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What's up with Rakim?


Vipa

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I haven't heard any news, but i'm dying 4 the new album. Basically him and Dre had creative differences and that project fell apart. I thought that Dre's work with Rakim would re-establish his image as a Hip-Hop legend...as opposed 2 the mockery he's making of himself working with G-Unit and Eminem.

Rakim is still working on the album and he still wants Dre 2 do work on it. Either way, he needs 2 comeback and save Hip-Hop!! FP should do a remix of "Lost + Found" with Rakim on a verse!!

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Well if "Lost and Found" climbs the charts and Public Enemy's album has success, I think Rakim's album could actually get some buzz. Hey what's up with Slick Rick? I thought he was working on an album, why can't Russell Simmons sign him back to Def Jam? While he's at it, he should sign Rakim too and I think JJFP should head there too, the new mcs there ain't making any noise so it's up to the veterans to bring it back, they should get the deals they deserve. I was having notice over at the Enemy Board yesterday where some were saying that Public Enemy shouldn't be in the minor leagues of the music industry but they forget that Def Jam gave them a garbage contract, so they signed to get their 2002 album distributed through the independent label Koch and got more profit even with low sales, and they now signed to get their new album through Universal, but still have their own independent company Slamjamz so they'll have control of their profits no matter how much it sells, this isn't like sports, the major league contracts are more guaranteed than minor league contracts there, but it's the opposite in music, Hieroglyphics get more profit than most major label rap crews do, yet hardly anybody ever heard of them.

Edited by bigted
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I think it waz just creative differences that pulled them apart. They were fighting their old label for back royalties and went 2 court 2gether a few months ago. I wish they'd do something 2gether again. I got Eric B.'s solo album from the late 90's...i didn't know he could rap...ha ha. The production wazn't bad but it waz a littled dated.

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i would love a new rakim album out, believe that, or a remix of lost and found, last track i heard him on was "The Watcher 2" Featurin Dre and Jay Z, but rakim's verse obvouisly better than Dres and Jay Z.

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Eric B. is a fake, Rakim claimed that he did all the scratches and produced all the tracks that Eric B. got credit for, that's why they ain't together.

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I read it in an interview last year on thaformula.com:

ThaFormula.com - Yeah I always wondered, was Eric B the producer and Rakim the MC?

Rakim - Nah, I did most of the tracks. It was just so much that I wanted to bring to the table as far as some of the beats I used to rhyme to in the park and just so many ideas, so we didn't really have to go outside the table. But back then a lot of people wasn't doing it. Everybody was kind of sticking to they own camp.

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Well Rakim also said in that interview that he was forced to sign with Eric B., he didn't really want to, they were never friends, and they always fought.

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I still don't believe it. 2 me, it sounds like Rakim was almost joking. Eric B. had a name b4 Rakim did. He already started building his name b4 Rakim came in2 the picture. I've got Eric B.'s solo album and the beats, while a lil' outdated for 1995, are reminiscent of the EB+RKM stuff. Eric B wrote all the lyrics with some co-writing from Freddie Foxx. I'd love 2 see this interview.

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Maybe Rakim just said that stuff 'cause he has bitter feelings towards Eric B. now, he also said that Eric B. never wanted to rap before he did that solo album.

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Here's the 1st part of the interview:

"Rakim:

Tha Return Of Tha Mic God

ThaFormula.com - Now I have never really asked this question to many artists because it gets asked by all the magazines, but I got to ask you this one because many of the new heads need to know. What artists if any influenced you to start rockin' the mic?

Rakim - When I came out it was different man because I was a fan. I was influenced by the whole nation of Hip-Hop. From the Fantastic 5, uh, my favorites was the Cold Crush 4, Treacherous 3, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash, Furious 5. I had a lot to pick from. We had the Force MC's back in the day. So Hip-Hop as a whole was just the craziest **** a young teenager from the suburbs or the ghetto or anywhere, it was the craziest **** to experience man. So I think listening to Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, definitely put me on the track that I'm on now.

ThaFormula.com - Now you completely changed the game when you dropped Rah, no one had ever done anything like what you dropped with the "Paid in Full" LP. What made you say, "Yo this is how I'm comin' out?"

