Rakim
That’s Me (Part I)

rakim.jpgAside from rocking a few shows, paying child support and popping up in a Juelz Santana video, Rakim Allah has kept a low profile in the nearly three years since parting ways with Aftermath/Interscope Records. The split was both disappointing and painfully inevitable. With his elusive Oh My God album shelved and no deal, the great Rakim seemed doomed to the same (royalty) check-to-check existence as 99.9% of rappers who released albums before 1990. But, as it turns out, Ra has been drumming up quite a bidding war for his new label, Ra Records, which will release his seventh album, The Seventh Seal, this summer. While he still seems to have genuine respect for Dr. Dre, Rakim is through compromising, and eager to execute his own vision.

Where you been, Ra? Word is you might have a new label situation.
Yeah, that’s one of the things that’s been keeping me occupied. I’m trying to get my CEO on, trying to set up a label deal where I do my own album on my own label and look for artists. I don’t want to put too much [out there] yet, but I got a nice situation. I did it different than a lot of people in the business do nowadays. I didn’t go to the labels. I went to an investor and got a bag of money.

So even with backing, do you know who will distribute this label?
Well, right now we got maybe four or five [distribution] deals on the table, and we trying to get the best deal. That’s another reason why I don’t wanna speak too much on it yet. Got some nice situations and we just want to make sure we got everything on the table before we go ahead with it.

Do you know what your label will be called?
Right now I’m going with Ra Records, man. Nice and simple.

There was a rumor going around that you were maybe doing some business with Talib Kweli. Is there any truth to that?
Yeah, Kweli’s manager…they had a deal on the table for us as well. After me and Kweli did a song for Marc Ecko’s videogame, his manager was coming across a deal and wanted to sign us to the deal as well.

Is it his label at Warner/Atlantic?
Right, right.

Is that something you’re still considering?
Well, that right there—we don’t close the doors. We got a lot of people just getting at us. We don’t know if we need Warner for the distribution, so we don’t close no doors.

How much of the new album do you have finished?
We got a little more than half, but a lot of things gotta be done, man. I’ma do some more collabos with a couple people that I respect and some people who have been showing me love throughout the years in the industry. I think the world gonna be surprised by the people that I’m doing collabos with, man. The name of the album is The Seventh Seal. We looking to put that out this summer.

What happened to the material that you recorded while you were with Aftermath? Have you been able to keep any of that material?
Yeah, the material that I did out in California, I still have access to if I want to put it on my album. But at this point, it’s kind of dated. I made it two, three years ago. I want to make sure when I drop that everything is brand new, fresh. And, without question, as soon as you hear it, it’s going to be what you expected.

Now that you’re off Aftermath and without a single producer like Dre overseeing your project, is it more challenging to pull the production side of your album together?
When you got one person in the room listening to the tracks, it’s a little easier to pinpoint what you want and where you want to go with it. At the same time, I got a team and we listen to beats. I don’t deal with yes men. If it’s something that I’m feeling and they not, they let me know and vice-versa. It’s a team thing. But at the same time, the team gotta be in tune with what the direction is, what we trying to do here. If you got that in the right place, then everything will go smooth.

How did you end up in Juelz Santana’s “Mic Check” video?
My man Nick Wiz, one of my producers. Juelz called his crib one night. We spoke on the phone and he let me know he wanted to do “Juice” over. I gave him the blessing on that and let him know how much I respected what he doing. A couple of days later he had the video and I surprised him. I just went down there and showed love. It was kinda totally out of the blue.

Are you a Dipset fan?
No doubt. I like the Diplomats’ swagger, man. Juelz, Cam’ron, Jim Jones—they bring a lot of swagger back to the game. New York needs somebody right now to hold New York down.

So when will there be a Rakim/Diplomats collaboration?
Probably soon, man. They one of the cats in the game that I got a lot of respect for, music respect and street respect as well. And when I do do collabos, it’s gotta be respect. I’m not doing it because they sell records or just because they own a certain part of the market. I call ’em “smart collabos” because at the end of the day they makes sense. I don’t want people do be like, Why did Ra do a joint with this dude? I’m just trying to be focused. It’s 2006 and a lot of things have changed. A lot of different producers is bringing different things to the table and it’s that time. I’m solo. Everything should fall into place. I’m not going to spread the album too thin as far as different sounds. You gotta have that chemistry on the record. If I can make a classic album, then I did my job.

Nowadays New York hip-hop has essentially taken a back seat to what’s going on Down South. What do you think the next generation of New York rappers should do to get things back on track?
I think it’s simple, man. If we just do what we do, then everything will be good. That’s what makes the Down South artists successful. That’s what makes the Midwest artists successful. That’s what makes the California artists successful. They do what they do. They bring theyselves to the table. The world is intrigued by seeing what they do down in Texas. The way they dress their cars up, what they drinkin’, the way they dancing. Just like they was intrigued by the movement that we was bringing to the table. But now I think some of the artists figure that we have to kind of change our sound to fit different markets. I think if everybody just stick to they guns, it will be beautiful. Without the market being big and blowing up, it’d still be backyard hip-hop. We gotta take advantage of the marketing being so big, but we have to know how to capitalize off it without giving up too much of the original New York sound. We can touch the Down South market, we can touch the West Coast as long as we make sure we give them something that they can relate to.

