"The Living," a standout track off The Death Of Frequent Flyer, maps the contours of Psalm One's life just before she made the leap from chemist-by-day/B-girl-by-night to full-time rapper. The tension between making a living and following a muse is a familiar one in underground rap, but the devilish details belong solely to Psalm One: showing up at a gig still dressed in work clothes reeking of chemicals, the boss jibber-jabbering about reality shows, and "sweatpants holey from the hydrochloric."
A rapper supremely at ease with her idiosyncrasies, Psalm One delivers a brutally funny verbal smackdown of female rappers trading on their looks over ridiculously lush production with "Rapper Girls," admonishing lyrically challenged hood-rats to leave rap alone "and practice your pole dance." But that witty vivisection doesn't keep her from exploring her own sexuality on decadently lubricious tracks like "Macaroni And Cheese." "The Nine," meanwhile, filters her rocky adolescent psychology through her experiences on the not-so-wacky world of public transit over smoky horns and a dark, intimate groove.
Psalm One is intent on forging her own path through rap, largely eschewing guest rappers (with the exception of Thaione Davis and the always-formidable Brother Ali) and exploring a vein of complicated, grown-up sensuality as uncompromising and aggressive as her ingratiating B-girl swagger. Flyer loses some of its laconic, conversational charm in its weaker second half, but the album still serves notice that the great Chicago hip-hop explosion of '06 has officially gone co-ed.