“I don’t speak in music the same way as producers; I’m still trying to learn their language,” she told Ambrosia For Heads founder Reggie Williams. She said that when she was trying to gain inspiration for the album, she compiled a playlist of songs and gave it to 9th Wonder so they could both figure out her sound. She included songs from Mama’s Gun, like “Time’s A Wastin’” and “A.D. 2000,” what she refers to as, “Soulful, storytelling joints,” tapping Terrace Martin to create a bigger, updated sound. “We just gave it a facelift, and made it us.”
Many have called Laila’s Wisdom a modern day hip-hop version of Mama’s Gun. “People ask me, if I had to pick one album that’s my favorite of all time, that’s one of ’em,” Rapsody said of Badu’s album. “I listen to that album so much at night and it goes through so many different emotions for me… that’s kinda how we wanted to mirror it. Even with the title of the project. Mama’s Gun inspired it. It’s short and sweet, but it says a lot.”
Also included in Rapsody’s playlist were songs from To Pimp A Butterfly, Jay Z’s Black Album, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Rapsody is nominated for two awards at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which take place on Sunday. While she’s been nominated for a Grammy in the past—for her feature on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly—she is a contender for Best Song for “Sassy,” and is the only woman in the Best Rap Album category, competing alongside Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Migos, and Tyler, The Creator.