Click Here for part II of XXLMAG.COM’s exclusive interview with Rakim, where, for the first time, he reveals the true details behind his split with Dr. Dre.

  • bluerid

    like toy soldiers peace

  • http://www.kreativi.com Thugwarfex

    Damn shame his deal with Aftermath didn’t come thru. All the same it’s good to hear that the almighty Ra is gonna be out with an album soon. It’s damn overdue

  • http://source one

    i’m so sick of this nigga .i mean yeah he was a dope emcee but now ur just an old man let it go .please .some people just don’t live in the same reality as everyone else. nobody cares about rakim.
    i hate to sound like that but thats the reality of the shit.dudes that are like 40 still try’n to rap come on yo what are u do’n.at that age u should be play’n the background as a ceo or some shit like that.how do u expect the young folks to identify with an old head.it just looks funny after a certain age 4 muthafuckas to be try’n
    to act and dress young.just look at mr. big. all the old school isley shit was dope as shit but i opened up a vibe magazine and saw old ass mr. big
    in a throwback.all u old rappas step
    aside and let the new generation rep.
    cali love

    • Areyouinsane

      What is wrong with you? Rakim always has been and always shall be a god emcee you wouldnt say something like that about dre but he is even older than R.

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  • http://XXL Kookie

    For the cat hatin’ on Rakim all that is not even called for. Do you know who this guy is? He is a legend. Respect your elders. He might be older, but the point is he can still spit and because of that he is well respected as an mcee. I think it would do this new generation some good for him to come back and show these new cats how it should be done.
    Hater

  • jersey

    Man the way you can feel a negative way about rakim is 1.) you havent listen to his music 2.) You lack the intelligence to understand his music 3.) 4.) you are bias in the artist you listen to…other than that you must be ignorant to hip hop and its long history from start to now…..Rakim sh*t is classic and I bet the N8gga gotz lotz more.

  • slash krazy

    man rakim u co-sgining them wakk as rapperz? whats next u gonna jump on the “bird-call” remix? these da same dudez that re-made “push it by salt n peppa n remade that master P song, released half assess cd’z like dip immunity and duke da god presents: garbage from harlem vol 1..Rakim ur ass is trippin man! Dr. Dre musta really f**** with your head

  • Osiris

    fuck that homo hating on rakim. can’t wait for part 2, and the album. I’ve been anticipating the ‘dre produced album..but damn, lets put that aside and hope for the best.

    thanks alot yall.

    peace!

  • http://www.youtube.com BootsyJ

    Everyone has a right to their opinion but this person “One” is an ignorant disrespectful fool. Where are the requirement for M.C’s written? Why is it that a kid that listens to Rock knows AND respects the older pioneers? Hell, Mick Jagger & The Rolling Stones are like 100 years old and they still sell out arenas!

  • Jettison

    Rakim is no doubt part of the hip hop holy trinity. Ra’s the father, Big’s the son, and Jay’s the holy ghost. Maybe NY rappers’ll wake up seeing that even the old heads can still bring it hard. For an NY comeback NY has to pull its resources. Dipset is a huge movement, but hopefully Ra will do joints with dudes like Jada and SP and I’ld love to see Jay on there and maybe pull out some hot old Big verse.

    Help lead the troops, Rakim. Take ‘em to war.

  • jojochicago

    The Rakim attracted me to the article. but its the same ol bullshit with this dude! The buzz is gone nationally speaking. Except for NY and his peers, nobody is checking for this. After the After Math debacle, who cares?! Too much time wasted and not enough rhymes spit. Da God, no, maybe Jesus, cause one day He shall too return….But when?

  • http://stewartwarrenscomcast.com tywootang

    I’m a true Rakim & Eric B fan its exciting to hear the god got his own label and trying to get back on top of the game, god keep doing what you do and I’ll be waiting on the new album. One more thing I respect you and Dre. So I hope there’s no love lost and I hope you do a track with my boy the game.

  • J.Scribe

    What’s up…test..1..2…3.

  • J.Scribe

    ….i understand many of the kats who wrote commentz. Especially the ones speakin’ on how Rock fans respect their pioneers more than HiP hOp headz. In the same breath, i feel that comment on how older heads should not try 2 hard, in their dressing & actions, to relate to a younger generation. Personally, i remember the buzz of Hip Hop in the late 80s and early 90s a.k.a. the “Golden Era”. The vibe & expectation was different. But though no one can awake the dead or bring back yesterday. Those people who were part of it, if still around and doing relevant things should not be knocked for that. Matter of fact, they should be honored.”Getting old & Giving up” is not an option for all those headz whose tunez used to rock it at house parties…look at Latifah, Lyte, L.L. & Ice T. Yet, after all those years in the game, it must elevate. No artist in their 30s or 40s should settle for merely signing to a label. At that point having their own label should be a prerequisite.
    PEACE
    ~J~

  • coast

    Like somebody said, some people don’t seem to listen to the music. Rakim is a word wizard. Why could’nt a 60 year old rapper spit? grow up and open your eyes, rap is a gift, words are weapons and peace tools, and we should thank those who can master them.

