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7 May, 2013@7:05 am

Hip hop’s golden age began in 1986, the day Rakim stepped to a microphone to record “Eric B Is President.” Only 18 years old (though he sounded considerably more worldly), Rakim (real name William Griffin) had a smooth, effortless flow that brought a cool melodicism and high intelligence to the MC game—he gave both fire and ice, set within the wiry frame of his serious features. Even those who didn’t get the Five Percenter reference wouldn’t have bridled at his nickname, God. His partnership with his DJ, Eric B, yielded four great albums and numerous classic singles before Rakim split for a solo career. Despite initial success with 1997’s The 18th Letter, he endured several frustratingly fruitless years signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath, working on an album that never came. Now Rakim back in his native New York, the city where his immense influence is most clearly audible, notably in other NYC wordsmiths such as Nas. As recently as 2012, The Source named him the greatest MC of all time.

Lecture: Rakim (New York 2013) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

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2 Responses to "Red Bull Music Academy: Rakim (1 hr, 47 Min)"
  • John Doe says:

    fascinating stuff

  • Dayz says:

    One of the best and certainly one of my most favorite MCs ever… But… His last LP was wack and he personally dissed my people and I when he didn’t show up for a show at a local club and gave this bullsh!t excuse he’d be back next week… Well it was may 12th 2012 when he said that and he never contacted anyone again… I love Ra but he disappointed me and unless he drops some classic songs like Been A Long Time again I really ain’t that interested in hearing anything he has to say.

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