased her powerful and clever word flow and delivery. It also led to an extensive touring schedule, as she opened up for such artists as Atmosphere, De La Soul, Jean Grae, Prince Paul, and more. Appearing on the Van’s Warped Tour and being named one of URB magazine’s Next 100 further expanded her reach.
But Psalm took all the hoopla in stride and continued to craft music of her heart and hood. “There’s so much genius on every corner,” she says of her hometown.
This notoriety led to a number of musical collaborations, (which you can hear on her mixtape series Get On The Bus). One of those collabo’s came from Minneapolis’s own resident albino, Brother Ali. “Ali took that track to Rhymesayers,” she says, “and they got on board with me.” She then adds, “They’re great. I’m treated me like the little sister of the crew.”
Her debut for the auspicious label, The Death of Frequent Flyer, features production from her pal Overflo and a guest spot by Ali. It also features guest spots from Glue’s DJDQ. The album has garnered critical acclaim, and not just because Psalm is the only female artist on the renowned label, but because it’s good. Tight rhymes encompassed by hot tracks, the best of which include her personal fave “Macaroni and Cheese,” and the cautionary tale “Rap Star.”
Not one to sleep, however, Psalm, who has 10 years of experience playing drums and also plays piano and saxophone, says she’d love to do something with a live band one day. “I know some incredible musicians,” she muses, “but getting them together is not an easy task. And it’s not something I’m going to force.”
Psalm also said she’d love to collaborate with fellow Chicago native Shawnna. Though they’ve taken differing career paths, (Shawnna is a Top 40 artist who is part of Atlanta native Ludacris’ DTP crew), the song could be one of the genres best pairings.
Get caught up on your chemistry lessons when Psalm comes to town with Brother Ali and Boom Bap Project on June 5th, at the Bluebird Theater.