  • bluerid

    MARSHALL YOU HAVE TO BAIL ME OUT MY PARENTS HOUSE AND TAKE ME WITH U TO WHERE EVER YOUR HOUSE IS.YOUR HOUSE IS MY HOUSE.I RESPECT HOLLAND FOR TRYING TO HELP MY ASS OUT BUT ITS BEEN ENOUGH I AM HURTING SEVERLY AND I WANT TO GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY!

  • bluerid

    OH YEAH AND IF YOUR ”DIENG” TO MEET MY PARENTS AND BROTHER YOU ARE FREE TO COME OVER SO WE CAN HAVE A NICE FAMILY DINNER.

  • bluerid

    OH YEAH ONE MORE THING I FORGOT TO ADD: COME ALONE.

  • j-schmoove

    Here’s the big question: How relevant is Rakim to hip hop in 2006? Hip hop has always been a progressive artform, evolving with the streets, constantly redefining what itself (just imagine a 1979 grandmasterflash in the same room as 2002 raekwon – two different worlds, same love for the art)… has Rakim done the same? There’s no doubt that he is one of the best ever on the mic, he’s paid his dues and has mad love, but we’ve waited patiently for almost 10 years since his last album, which many felt to started to show the aging rappers weaknesses. Now we are being hyped about an instant classic? We’ll see…

  • bluerid

    OK THOUGHT ABOUT IT YOU MIGHT NEED A LAWER SO WE CAN GET ALL MY PAPERWORK BACK WITHOUT ME GETTING BEAT UP WHILE GRABBING IT.

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  • http://source.com one

    all i got to say is picture ur father try’n to rap.ra is a well respected emcee but all the respect is from back in the day.he aint had a hit in ten years.lets be honest with ourselves did anyone of u idiots who are stand’n up 4 this nigga buy his last album?more then likely no.rakim gets mad respect from me but i’m still
    able to see the reality of the situation.he’s old!

  • izzy

    nigga ya old and tired give it a rest.go retire on a beach somewhere wit a cute bitch

  • Joost

    What the fuck is it with the age? He’s about as old as Ghostface, y’all consider him an old man to? What’s wrong with an 38 year old rapper? :X

  • Chilly

    Rakim is the G.O.A.T.
    first (Eric B. & Rakim) to sign a million dollar deal. His 1987 hits still move peeps today. Yonger rappers have been using the words he created 20 years ago for their (Jay-Z, Nelly, Nas and others). ” take pieces and bits of my hip hop hits, get your stile down right than its time to switch, put your tape on pause add some more to yours, than you figure you ready for the neighbor hood tours, EMCEE don’t even try to be” RAKIM. that is still strong today “I ANIT NO JOKE”. words and knowledge do not get old. his first album from cut 1 to the end is better than anything ever. Check out Paid In FULL for those who still drink their mothers milk. Only a few rappers today have skills others use good beats to cover up their bad skills. From an original PAID IN FULL POSSE MEMBER.

  • http://n/a KOOLVE

    TO THE GOD

    ERIC B AND RAKIM MUSIK STANDS STRONG LIKE THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE BIBLE. IM STILL ON THAT FOLLOW THE LEADER, MICROPHONE FIEND, AND MAHOGHANY AND LYRICS OF FURY. A GROUP OF RAP HUSTLERS WAY BEFORE THEY TIME. I CAN BUMP THEY SHIT ANYTIME AND IT STILL GET THAT RESPECT. MORE THAN A CLASSIC. I PLAYED “I AIN’T NO JOKE” AT MY BABY SON’S BIRTHDAY PARTY AND STILL HAVE THAT EFFECT ON PEOPLE JUST LIKE THAT SHIT JUST HIT THE STORES. ONE.

  • Minister

    So what’s the argument here? I think it’s pretty obvious that Rakim was at the top of the game during his prime. His prime has passed. Even when he was still making joints after leaving Eric B. they weren’t really hittin on much.

    The old heads always gotta stand up for the past heroes.(See: Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson) They still remember the glory days and find it hard to let go and realize that shit is o-ver. I respect Ra to the fullest, but who REALLY thinks he has some hot shit coming? Hip-hop is a different game now and there’s alot of navigation necessary for him to find his footing. Aim for the kids? Try to keep his core (over 35?) audience? Stay lyrical? Dumb down? I can’t see him hittin all the switches necessary to be successful right now.

  • Ausar

    Ra-spect to da G.O.D

    I think as long as da brother remains conscious/in tune with his divine self he will always be able to drop what evers clever & relevant to this time. His like everybody elses Intelligence is unlimited and has now age it goes on and on.

    Da supreme can return to convey messages trough Rakim whenever.

    All hail da divine

  • Chilly

    some of you guys do not understand most artist these days are fake, record company buying their on record to get a bonus from their distributers like Murder INC, The ROW, Atlantic and so one. Companys pay to get their artist air play. Some of the best stuff never hits the radio. thats the only reason people use XM and SIRUS. i can take Rakim, Cool G-Rap, Chuck-D and BDK, that combo can knock out any from then, now and any in the future. Sales do not mean skills. Cube, Ren and Short not hot, please!! get of the age look at the skills. stop and think!

