Rakim is the father to the styles of NaS, Jay, Black Thought, Ice Cube, Raekwon, Prodigy, B.I.G. and Big Pun. And subsequently any other latter and lesser emcee that considers themselves to be lyrically impressive. But the truth is that Rakim’s work over the last ten years doesn’t have the impact to the culture of Hip-Hop that his first ten years tattoed on rap music. Sadly, it’s actually not admissible.
Did Rakim fall off? No. The peloton caught up to him. The wake of the lane that Rakim created allowed rappers with more charisma(B.I.G., Big Pun) and greater stamina(NaS, Jay-Z) to draft this sentient artist back to the Earth. Their metaphors and similes increased our sensations and aided Hip-Hop in transforming the globe, but it was Rakim who gave them the spark of ghetto gangster poetry.
I’m not going to tell you to open up the new Rakim album ‘The 7th Seal’ because you might feel let down that there aren’t any new classics on the disk. Can we fault Rakim for setting the bar as high as he did? Nope. The legacy of music we have from him still rates the consideration for his GOAT status. Is it selfish and unfair to want artists to remain in that box that we first encountered them?
‘Holy Are You’ *(best of the new)
‘I Ain’t No Joke’
‘Follow The Leader’
‘Juice (Know The Ledge)’
‘Microphone Fiend’ *(possibly the greatest rap song of all time)