Today marks the 53rd birthday of one of hip-hop's most legendary and revered emcees: Rakim, the forefather of many flows and styles that still occur in hip-hop today. And while his discography is absolutely storied, one of the most intriguing eras of his career -- despite not yielding very much music -- arose during his brief tenure on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. Though the output was scarce, Rakim did come through to offer a track to Eminem's 8 Mile OST, taking to an off-kilter Denaun Porter instrumental for another effortless body.
No matter how you feel about the production choice, it's impossible to deny the brilliance of Ra's lyricism. For one, his vocabulary is impeccable, stringing together sentences with a confident swagger. "A thousand styles in one verse, rhythms will switch patterns, chicks get stabbed in the back, till they get spasms," he spits. "Known to spit a magnum, or split an atom." By his own admission, each flow has been painted on "ancient scrolls," a testament to his timeless spirit. On that note, Rakim continues to age gracefully, and on his fifty-third birthday deserves to be respected as such.
We'd like to share some serious birthday appreciation to the God emcee on this celebratory occasion -- happy birthday, Rakim!
A thousand styles in one verse, rhythms will switch patterns
Chicks get stabbed in the back, till they get spasms
Known to spit a magnum, or split an atom
Who woulda known that Jesus would come back to the ghetto
On that level, and that thorough, like a black hero