  • DJWheelsofSteel

    Rakim Says “Thinkin of a Master Plan”

    “Stop Smilin aint nothin move but the money, now Ive learnd to earn caus Im ritchous.”Quoting Rakim

    ….If you have no idea what cut this was from then you have no buiness bein here, TOYS!

    He is the KING, pounce RA your ready!

  • bluerid

    ok chilly thanks i was just freaking out today i really dont know what to do here in holland anymore.listening guilty consious and braindamage.

  • the God

    Bravos all around to all who showed respect for the god Rakim Allah, first of all when Ra started he was probably the youngest in charge, now for someone to say he shouldn’t be rappin’ you’re right . The god doesn’t rap he flows, AND HE WILL CONTINUE TO FLOW. Another point how old is 50 or nelly. Now to paraphrase something I heard about that line’ don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge….’ you had a grown man saying it and it was believable, now which rhyme by nelly and the likes believable. Lastly, all thses crowns wearing rags and rainbowcolored headbands and whatnot looking stupid. who’s gonna remember them down the line? ‘Follow the leader. y’all.
    one

  • DJVIC

    Ra do your thing!! like you said “follow the leader”. I have all your tracks on vinyl. I know some cats will hate and some will show love, its all good. you truly are a pioneer and cant wait for your new joint to drop.
    PEACE!!!

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  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AusarsPlace the God

    this goes to the dude hatin. get off it man, this is the God. he more realer than ANY cat out here now and if you was a true hip hop head you’d know that. go do the Knowledge to who this God is. in fact dont even cop the album when it comes out, go and get that laffy taffy bullshit

  • IKI

    It’s good to hear the God MC is back to the basics we dont need all tha G-G-G-G-G-Gangsta shit all the time Nas can prove that. It would be sick to hear Rakim gettin’ down with Dip Set that will have to go down in history.

  • DJWheelsofSteel

    DONT SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE YOU MICROPHONE FIEND YOU DESERVE TO GET PAID IN FULL BECAUSE ERIC B IS PRESIDENT.

    YOU CAN MOVE THE CROWD TO YOUR LYRICS OF LUXURY AS THE RHYMES GOES ON, HE AINT NO JOKE LIKE I AINT NO JOKE, ITS A FOUR LETTER WORD… I KNOW YOU GOT SOUL.

    FOLLOW THE LEADER IN THE GHETTO BECAUSE HE KNOWS THE LEDGE

    It will be done but I can do it as clap your hands to it

  • beezy

    why can hip hop artists not be 40…

    its the dumbest shit i ever heard.

    In every other music (jazz-rock etc etc) they get better with age and there fans grow with them

    as much as i love hip hop and always will…it has the dumbest fans on the planet….

    but its ok to put out dead rappers who would be in their late 30′s early 40′s now…..

    RAKIM….a living rap legend…RESPECT DAT

  • jon longway

    RAKIM a legend a lyricist a fuckin genious… but he shoulda never left aftermath especially if he wants to be on top again

  • http://OMANXL1.BLOGSPOT.COM OMANXL1

    Can’t wait to hear the new stuff!!! The game needs him!!!!!!!!

