Straight out of Chicago comes Psalm One, chemist turned rapper, emcee extraordinaire, and now the only woman with a Rhyme Sayers contract. What's most refreshing is that she's raged out of the windy city and onto the international scene without relying on backstage producers or enacting nymphomaniac teen-jerkoff fantasies.
"It should be about the music," she says. "I mean, we all know I'm a sexy bitch. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to look good. But it shouldn't center around that."
The female emcee has shared the stage with everyone from 50 Cent to MF Doom, and is featured within the jealously guarded ranks of URB's Next 100. It's hard to find her albums at the record store or hear them outside of college radio, but that doesn't mean she's not exploding into the scene, a favourite among fans and contemporaries alike.
It's not hard to understand why. The woman is smooth. Her ventures into personal pain are dripping with bluster and peppered with rapid-fire rhetoric. Psalm One has no reservations about challenging her contemporaries to step up to the bar. And she sets it high.
She's been widely praised for her most recent album, The Death of Frequent Flyer. Rapping about her life with touching honesty, and just enough sarcasm to keep the edge bloody, her raw skill and rock-solid production make the album an exuberant and cynical rip that dances between genres and comes out thick and satisfying.
Promising as it is now, her career started off in an unlikely place. After doing some minor recording while studying chemistry, Psalm One had a brief stint in the food safety industry before deciding to dedicate herself full-time to her music.
"I graduated from chem and just got the fever to try that thing out full time." She says, lending to her words a hint of Slick-Rick-early-ninties-rap-drawl. "It's been tough. It keeps me up at night. Anything you love should."
From the uncommon honesty in her lyrics it's obvious that it has indeed been tough. Despite this, Psalm One has managed to keep her sense of humor and come out on top of the game ready for more.
"All these experiences, they really make me appreciate everything I have," she says. " They make me want to be the absolute best that I can."