Audra The Rapper has been planting her seeds in the rap game for a few years and now her EP Retrospectrum has finally arrived. The meaning of the project title unravels as each song plays out and it becomes clear through her lyrics that Audra is taking time to reflect while also being straightforward with her message. Through smoky whispers and intricate instrumentals, she claims her space as a lyricist who has no plans for all of her hard work to be done in vain. After a listen to the EP it's obvious that Audra has layers. She's a boss, she's self-aware and absolutely not willing to budge in her confidence.
Retrospectrum has six tracks, three of which include features by artists Satasha, Abir and Alex Wiley—collaborations that all compliment her sound. Make no mistake for Audra's tiny voice as something small, in just a few songs she's found the sweet balance in her laid back but strong approach. Stream it below and read her track by track breakdown, as well:
"No.Body": Probably the most honest thing I've ever done. 100 percent representative of where I was mentally and emotionally when I worked with Slim on this record. Around that time, I was going through a lot emotionally that was new for me. I was seeing this producer that's kinda known, but it really wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't getting anything out of it.. except a couple new highs. I remember going up to Jungle City while Timbaland was working on Magna Carta Holy Grail and playing him this track after I first recorded it.. and I remember him listening to this first verse and being like "It's obvious you like to be in control... how you gonna be so hard on a soft track?' and all I kept thinking was damn, maybe I don't know how to be 'soft."
When I linked up with the producer of this track, FameSchool Slim we vibed immediately. He's kinda the type to just roll with whatever I was feeling sonically and never question the direction. I played him some joints that I had on repeat by different artist at that time and I kinda said something along the lines of, "If you had to make a beat that resembled a color. I want this one to be blue." "No.body" is the first record we ever knocked out together. I had a few of my girls in his studio with us and we turned the lights off and just had the red light from the booth on and just vibed out. So with dude on my mind, the record came to be. As this song was going through different versions and mixes, I sent it to him but he never caught on. He just critique it from a creative standpoint.. Slim and I actually did a few other records that were inspired by those feelings but I'm debating putting those out.
“China.Bus": At one point of working on this EP, I couldn't escape the coverage on the war going on between Israel and Palestine. I started following this doctor in Gaza on Twitter and really started seeing the shit that wasn't put in front of me and how fucked up things really are. I remember going through his timeline when I was on the China bus back home and it just put me in a place where I began questioning the things that really matter and even beyond that, how to voice it. For me, the most calming thing on sweet baby Krishna's green Earth that I can do is take that 7 hour ride back home to Richmond on the China Bus. Something about those pee-stained seats and the kimchi aroma that centers me. The record came together right there.
I got this beat from my dude Carlos whose produced most of my records over the last few years under the name “Closer.” He's actually this really dope kid from Venice Beach that's still in high school. So when I was in LA, I would wait for him to get out of class and then go to his house and listen to his ridiculous inventory of beats.
“These Walls”: Alex and I met a few years back at A3C in ATL and it's been love since. We got in the studio and cut this record when he was in NYC for a show. “These Walls” is just about paying homage to the grind and all the hidden and kept struggles that aren't showcased but exist behind closed doors...and the push to brush it all off and keep going. First four bars of the record is real talk. I dead ass used to sneak in the kitchen and put foil on the antenna so I could get MTV to come through the white noise on the screen. And when I was like 13, I taught myself how to use this shitty recording software called Wavepad and I would have friends come over after school and I would record songs in the closet, burn them to CD, then take them to school and play over the intercom.
“Flagrant": That line I wrote for the hook is my mantra. To bring it to life I snagged my girl Satasha who is a dope vocalist I met in college at ODU. While Slimmy was making the beat for some reason I just kept hearing Biggie's voice over it and the pieces fell together. We shot a video to this on some Reservoir Dogs type shit.
“Pimpn”: That line was so cold when Pusha T dropped it in “Blocka” I just had to do something with it. Good energy between me and Slim brought this to existence. This track pretty self explanatory—Bars, a beat that goes crazy at shows, bars, Pusha swaggin all through the hook, and bars.
"What If": The true definition of Ratchet Soul. This beat feeds my spirit. It hard for me to come off real angry in songs but this might be as close as it gets at least for this EP. “What If” is just me airing out grievances and coming clean with a couple observations. On everything from religion. To industry niggas and labels selling dreams. To how Richmond trained my outlook. Teamed up with my close friend and one of my favorite vocalists Abir Haronni to write this and I just remember sitting with her in my room with the beat on repeat for hours just discussing life and asking each other questions we don't have the answers to.
The song was going to be about love at first...but at that point when I was working on this record... I would have been perpetrating to even speak on it.