  • http://UNKNOWn greatmind

    Rakim is the best rapper lyrically period and i can prove it.. His wisdom when he speaks is for only for the chosen ones to see.. The rest of the negative ones are not suppose to see. They suppose to be right where there at mentally until its there time or just die in mental darkness.. And when negatve people even catch a glimse of light and wisdom there either change for the better or use what is ment for righteous-ness and use it for there own benefit meaning to be slick and crafty like there superior then the rest instead of us growing together as “one”. We have division at the table when we suppose come together at the table to eat food for thought we suppose to grow spiritual, mentally to manifest it physically to become wiser and i mean wiser not a wise ass.”CONSTANT ELEVATION”. Like for instance in his ryme – Mystery (who is god) he says in eternal blackness in the mist of the darkess night -(MEANINING YOUR MIND IS IN DARKNESS YOU CAN’T SEE SPIRITUAL YET)- protein and minerals exist in within spects of light.( MEANING LIGHT IS WHEN YOU AWARE OF THINGS IN THIS LIFE SPIRITUAL. GET IT YET. TAKE THE PILLOW FROM YOUR HEAD AND PUT A BOOK IN IT)THEN HE SAYS – solid, liquids, and gasses ( Meaning EVERYTHING in THIS LIFE IS MADE UP- OF THESES THREE COMPONENTS THAT WE USE ALL THINGS IN LIFE SO WE CAN GROW FROM ) .THEN HE SAYS – No beginning or ending and seven dimensions .. I
    NOTHING TO PROVE PLUS IM TIRED STAY IN DARKNESS OR GROW THIS IS CHOICE NOT CHANCE.. YOU GOT A CHOICE TO BE IGNORANT OR DO WHAT YOU WANT BUT YOUR CHOICE DETIMINES YOUR DESTINY>>>THEN YOUR FUTURE IN THIS LIFE >>> RAKIM QUOTE EDUCATED PUNCH LINES THAT I HAVE TO HIT>>> KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN BEWARE OF A OVERDOSE>> CHILDREN IN THE MENTAL) JUST BECAUSE YOUR A MAN DOESNT MEAN YOUR GROWN UP SPIRITUALLY , MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY>>THIS IS A LIFE TIME MISSION VISION OF PRISON- A LIFETIME TO LEARN WHY WE ON THIS EARTH AND HOW SOME IS TRAP IN THERE MIND AS A PRISONER… TIME TO TAKE AWAY THE CHAINS REBUILD MY NAME… THE CHAINS IN YOUR MIND OF THINGS THAT KEEP YOU BLIND MENTALLY AND HOLD YOU DOWN FROM GROWNING >>YOUR NAME YOUR IDENTITY WHO YOU R IN THIS LIFE… HIS MESSAGE ARE HIDDEN THE EYE OF MAN BUT NOT TO UPCOMING CHOSEN ONES WHO R SPIRITUALLY CHOSEN TO HAVE ETERNAL LIGHT.. IT WILL BE SEEN SOONER OR LATER… HE CHOSEN FOR WHAT HE DOES IM CHOSEN WHAT I DO AND SO ON… ITS LIKE TRYING TO READ TO BIBLE AT FIRST NOT GETTING THE MESSAGE AT FIRST THEN GROWING MORE AND GETTING MATURE INTO IT..THEN YOU START TO UNDERSTAND AS YOU MATURE THAT YOU GOT TO HAVE TO
    DRINK LIQUIDS FIRST THE YOU EAT SOLID FOODS AS YOU GROWN …. MANY WAYS TO SAY THE UNSAID BORN WITH THREE SEVENS IN MY HEAD… I TOOK THE KID AND CUT OFF HIS EYE LIDS ( I CUT THEM OFF SPIRITUALLY SO HE CAN SEE NOT MEANING PHYSICALLY) KILLING HIM SLOW SO HE CAN SEE WHAT I DID- NOT KILLING FOR REAL BUT KILLING HIS OLD WAYS OF THINKING AND MAKING HIM GIVE BIRTH TO THE TRUTH> GET IT YET>>> IF HE DONT UNDERSTAND WHAT I SAID IM PUSHING HIS EYEBALLS WAY TO THE BACK OF HIS HEAD SO HE CAN SEE WHAT HE IS GETTING INTO THE PART OF THE MIND HE NEVER BEEN THROUGH THE JOURNEY IS COMING CAUSE HE’S GETTING SENT TO A PLACE HARDER TO FIND BUT IT ALL IN THE MENTAL I RUN A BRAINSCAN TO LOCATE HIS GAMEPLAN WHEN I THROUGH WITH HIS BRAIN
    HE AINT THE SAME MAN DID HE LOSE HIS MIND OR GOT LOST IN HIS MIND BUT THIS AINT THE LOST AND FOUND BECAUSE HE CANT FIND HIS FOUNDATION, IT,S COASTING, YOUR MIND IS DRIFTING IN SLOW MOTION, FROZEN. IT’S LIKE ANOTHER MURDER IN THE MARDI GRAS BEE( MEANING A MURDER OF YOUR SO CALLED IMMATURE IDENTITY TO GIVE BIRTH TO WHAT IS REAL AND MORE PURE IN WISDOM,
    KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING WHICH WHAT HE’S WRITING IN TRUE RYME FORM) ONCE YOUR OUT OF YOUR HEAD YOU CANT GET BACK I GIVE THEM A MAP BUT THEY STILL GET TRAP . PREPARE THE CHAMBER >>THE TORTURE IS COMING AS YOU TRIP TROUGH THE MIND AT THE END YOU WILL FIND IT THE PUNISHER… ( HE DIDNT SAY HE WAS THE PUNISHER HE SAID YOUR OWN MIND IS YOUR OWN DESTRUCTION.MIND TAKES X-RAYS SO LISTEN CLOSELY FROM THE DARKNESS THERE BECAME THE LIGHT CLEAR OUT OF A DARK NIGHT NOW IM HERE TO SPARK THE MIC…THE WORLD IS OUT OF SIGHT. THE FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE NOT EVEN A SATELITE NOW STOP AND TURN AROUND AND LOOK AS YOU STARE INTO DARKNESS YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS TOOK > KEEP STARING SUDDENLY YOU’LL SEE A STAR YA BETTER FOLLOW IT CAUSE IT’S THE “R”. THIS IS A LESSON IF YOUR GUESSING OR BORROWING >>HURRY HURRY STEP RIGHT UP
    AND KEEP FOLLOWING THE LEADER…WORD TO DADDY INDEED.THE R IS ROLLOING STONE SO IM ROLLIN THE RECORDS
    WHERE TOLD THEN THE RYMES ARE STOLEN THE BROTHER SAID DIG HIM I NEVER DUG HIM HE COULD’NT FOLLOW THE LEADER SO I DRUG HIM HE SHOULD HE SHOULD ARRANGE HIS OWN, FACE IT, ITS BASIC, CHANGE THE TONE.. HES TALKING TO BIG DADDY KANE HE STOLE HIS STYLE IN RAPPING SO HE CHANGE HIS RYME FORM TO PROVE HES THE ORIGINATOR OF IT AND TELLING KANE THE FOLLOW THE ORIGINATOR BUT KANE COULD’NT
    COPY IT BECAUSE RA WAS THE TRUTH AND THE REAL ORIGINATOR OF THE RYMES AND HE CONFUSED KANE SO MUCH IT MESSED HIM UP LYRICLLY TRYING HIS BEST THE FOOL THE PUBLIC BECAUSE IF YOU DONT KNOW YOULL THINK KANE WAS REAL WHEN HE WAS THE ONE TO STEAL RAKIMS STYLE OF RAP
    KANE TRY TO BE CLOSE BUT RAKIM TOOK HIM INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION BUT IS WAS ALL FUN BACK THEN EVERYONE MADE BETTER WAYS TO BATTLE

