Chicago's own Cristalle Bowen began her career nearly a decade ago with the vaunted Rhymesayers collective out of Minneapolis and has since become one of the most successful names on their roster. But next month at their 20th anniversary reunion show, she will be nowhere to be seen. That's because the artist better known as Psalm One was excluded from the 29-act bill which was unveiled over the weekend.
Having recently released her latest full-length in P.O.L.Y., Psalm has been on a run over the last two years that has seen her release several critically-acclaimed projects, open up to the public via her music and tour the world in the process while creating an aesthetic for herself and those around her that is at once caring and progressive. It's seems odd then that a forward-thinking label such as Rhymesayers which has long been a proponent of artists who speak their mind unabashedly would not want to celebrate an act like Psalm. In an interview that ran today with Minneapolis' City Pages, she goes into the details of the exclusion further, explaining that she often felt somewhat marginalized by the label after the passing of Eyedea. Having been on the label since 2006, Psalm has released only one official album under the imprint, The Death of Frequent Flyer, and has since gone to releasing music the Chicago way: independently while also helping to create one of the more exciting and fun new acts in The Rapper Chicks with Angelenah and Fluffy.
While the exclusion from the upcoming event at the Target Center surely hurts the Chicago MC, she’s not sweating it much. While Rhymesayers decision to not invite their most successful female act is a questionable one Psalm has continued to push forward in stoking the flames of creativity in her hometown as she does her part to continue building this thing that many have referred to as a renaissance. One that she was at the beginning of and continues to play a large part in as both a rapper, teacher and mentor. So whatever, Rhymesayers obviously didn’t know what they’re missing out on and I’m sure we’ll be hearing something new from Psalm very soon.