Psalm One
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Psalm One

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Alternative


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Psalm One @ Subterranean

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Chicago, IL – The submissions have been viewed, the judges have deliberated, and the long awaited decision has been made. Psalm One was announced today as the Grand Prize Winner of the Chicago Public Library’s CHIPUBLIB Sound Off music contest.

Chicagoans can hear Psalm One’s Grand Prize-winning submission, “My Bucket Song,” along with a set of her other music, live at the CHIPUBLIB Sound Off concert at Pritzker Park, located at 344 S. State Street across from the Harold Washington Library Center, on Thursday October 22nd; doors open at 5 p.m. and admission is free.

“Being in Chicago inspires me, and it makes me proud to be chosen to represent the city in my own special way,” says Psalm One of her being chosen as the winner. As a self proclaimed “Chicago Girl,” Psalm One, also known as Cristalle Bowen was born and raised in the city, attending the University of Illinois, and currently residing in ­­­­­­­­­­­Wicker Park. “I traverse the city every day, from Rogers Park to Ogden Park to Wicker Park, and all points in between. I wanted to capture the spirit of Chicago with my song,” says Psalm One.

Psalm One’s musical submission “My Bucket Song,” stood out among the dozens of entries submitted by local musicians. The entries crossed all musical genres, from Hip Hop and Rock to Blues and Pop, from acoustic guitars to mandolins. “Psalm One’s, ‘My Bucket Song,’ a shoulder-shaking salute to her hometown of Chicago, stood out among the surprisingly creative and talented submissions to the Chicago Public Library’s ‘Sound Off’ contest,” says judge Chris Force. “The applicants ranged in age and approach. Two recent high school graduates submitted a startlingly sincere goodbye song titled ‘Beddy Bye,’ while veteran musicians Opportunity School entered the song, ‘Wicker Park,’ a more traditional love song. It was great to see the variety in the submissions.”

The inspiration behind “My Bucket Song” was one of love and leaving. “I took a brief leave of absence from Chicago in 2008 to pursue musical endeavors in San Francisco, California, but returned in June of this year and was elated to be back,” says Psalm One. “I missed Chicago like a long-distance lover and I think Chicago missed me too! Ethan Stoller and Kaotic Drumline provided me with the perfect backdrop to write a song about loving, leaving and returning home.”

Psalm One will headline the event opened by the People’s Choice Award Winner Shawn Pennington with “Doors Closing”. Decided by voters online, Pennington’s Chicago composition placed first out of the nearly 11,000 votes received. “I’ve been interested in music since I was seventeen,” says Pennington. “We’re feeling great about getting the chance to perform.”

Also in attendance at the concert will be the Chicago Public Library judging panel that includes music & culture critic Jessica Hopper, Alarm Magazine’s Chris Force, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian Matthew Genthe, and Hip Hop song writer and artist Rhymefest. Attendees can also sign up for a library card, which gives them access to the large catalog of free music the library offers, such as CD’s, performance DVD’s, music downloads, and sheet music.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Chicago to see one its own singing about the city we all live in and love,” says Ruth Lednicer, CPL’s Director of Marketing. “It’s going to be a wonderful night.”

- Chicago Independent Music Review

On her Rhymesayers debut, former chemist Psalm One lets it be known that as an MC, she's more than just "good for a girl." While her rhymes do transcend gender lines, on cuts like "Rapper Girls"-in which scantily clad female MCs get the boot-she addresses issues most male MCs won't. With a steady supply of soulful, sample-driven productions from fellow Chicagoans Overflo, Thaione Davis, and others, Psalm delivers an up-close look into her complex personality and intriguing opinions. If she can only sharpen her hook writing (see the sloppy chorus on "Rap Star") she‘ll be an even more versatile talent"

At one time, Canibus was the next coming of the lyrical messiah. In the mid ’90s, he was the guest that everyone wanted on their tracks. He scored classic verses for Common, Lost Boyz and of course the infamous LL Cool J appearance. The expectations for his first album was extremely high, perhaps too high. While Can-I-Bus had some moments, it was viewed as a disappointment by the masses. The knock on that album was the lyrics didn’t make up for the lackluster beats. This has been the common perception on Canibus throughout his career, even though he does enjoy a cult-like following. Going on studio album number nine, Canibus releases Melatonin Magik. While Canibus has the potential to drop a classic, he always seems to come up short. Will Melatonin Magik change that?