    THATS WHY RA CHANGE HIS FLOW UP BECAUSE HIS NMIND HAS COLORFUL IDEAS PEOPLE STILL TALKING THE SAME SHIT HE MADE IN 86 BUT JUST IN DIFFERENT WAYS BEING SLICK WITH THERES WORDS BUT IT DONT FOOL HIM AND HES MATURED TO TEACH IN HIS RYME FORM AT LEAST SOME TYPE OF SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE HAS TO BE PUT IN HIS RYME FORM AND HE DONT WANT TO BE LIKE THE REST BECAUSE IF HE WAS TO CHANGE AND DO WHAT THEY DOING THATS EASY FOR HIM BUT HE GOT ALOT OF PEOPLE IN PERSONAL LIFE THAT LOOK UP TO HIM AND HE HAS TO A POSITIVE DIRECTION AND IF HE WAS TO DO LIKE THEY DO IT HE HAS TO HAVE RIGHTEOUS CAUSE FOR IT WITH POSITIVE MESSAGE INVOLVED REMEMBER WE GOT KIDS FOLLOWING BELEIVING IN THIS SHIT THEY BE GETTING BRAIN WASHED AND SHIT THEY AINT TO BRIGHT THESE DAYS… CONSTANT ELEVATION WITH THE PROPER ELEMENTS OF AWARENESS IS THE KEY THIS GENERATION…EVERYDAY A LEARNING EXPERIENCE… IF WE AINT FOR EACH OTHER WE AGAINST EACH OTHER… IF THIS PLANET WAS A BIG HOUSE AND IN THE KITCHEN OF THE HOUSE IS WHERE WE GO TO EAT WE GOT TO EAT THE RIGHT FOODS TO MATURE SO WE CAN BE HEALTHY AND AT THE TABLE WE ALL EAT TOGETHER (MEANING EATING FOOD FOR THOUGHT)AS ONE THEN WELL GROW BECAUSE THE MORE CHAINS IN THE LINK THE STRONGER THE LINK WILL BE>> BUT IF THERE DIVISION AT THE TABLE AND WE GOT ONE OR SAY COUPLE OF BAD APPLES AT THE TABLE TRYING TRYING TO DIVIDE US SO WE CAN SEPARATE WAGING WAR AND ALL TYPE OF CHAOS AND SHIT>>> BUT YOULL SEE WHOS WHO WHILE READING THE POST MESSAGE HERE WHO BLIND OR JUST MENTALLY NOT AWARE YET TO THE REAL…RAKIM – I DONT LET IT GET TO ME THE WRITER WILL BE LEFT TO DIE……MENTAL DEATH>> WE ALL MUST FACE PHYSICAL DEATH BUT WHAT ABOUT ETERNAL SPIRITUAL DARKNESS

  • bluerid

    GOD BLESS YOU RAKIM BE FREE I DONT EVER WANNA SEE YOU SAD AGAIN.I AM MENTALLY AWARE SO I WILL STOP BULLSHITTING AROUND WITH CAM.CAM MY BOY.

  • skeetskeet

    Much respect to the God. Dudes still killing it. The master was my shit as well. Seen him perform at BB Kings recently, wow! Anyone that can’t see the incredible talent and the amount influence he still has on the Hip Hop world needs to wake up.

    Only thing I dont understand//// How could Rakim say that dipset are musically talented? I mean we talking the greatest lyricist of all time giving props to a bunch of nursery school rhyme rappers? I understand him giving it up to dipset swagga and street appeal. They do have that. But no one is listening to dipset ever for the lyrical content, unless maybe they ate paint chips as a kid.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p+625 Ominous

    I’m gonna be 36 this summer, I was 16 or 17 when “Paid In Full” came out. After all these years, it’s still the best (and most influential)rap album I’ve ever heard. Young kids now have no idea how deep Ra is,some don’t even know who he is. To these kids, I say: Do a search for Rakim’s lyrics & read ‘em. He’s the best lyricist ever in the game. Read the lyrics to “It’s Been A Long Time,” & also,”Flow Forever”…One word comes to mind just thinking about his style: SKILLS.I’ve been writing for years, I still can’t come close- I’m talking about spending 2 months writin’ a single verse. Makin’ sure everything flows perfect, & the content is thought provoking & meaningful- it’s a lost art.Kids out now don’t put any real thought into their sh*t. Ra’s gonna show ‘em how it’s supposed to be done. The game’s been suffering a lot since the losses of Pac & BIG. But the greatest of all time is back. I can’t wait.