Rakim - I think what had a good thing to do with that was my musical influences man. Moms and Pops listened to a lot of different music. Listening to Jazz so much and liking instruments, I also played the Sax when I was young and just knowing the different melodies and the different rhythms that people like John Coltrane was doing on the Sax and Thelonious Monk was doing on the keyboard. They was trying to change Jazz and keep taking to the next level when it was already as crazy as it could get. But I incorporated all them styles and rhythms and ideas of expression and just took it to that level man.

ThaFormula.com - Now many people look at you as the mic god and as the MC who revolutionized MC'ing. Did you ever think that you would be looked at this way comin' up?

Rakim - Nah, not at all man. I didn't have no idea of how things would turn out to be. Just trying to be competitive at that time and trying to be original 'cause at that time you couldn't come out biting nobodies style or sounding like this dude, or using the same whatever all the time. So it was just me trying to be creative and trying to get to that next level.

ThaFormula.com - Prior to releasing the "Paid In Full" LP, who were you runnin' with at the time?

Rakim - Oh yeah. Biz Markie in Long Island back in the day when I was in High School used to come around to the little high school parties, park parties, block parties and all that. He would do the beat box and I would spit rhymes. So yeah it was crazy man. I was in rap since 11 or 12 years old. I owe a big part of that to my brother cause he was listening to Hip-Hop as soon as it came out. Whatever he put on in his box is what I listened to also. Hip-Hop was big.

ThaFormula.com - So your brother was one of the main people that got you into Hip-Hop?

Rakim - Oh, no doubt. What was good about that was that he had people who had equipment. They would bring the turntables to the crib so I got a chance to experience that at a real young age. Where other kids had to watch it from the other side of the ropes or just think about DJ'ing, I had access right there at the crib. So touching that at a young age, it stuck with me.

ThaFormula.com - So how many years before you actually dropped "Paid In Full " did you begin rhymin?

Rakim - Well the album didn't drop till I was in the 12th grade and I been rhymin' since the 4th or 5th grade. The years, I don't even count them no more.

ThaFormula.com - So you wrote the rhymes to "Paid in Full" when you were in high school?

Rakim - Oh no the rhymes for "My Melody" was written about 3 years before it came out. A lot of them rhymes was just rhymes I had on tapes. Those rhymes I used to say at the park and things like that. But everything else came after I signed and started making records.

ThaFormula.com - So then you were about 17 or 18 when you dropped the album?

Rakim - Yeah, no doubt. I turned 17 when I was out doing a show in North Carolina.

ThaFormula.com - It's funny to me how you at 17 years old could write rhymes like that back then, but a kid at 17 in 2003 couldn't write a half decent rhyme?

Rakim - Well that right there is a compliment man. Again man I gotta give that to my influence man comin' up and listening to music so much. My mom she sang Jazz so it wasn't' just cuttin' the radio on in my house. It was therapeutic. It was what we did from day to day, listening to all the music and getting to understand music. All my brothers played musical instruments and my sister sang so it was in my ears. So when Hip-Hop came out it was like, "oh okay this is for me right here." We got a music for the kids, so I quickly adapted to that and enjoyed it from DJ'ing, to writing rhymes, to trying to pop-lock, to spinning on my back, to drawing graffiti on the walls, to rolling your pants leg up. The whole sha-bang man. I enjoyed every angle of Hip-Hop man and its just something I loved from the beginning man.

ThaFormula.com - What about battling Rah?

Rakim - Ohhh! Coming up back then, rappin' was mostly battle rap. You was always tellin' somebody how nice you was, but it was always, uh, we always did it intelligently or with wits or made you think. But there was always battle rhymes coming up in the park. You get on the mic and somebody comes out the crowd and think they could smoke you so its on man.

ThaFormula.com - Did you ever enter any serious MC battles?

Rakim - As far as anything on a big scale, the only thing that I did was I entered a MC contest at Harriet Tubman School. It was brothers like Doug E. Fresh that was hostin' it. It's when Doug had his first single out. It was produced by Mike and Dave of Crash Crew. They used to throw a lot of parties Mike and Dave. Mike and Dave was hosting the joint. Melle Mel came down and did a little somethin' and it was a battle for the kids on the street. It was a lot of Harlem cats in there. Me and my crew came all the way from Long Island. Biz was with us. Biz did the beatbox. I spit a little something and then I had this DJ throw in a couple of beats for me, but most of the battles that I came across myself was like battles in the park. Battles in the high schools, block parties and I'm sure you know everybody got toasted!! It was all good though.

