;"I tell Ali every morning: ‘You're blowing up, son,'" Psalm One, the lone female rapper in the Rhymesayers tour van, shouts out loud enough for headliner and labelmate Brother Ali to hear. "I'm always the only damn girl in the van. It's the best. The testosterone. The smells."

;;Psalm One's debut album, Death of the Frequent Flyer, made a strong showing last year, with its no-frills femcee/Windy City-representer steelo. Ali and Psalm One have a history together that started five years ago while Psalm, 26, was still a student at the University of Illinois.


;"He was opening up for Atmosphere at a show at my school," she says, "and I went up to him during sound check. He remembered me from a previous performance and I played him some music and basically we just went from there. It was pretty organic. There was nothing about our first meeting that led me to think I would be in this van right now."


;Ali and Psalm went in the studio and recorded a song ("Stand By") together in 2003 that landed on her LP; in the song, the two are complaining about being left hanging at an airport. Psalm calls one of the airline attendants a "honey-roasted peanut-eating fetus" and tells the airline people who ostensibly are making her and Ali wait that they're about to turn "simple wisecrackers into hijackers."


; "Ali was excited about our song," says Psalm. "He told Sadiq [CEO of Rhymesayers], ‘You should really pay more attention to her. She might be somebody we can use on our team.'" A song she did with Casual from the Hieroglyphics made the executives at Rhymesayers take notice again, and in 2005, "out of the blue" they offered her a deal.


; "They said I was too ugly, so they told me I had to lose a bunch of weight," she laughs. "Nah, just kidding. The next album I'm definitely going to emphasize more that I'm a girl. This first album was more like, ‘Look, I'm an MC first' and with this next album, hopefully I will be able to show more of my personality, including the part of me that likes dresses."

; [email protected]


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