  • http://www.myspace.com mista ren

    i mess with ra he’s one of the best, but if he did a song with dipset that would be a nutass move on his part, he’s in a whole another level.

  • Lemek-ra

    To (one) You are the reason hip-hop sucks now. It is impossible for you to like hip-hop and dis rakim. Let me tell all you youngin about this music called hip-hop. It has a purpose and it starts with lyrics. Yes the words that are going with the beats. Often these words tell stories or give you insite on things happen in our neighborhoods or in life. That is what hip-hop was when Afrika Bam created the infinity lesson straight out the Bronx. If you can’t build you couldn’t hang period. They were teaching the next generation. I challenge any mc today to actually say anything worthwhile on the mic. They won’t because they can’t. You can take it back to Melly Mel and Beatstreet on of the dopest rymes ever and still relavent today as it was in 82. Just because is knowledge is over you head is no reason to dis. Ignorance is a poision.

  • http://www.deckwrecka.com Zilla

    Ha…lotta weak minded people out there, Ra’s relevance in Hip Hop is now more than ever, cos rappers these days are unlyrical, lazy, greedy, arrogant, boastful and self important..not to mention selfish…

    Like kids that need they asses whupped by a decent father figure….

    Skills are skills, and Rakim has them, sure this LP may NOT be hot as in radio and platinum sales, but it WILL be real heartfelt genuine music and creativity, unlike most mainstream shit you will hear, so BIG UP Ra.. The Mic God, Big Up KRS the patron saint of Hip Hop….

    I’d rather hear someone bring a lil sense back to the table, and a lil honesty, not to mention balance.. this Viacom, Neo Con, Interscope, BET attempt to paint OUR Hip hop culture in a negative self destructive light NEEDS to be addressed…

    Fuck Dre, if Ra’s too old…so is Dre… Life aint a video game… good music is from the soul…

    The kiddies will learn in time…

    Zz.

  • Ominous

    Just found recent footage of Ra performing “Paid In Full”, and some interviews…check it out:

    http://www.current.tv/pods/culture/PD03308

  • CONSTANT ELEVATION

    THIS RAKIM’S LYRICS FROM “THE PUNISHER” BROKEN DOWN TO A LEVEL TO SHOW YOU HE’S THE BEST PERIOD THEN YOU TELL ME WHO’S THE BEST MC PERIOD…HE WAY BEYOND THERE MENTAL OR SPIRITUAL THINKING PERIOD…

    THE MIND WILL PUNISH THEM BECAUSE THEY DONT UNDERSTAND IT…..

    IF YOU CURSE ME IT AIN’T NO MERCY…

    GIVE THEM A AUTOPSY …..

    THEY KILLED BY A VERSE OF ME….

    I TOOK THE KID AND CUT OFF THERE EYELIDS…..(NOT MEANING CUTTING THEM OFF PHYSICALLY BUT SPIRITUALLY).. (IF I CUT OFF YOUR EYELIDS YOU CAN’T CLOSE YOUR EYES WITHOUT EYE LIDS, SO YOU CAN SEE AT ALL TIMES WHAT COMING AT YOU IN ALL ANGLES WEATHER IT’S MENTAL,PHYSICAL, OR SPIRITUALLY BUT YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS, NOT SLEEPING WALKING IN THE MENTAL OR SPIRITUAL)…

    KILLING THEM SLOW SO THEY CAN SEE WHAT I DID….( NOT MEANING KILLING FOR REAL BUT KILLING THERE SO CALLED IMMATURE IDENTITY OF WHO THEY ARE SO THEY CAN GIVE BIRTH TO THE REAL SPIRITUAL IDENTITY FROM GOD WHICH HAS ETERNAL LIGHT AND INSIGHT WHICH IS WITHIN ONESELF)…

    IF THEY DONT UNDERSTAND WHAT I SAID I’M PUSHING THERE EYEBALLS WAY TO THE BACK OF THERE HEAD SO THEY CAN SEE WHAT THEY GETTING INTO …..

    THE PART OF THE MIND THAT THEY NEVER BEEN THROUGH..

    THE JOURNEY IS COMING CAUSE YOUR GETTING SENT TO, A PLACE HARDER TO FIND, BUT IT’S ALL IN THE MENTAL….

    I RUN A BRAINSCAN TO LOCATE YOUR GAME PLAN….

    WHEN I’M THROUGH WITH YOUR BRAIN YOU AIN’T THE SAME MAN….!!!

    DID YOU LOSE YOUR MIND OR GOT LOST IN THE MIND….

    BUT THIS AIN’T THE LOST AND FOUND BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FIND YOUR FOUNDATION…IT’S COASTING…DRIFTING IN SLOW MOTION … YOUR FROZEN…

    LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER MURDER IN THE MARDI GRAS…B!!!(IF YOU THINK YOU THERE MENTALLY AND YOUR LIGHT WHICH IS WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, AND UNDERSTANDING FROM GOD AND YOU NOT INTUNE WITH LIFES INSIGHT YET THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL AWARENESS MURDERED …THAT’S WHAT IT MEANS..)

    TOO LATE TO SEND OUT A SEARCH PARTY ….