ThaFormula.com - So can you say Rakim that throughout your whole career you never lost a battle comin' up ?

Rakim - Yeah, I would say that man. Nobody never got the best of me man.

ThaFormula.com - Let's talk about the famous Big Daddy Kane situation?

Rakim - Well that was about to happen the same way battles is happening now, but back then what it was, uh, it was we came from a era in the beginning where you know Cold Crush 4, Fantastic 5, Force MC's all these brothers are battlin' and you know it was done the way it was supposed to be done. We came out of that era and started making wax where everybody kind of backed up from battling each other but battle rhymes were still big. Then you got brothers that people felt every time they said something they were referring to somebody and I felt Kane was trying to say some **** under his breath. You know I didn't ask no questions, I just went and did "Let the Rhythm Hit Em" and Eric B's brother played it for him. Kane called the crib and he said, "Yo Rah, niggaz is gassin' it up, they tryin' to get us to battle and whatever." So I said all right and I changed like 6 bars where it kind of got personal but yeah its like I said, the same way its going down now. People hear something and its like, "Yo son, this kid is talkin' about you." This kid will go write some **** about him and then before you know it they battlin' in they records and then it gets personal man and then they sayin' names in records and then it's on.

ThaFormula.com - Why are the battles of today so wack when compared to the battles of the past. I mean the MC's battlin' are wack, the rhymes are wack and the tracks are wack. What do you think happened?

Rakim - I think it's the content man. It's like battlin' back in the day, MC's was trying to really dismantle a rapper and show him how slick he was with his words. Now it's more like "I'll shoot you, Ill kill you." That's not really nothing exciting man. You know we heard it before, we seen it on TV but back in the day we was thinkin' of better and wittier ways to say "Yo I'll rip your arm off your body." We found better ways to say it man and I think that's the difference man. Like Moe Dee and Busy Bee back in the day. That's still a classic.

ThaFormula.com - No doubt that was classic right there. How does Rakim look at a Nelly vs. KRS battle?

Rakim - That don't even match man. It's like a rapper battlin' a R&B cat. Nelly do what Nelly do well man. Let Nelly do that. KRS did what he did well. I don't know what sparked it off. I think it was the little number one thing. Personally I don't think Nelly was pointing at KRS-One as far as I'm number one, but like I said man, brothers hear **** in records and they might feel they speakin' on him.

ThaFormula.com - It's funny how the young MC's of today that only been around for one or two years have no respect for the MC's that paved the way for them to do what they do. Nelly should have just avoided that beef no matter what?

Rakim -I feel you. It's like leave the elders alone nah mean. If they check you, take that as that and walk with it. And see that's what we don't have. We don't have order in Hip-Hop. Its like you look back at R&B awards shows and ****. You know a lot of the old legends be havin' a good time man. They talkin' to each other, they huggin' and kissin'. Everybody didn't get along but for the most part everything was love. But with rap man it's much different man. It's a lot of hatred and ****. It's a lot of niggaz double crossing niggaz man. It's like we gonna let us run this **** and like people say we always **** **** up or we gonna sit down and try to get some order man and try to have some kind of rules man. Otherwise, somebody else is gonna take control of this **** and that's what's happening right now.

ThaFormula.com - Now I speak to a lot of MC's about the Yo! MTV Raps last episode but I wanted to ask you about that episode because you are the MC I remember the most that day that it aired. How do you look at that show man 'cause it was definitely something that you will never see again?

Rakim - Yeah that was crazy. The energy in the room was crazy man. What was crazy about it is like the room was lit dim but you could see everything in the room clear. It was like it wasn't real to have all those MC's in one spot like that. Everybody was chillin' and everybody was there for the cause man. Yo! MTV Raps man, we felt that was ours. Everybody came to the table man, so like I said it was a good thing, plus I mean that showed a little unity there man. So you need more things to you know show more unity instead of just the parties and **** and the celebratin'. We need to get together and like I said man get a little order in this **** man.

ThaFormula.com - If all of you guys were put together in that room again in 2003, would that same unity still be there?

Rakim - Nah, I think this time everybody will be standing in they own little section. Every group will be in their own little spot to their self. That's the way it is man.

