January 28, 2021

Happy Born Day, Rakim! (Greatest MC!)

"Contrary to popular belief, hip-hop heads do not have minute-long attention spans. Proof positive of that surprising fact is the overwhelming number of y'all who voted Rakim Allah for Greatest MC. Although at the time of this survey (1/98) he hadn't dropped any material for five (looooong!) years, the R's overwhelming margin of victory leaves little doubt that his impact on listeners is still being felt since he came through the door in '86. With a distinctively multisyllabic, low-key delivery, his unabashed nomination of Eric B. for President so convinced us that we damn near tripped all over each other in search of the nearest ballot box. And at a time when the average rap song zipped by at a dizzying 120 or so beats-per-minute, he then asked us to check out his melody--maintaining the tempo s-l-o-w enough to peep every word--to see if we'd agree that the mic of the god was truly blessed. Well, we'd venture to say that Solomon himself couldn't flip verses like that. Little wonder, since the admitted microphone fiend had been penning lyrics of fury before puberty, and his penchant for moving the crowd was undisputed. We followed his leadership into the ghetto and beyond, and when the rhythm hit us, we were hard-pressed not to sweat his technique. Alas, the onset of the 90s witnessed the virtual disappearance of Rakim, and with him went the prominence of lyricism in rap music. Fortunately, the god is back, humble as always, but definitely with a vengeance. And judging from the results of this survey, hip-hop heads across the atlas will agree when we say, "All praise due." - The Source (January, 1998). Go ahead and wish Rakim a Happy Born Day today! If you didn't catch the New Year's Eve celebration with the live performance from Rakim and J.Period, I do hope that video and/or the live mixtape will surface on the web some time in the very near future! You cannot argue Rakim's influence and that, skill-wise, he very well may be thee greatest MC of all-time! Nas is my favorite MC, but we know he's from the Rakim school of rhyming.