    ONCE YOUR OUT OF YOUR HEAD THEN YOU CAN’T GET BACK…

    I GIVE THEM A MAP BUT THEY STILL GET TRAPPED….( I GIVE THEM DIRECTION BECAUSE I’M RIGHTEOUS BUT THE IGNORANT GET MENTALLY TRAPPED …GET IT YET…)

    PREPARE THE CHAMBER…THE TORTURE IS COMING UP….

    WHEN YOU TRIP THROUGH YOUR MIND AT THE END YOU WILL FIND IT’S THE PUNISHER….(REMEMBER I SAID THAT YOUR MIND IS THE PUNISHER NOT THAT IM THE PUNISHER..(YOUR MIND BECOMES YOUR OWN ENEMY)…(THE MIND TAKES X-RAY’S SO LISTEN CLOSELY)…

    MY INTELLECT WILL WRECK AND DISCONNECT YOUR CEREBRAL CORTEX THEN CEREBELLUM IS NEXT…

    YOUR CONSCIENCE BECOMES SUB-CONSCIOUS….

    SOON YOUR RESPONSE BECOMES NONSENSE….

    YOUR LAST WORDS BECOME BLURRED… MUMBLED THEN SLURRED…

    THEN YOUR VERBS WHICH IS YOUR ACTIONS BECOME NO LONGER HEARD….

    THEN YOU GET YOUR LUNGS FRIED SO GOOD YOUR TONGUES TIED….

    THEY TRIED TO SWING OR HANG WITH ME IN THE MENTAL BUT THEY HUNG TILL THEY DIED….( DIED MEANING ETERNAL MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL DARKNESS)…

    I LEAVE THEM IN A MAUSOLEUM WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM ….

    BECAUSE I GOT A SPIRITUALLY AND MENTALLY DEAD PEOPLE MUSEUM….

    WHEN I CREATE THEM….I CREMATE THEM AND COMPLICATE THEM….YOU CAN’T SAVE THEM…THERES NO ULTIMATUM…!!!

    THERE MENTAL DARKNESS LAYS AROUND LIKE BODY’S BURNED TO ASHES….

    WITH THE VICTIM’S NAME IN SLASHES….( MENTALLY SCARING THEM FOR LIFE )….

    I GOT A LONG LIST AND I’M GONNA GET EVERY ONE OF YA…!!!

    BEWARE OF THE PUNISHER….!!! (BEWARE OF YOUR OWN MIND AND SIRITUAL AWARENESS IN YOURSELF THAT’S WHAT IT MEANS)….

    YOU A SLAVE TO WHATEVER MASTERS YOU…..WHEN DEALING WITH ANY TOPIC OR SITUATUION IN THIS LIFE…

    REMEMBER OUT YOUR MOUTH YOU A SLAVE TO IT, BUT IF IT’S KEPT IN YOUR HEAD YOU CAN LEARN TO MASTER IT….!!!

    CONSTANT ELEVATION…!!!

  • sev lo X

    Dissin Ra is like dissin your 1st floor of your house…he built PART OF the foundation of the 7 floor crib we livin (hip hop) in right now! Anyone who speaks negative on him dont know REAL HIP HOP or WASNT AROUND IN 87 SO SHUT DA HELL UP AND LEARN BEFORE YOU SPEAK….YOUR IGNORANCE IS DRIPPIN AL L OFF YA.

    SEV LO X

  • K Smoove

    His lyrical record speaks for itself. It’s not about age it’s about skill. This man is a lyrical giant–respect that.

  • http://myspace.com/gkarma G Karma

    To all you ignorant assholes that keep making reference to dudes age….WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER? You keep talking about guys “tryin’ to dress and act younger”, it ain’t about age, it’s about culture! The Hip Hop Culture. Hip Hop Culture wears baggy clothes and AF1′s. The Culture wears flashy jewels, what does age have to do with fashion. Last time I went shopping, the store wasn’t broke down into age groups. And if you do your history you’ll see that Eric B and Rakim were some of the first rockin’ the Gucci & Louis suits. They were some of the first with the gaudy dookie gold ropes. They were some of the first sittin on the hood of a Rolls Royce. All the shit that you think is fly now evolved off of what these guys STARTED! Now you’re gonna say because his reached a certain level of maturity that he should stop doing what he’s dedicated his entire life to? Fuck you! If you bitch ass young boys had half of the originality that these pioneers STILL HAVE, hip hop wouldn’t be such a farce right now. Step ya game up. Hip Hop is way more than ignorance, guns and drugs.

  • Aron Kandel

    Yo does anyone realize that this interview was taken over a year ago, when is this album gonna drop already? As of now it looks like Rakim’s Seventh Seal has about as much of a shot at coming out as Dre’s Detox and that man has been talking up detox for literally 5 years

  • Q.A.

    You cant expect young cats to respect the game. I mean rhyming in complexity actually being witty and writing lyrics. Most of them can’t because they lack vocabulary, poetic skills, literacy. Many can’t read,ignorant about the mastery of grammar and the English language. Sad. rap is not about rhyming anymore. Its about Bitches, who smokes the most weed, who got the most money, a new dance which ain’t about rapping anyway. Rakim is someone who has complexity of rhyme scheme. A real rapper, but youngsters don’t care about that they just want lust for women, fame and power.

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