ThaFormula.com - Why you think Rah?

Rakim - I don't know why man, but you know what's going on is evident man. It's like we separate ourselves in everything we do. Having a clique in Hip-Hop is good, it shows unity, but at the same time when we turn away and somebody asks you "what's your profession?" and you say "Yo, I'm in the Hip-Hop industry and then we speak on some of our fellow industry mates or whatever, it ain't like it should be man. We got to respect the whole game as far as label mates, industry mates and respect our little culture we got here man. Ain't nobody else gonna do it for us. If we disrespect it they gonna start disrespecting it too.

ThaFormula.com - Did the cancellation of Yo! MTV Raps effect Hip-Hop in any way in your eyes?

Rakim - What it did for a while was it slowed down the view for the viewers as far as what's going on and what's hip and what ain't hip.

ThaFormula.com - Were artists worried at all that they wouldn't be heard anymore?

Rakim - Well me myself, you got to remember I'm an artist that never focused on too much radio play or video play. So you know I'm not gonna say that I didn't Care, 'cause like I said Yo! MTV raps was Yo! MTV raps, it was a window to the world. We was letting them know like I said, what's hip and what ain't. But see at that time it was more I think uh, overseen then. It was like people were more conscious to what they were showin' on Yo! MTV Raps. Anything ain't make it, so watchin' that, people knew what to listen and what not to listen to. But now it's like if you got money they gonna play your video. Back then you had to earn your spot, but now you can just buy your way in and get your video played all day. But when it ended man I thought it of it like "damn man, they just took something else from us," not whether my album would get any play.

ThaFormula.com - Yeah they just snatched that **** away and it was back to Rock n Roll…

Rakim - And see…the thing is they wanna do that now man, but rap is making so much money they don't know how to take the **** from us now man so we got to watch what's going on. We ain't paying attention to how we runnin' this ****. It's like I don't wanna point the finger to no rapper as a whole, but we kind of ****ing up 'bruh. It's ****ed up 'bruh. It's like were not thinkin' about the next generation man.

ThaFormula.com - Yeah Rah, and what's ****ed up is the way the radio and TV have just tried to push the legends out by callin' them old school when it Hasn't been more then 10 years since you were on top of the rap game?

Rakim - I try not to affiliate myself with that **** man. I feel old school is a style. If I rhyme like an old school artist then of course I'm old school. I feel old school is a style you know.

ThaFormula.com - Your first album "Paid In Full" was done with Marley Marl?

Rakim - Yeah, but just "My Melody" and "Eric B For President." We did that at his crib. He had a studio in his crib at the time in Queensbridge.

ThaFormula.com - How was it working with Marley and how come you never did anything on his projects afterwards?

Rakim - Working with him as soon as I came into the game, that **** was good man. I looked up to him before I made records. Marley Marl he's the man on the radio and just to start off there made me feel good man. It's like starting off in Mecca, feel me? So I went to his crib and in the beginning he was trying to get me to rhyme a little more hype. We laugh about that every time we see each other. He would say "Yo Rah, stand up man, stand up and put a little more energy in it." I would say "nah man I wanna do it just like this man." So later on when I seen him and MC Shan, cause Shan was there too, later on I seen him and Shan in a party and you know the joints was on the radio and they was doing good. They called me over to where they was and was like "Yo, we see what you was doing now man." We laugh about that all the time man. It was definitely lovely working with Marley man.

ThaFormula.com - Were you ever close to being on the Symphony or anything like that at all?

Rakim - Nah, I think when they did that when we was out on tour. I think that was '88 or '89. Me and Eric B. back then, we used to go out on tour from June to like February and back then I didn't do nothing with nobody back then. I did a joint with Jody Watley but I was really more focused on doing me.

ThaFormula.com - Many people always wondered why you never did any collaborations with people. It was rare to see you rhymin' with anyone...

Rakim - What it was with me back in the day was I was always quiet and to myself and when I got in the industry I was the same way. Watchin' from afar. Some rappers say one thing on a record and do something else on the street and now we call it (Laughs) "frontin' ass MC's," If they a killer and never bust a gun before. Some of them say they sold crazy coke and never even sold weed before, but back then it was the same **** and I never wanted to get on somebody's record that the world knew was frontin' on wax and fakin' in the street. I took that **** serious man, so I just never wanted nobody's **** to reflect off onto me. It wasn't that I didn't respect them, it was more that some of the world didn't respect some of these dudes. It's like trying to keep you're head up with the world, and sometimes you get with somebody else and they bring you down. So I always wanted to do my own thing man.

