Holding court in Red Hook Park, the living legend headlined the Lyricist Lounge-presented free summer concert (side note: things like this is why New York wins) and Dallas Penn – in all his hilarious glory – was on hand to catch the entire thing. Check out his recap.
Ready for your “vintage rap song” of the day? According to producer Dominic Owen, this track – recorded originally in 1995 – would ultimately become “When I’m Flowin’” from Rakim’s 1997 solo debut, The 18th Letter.
PREVIOUS: Rakim – Bring It On [Unreleased]
The GOD MC recently held a lecture for Red Bull Music Academy in NYC, alongside triple OG Chairman Mao (what’s up sir!) where he broke down his lyricism, how “Don’t Sweat the Technique” came about, getting a lot of his inspiration from Jazz and much more. Over an hour and some change of nothing but jewels.
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.
PREVIOUS: Marco Polo – Whats Wrong f. Rakim
Though originally slated to appear on Rakim’s Seventh Seal album but never lived on it due to sample clearance issues, Marco Polo liberates the Rakim-assisted “What’s Wrong” which will appear on his upcoming free Newport Authority 2 project.
Big Daddy Kane sits down with FUSE to talk about his influence on the younger generation*, meeting Dave Chappelle, the challenges he faced trying to shop Jay-Z to music execs, performing at the Inaugural Ball and more.
* During his interview with MTV, Pusha T speaks on BDK’s “Wrath of Kane” being a huge influence on his latest project and how he feels Kane was better than Rakim. An argument, folks my age and older have been having for YEARS. Check the clip after the jump.
Thanks to Sherman over at UHTN, we can now enjoy another previously vaulted track from the God MC.
PREVIOUS: Rakim – New York To Cali [Unreleased]
“It’s Been A Long Time” & “Paid In Full”
Now this is sickness. During Art Basel this past weekend in Florida, AO backed up the legendary microphone fiend during their show at The Stage. Check out some of the highlights up top and down bottom.
The ineffable Marley Marl recreates Eric B. Is President which was originally released in ’86. In the O.G. sessions, Marl explains that Eric B was supposed to bring a special MC who ultimately never showed (rumors say that person was supposed to have been Freddie Foxx). Instead, the God Rakim Allah showed up and recorded My Melody. Eventually, the two recorded the classic Eric B. Is President. Up top, Marl recreates the legendary joint on his MPC Renaissance. Peace to ego trip.
According to this version’s producer Dominic Owen, this cut was an “unreleased version from the same recording sessions” in 1995. Props to UHTN.
This is a joint DJ Rob Swift and collaborated on its another release off of my Lunchroom Battles Mix. I hope you enjoy this gem. This is Rakim and Biz way back in the early 80s at Whyndance High school in Strong Island. The quality was poor as you would expect so Rob and i joined forces and created this remix. Rob Swift on the cut!! – Gudtyme
After laying down a couple tracks, Rakim and the Rugged Man sit down and speak on how Rakim originally had some bars aimed at Big Daddy Kane on Let the Rhythm Hit Em but decided to take em out after a phone call with Kane himself.
On June 12th, Rakim brought his signature realness to Joe’s Pub in NYC as part of the Reebok Classics hip hop legends concert series. And as a bonus, Reebok Classics and Complex released a 2dope documentary that documents the historic career of the legendary emcee. If you have any interest in hip hop at all, I advise you to sit down for 9.5 minutes and watch. Also, on August 20th Reebok Classics will be having a surprise show in Las Vegas. For your chance to win tickets click here.