The album kicks off with the title track, which finds ‘Bis coming in his patented aggressive style on the mic. Over a triumphant sounding beat, he lets it all loose. Canibus shines the best on tracks where things get switched up a bit. On “Kriminal Kidness” Canibus flows over a driving piano sample and a rolling bass line. It’s a track that shows what Canibus is capable of. “Ripperland” might just be the standout track on the album. Again, it features a different beat than found on the majority album and is one of the few times that Canibus switches things up on the mic. He adapts his flow and tone to accompany the mellow and somber beat. The song also features Chi-town female emcee, Psalm One, who almost steals the show.

Psalm One has been pretty quiet since 2006's The Death of Frequent Flyer (Rhymesayers). That makes her an oddity at a time when other MCs seem to release new material every week—a situation that's created such a glut of music online that an artist can be the hot new shit one month and a has-been the next. But the former chemist is a pretty unforgettable personality, straddling the line between backpacker and street rapper and earning her audience without stooping to Lil' Kim-style sexploitation, so maybe she doesn't have to worry about shelf life quite as much as the average MC. It's good to have her back, and the time away doesn't seem to have dulled her skills. On "Metro Puppy Love" she boasts about what a badass she is, gives women advice on playing with dudes' minds, and gets loopily autobiographical—"I'm terrible / You know I'm so flaky / Croissant-style / Taters with the gravy." (She's the rare rapper who pronounces croissant the proper French way.) And check out the way she goes in on the organ-heavy beat to Drake's "Uptown"—she tackles the song with a laid-back drawl that sounds like she isn't even sweating it. - Chicago Reader

As a warm-up for her early-2011 album for Rhymesayers, south-side MC Psalm One is releasing a new ten-song EP produced by MP, Earmint, Fluffy, and her bad self. Nine tracks from Woman at Work Vol. 1 will be free to download from on May 1; a tenth, the single "Better Than My Last," is already streaming free and downloadable for $1. Speaking to Gossip Wolf, Psalm said she's completed tracks for the just-released DJ Jay Illa mixtape Return of the Backpacks 2. She also has a cameo on the recent Canibus album Melatonin Magik.

- Chicago Reader

Woman at Work’ is the aptly titled new EP that is promotional only from Chicago’s Lady of Rap Psalm One.

Signed to Rhymesayers - home of Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Doom, Freeway and others. Psalm has been down with Rhymesayers since 2005. In fact- I remember bumping into JBird at MIDEM when he told me they had signed a female MC. Of course I was super excited. The first full length on Rhymesayers dropped in ‘05 called ‘Death of Frequent Flyer’ -received critical acclaim but floated around in obscurity. She toured a bit, moved to San Francisco got down with the Heiroglyphics crew and remained working and collaborating with Casual, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien.

Now back in Chi-Town and excited about her future. She plans on dropping 3 promotional ‘Woman at Work’ EP’s to create the buzz and build up for the as yet untitled 2nd commercial full length available Spring 2011! Expect some great features on this project.. In the meantime- the first ‘Woman at Work’ is available as a free download on Psalm One soon!

I caught up with Psalm on the phone. She wants her fans to know she’s always been ‘at work’- when asked the inspiration behind the title “You see these construction sites saying Men at Work, well I’m a Woman at Work“.

She continues to say “It has been exhilarating and mesmerizing, but these days… it’s more difficult than ever.

I was a chemist when Rhymesayers offered me the deal of a lifetime. I took the deal, and I have no regrets, but I had no idea what I was getting into. I work with some of the best in hip-hop, and they respect me and tell me they are fans of my music, yet when *the* roster is announced, my name usually isn’t on it.
There is a glass ceiling in every realm of life, and I’m working to break through mine. So here I am, a Woman at Work.”

Girl I recognize your struggle! All us women do!

Here’s the first single “Better Than My Last” - let us know what you think!

- iHip Hop - Fiona Bloom


Single - "Ginsu Knives" featuring Del
Single - "Woman at Work"
Single - "Better Than The Last
Single - "My Bucket Song"
Single - "Beat the Drum"

Streaming tracks and radio play- "Ginsu Knives"
"Woman at Work"

EPs - "Woman at Work" Volume 1-3, "Get in The Van" Part I & II
LPs - "The Death of Frequent Flyer" Rhymesayers Ent.
"Bio:Chemistry II" released by Birthwrite Records.



Psalm One isn't trying to be your favorite female rapper. She's just trying to be your favorite. She's brings all kinds of goodies to the table. She's sonically soulful, artistic, witty and lyrically unparalleled. Her influences include Stevie Wonder, Fionna Apple, Prince and MC Lyte. She is accompanied onstage by her BFF, Fluffy who handles the gear and the crowd.