ThaFormula.com - Now production wise Rah, how come other then the first LP you guys never did any work with other producers until you decided to go solo?

Rakim - I don't know man. I think back then like me and Marley we did a couple of joints on the solo albums I was working on, but for one reason or another the joints never came out. Like one time we did a couple of joints and the label changed they staff and the 6 or 7 or 8 records that I had got leaked into the streets. That was the New York to Cali joints and a bunch of joints. They even put one on the battle of the beats on the radio and it was just a tape. But for one reason or another some of the joints got leaked out and me and Marley didn't get a chance to hook up again. We were supposed to or would have liked to. I always liked Marley's beats. He bring's the hood out the wax. But back then me and Eric B. was so involved with what we was doing and myself I had a little formula I liked sticking to. A lot of people don't know most of the tracks on the first, second and third album I did.

ThaFormula.com - Yeah I always wondered, was Eric B the producer and Rakim the MC?

Rakim - Nah, I did most of the tracks. It was just so much that I wanted to bring to the table as far as some of the beats I used to rhyme to in the park and just so many ideas, so we didn't really have to go outside the table. But back then a lot of people wasn't doing it. Everybody was kind of sticking to they own camp.

ThaFormula.com - A thing I notice from back in the days you two were making albums to now, is that "Paid in Full," "Follow the Leader," and "Let The Rhythm Hit Em," were 3 completely different albums man. I mean "Paid in Full" could have got major play in the streets and club, where "Follow the Leader" was just a grimy hardcore street album...

Rakim - See what we was doing back in the day was when I did a joint I didn't try to point it at no direction. I didn't say "Yo I want this to be a single, I want this to be on the radio, etc," I just found a beat and whatever the beat felt like, looked like, or sounded like is what I wrote to it. I never thought "Eric B. for President" would be as big as it is. "I Know You Got Soul," I never thought "Paid In Full" would be as big as it is. So a lot of the records that we were doing um, we was doing what we felt. We had no idea what it was gonna do once it hit the streets. So what I was doing was just growing with myself. I never wanted to do the same thing 'cause I came from the school where you had to be original and you had to keep climbing to the next level and keep doing new ****. So I always felt I didn't want to make it sound like "My Melody," or "I Know You Got Soul." It was whatever came out the crate.

ThaFormula.com - Did you ever feel that "Paid in Full" got so popular that you had to come even grimier with the next album?

Rakim - Nah, back then it was like "Paid In Full" was big when it came out. We got a lot of respect on it, but it got bigger and bigger as the years went on. We didn't know how big it was when we did "Follow the Leader" and myself man, I like to stay numb man. I don't like to get big headed so I never swell on just one thing. We got a lot of success on that, that's good and I'ma take that and I'ma build off of that, but I never said "yeah man, I did it man, "Paid in Full" that's it man, I ain't gotta make another album yo, that's it, matter of fact I'ma make every album from now on just like that." I didn't get like that, so I just tried to keep doing my thang and see if I could make another classic album.

ThaFormula.com - Then you brought out "Let The Rhythm Hit Em," did that album do what you expected, and did you notice that Hip-Hop started changing a lot more at that point as far as the type of Hip-Hop people wanted?

Rakim - No it didn't do what we expected, and yeah no doubt it was starting. At that time I think it was getting like hook orientated. More catchy records nah mean? At the same time at that point I was more on just doing joints that I felt that I wanted to do. If everybody was going right I went left. Everybody was talkin' about blue, I'ma talk about black. So I never wanted to follow the trends that everybody did. At the same time 'till this day with me, I dropped a couple of albums and some of the beats for the entire album wasn't what everybody was doing at the time, but at the end of the day if everybody liked what I was putting down on the mic, then I'm able to do another album. So it was never like did what everybody else is doing and all that ****. I always wanted to do me.

ThaFormula.com - Now many people have wondered if Large Professor was involved in the "Let The Rhythm Hit Em" LP. Was he?"

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