If You Like: Mick Jenkins, Dej Loaf
Since the 2010s, female rappers have had a surge of growth and popularity in mainstream hip hop. It was the decade women who began the long journey into taking back the throne. A far cry from the 90s women rappers we’ve come to love, 2010 saw the explosion of today’s biggest hitmakers. From City Girls to Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, the list goes on with each woman being unique in their own way. Among them is a Philadelphia-based rapper, poet, and producer who tends to blur the lines of what’s soul and rap.
Taylor McLendon, known musically as Ivy Sole, grew up in North Carolina but moved to Philadelphia to pursue college. It was in 2016 when Ivy Sole began her professional solo music career. Ivy Sole’s debut mixtape, Eden, was released in 2016 and launched the rapper’s career. Ivy Sole’s music tackled issues related to mental health and culture. Her rhythms and soul attacking production made her steps ahead of the competition. The mixtape featured a fresh new take on classic hip hop and R&B songs. Everything comes together on Eden in a well-wrapped gift Ivy Sole is nice enough to give us. The project was well-received by music critics and allowed the lights to shine Ivy.
McLendon followed up Eden with her 2017 EPs, West and East. In 2018, Ivy Sole released her debut album, Overgrown. Here we are confronted with a more well-rounded Ivy Sole. A few years out from her mixtape, Taylor McLendon knows her purpose. The project is infused with battles of soul and forward-thinking rap. From racial injustices to love connections, Ivy Sole bears it all.
Last year the rapper released her EP Southpaw. A more personal in-your-face project, Ivy Sole still retains her signature neo-soul rap style. Fitting right in with the gritty Philadelphia rap style, Taylor McLendon still manages to stand out amongst the crowd. Fresh off the release of her new single, “Out of Touch” with Planet Gaza, Ivy Sole is moving carefully through a scene known for its gatekeeping. Taylor McLendon isn’t here to be the best woman rapper, she’s here to be a genre-defining artist.