New York native Rakim, born William Michael Griffin Jr., was part of the 1980s Eric B. & Rakim.
Eric B. and Rakim’s classic album, Paid in Full, was released July 7, 1987. It spawned hits such as “Eric B. Is President,” “I Ain’t No Joke,” “I Know You Got Soul,” “Move the Crowd” and the title track, “Paid in Full.” The duo went on to record four more albums together. Rakim also recorded four solo albums.
The Source ranked him number one on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists in 2012. Also that year, Rakim was given the “I Am Hip-Hop Icon” award from BET and the duo also announced plans to re-release their album for its’ 25th anniversary.