News: RAP ON THRILLER: "Michael Jackson Had A Big Impact On My Life" -Rakim

Thursday, Dec 3, 2009 3:50PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

In recognition of this week's Thriller anniversary, SOHH spoke with rap veteran Rakim to get his thoughts on the late Michael Jackson's iconic album.

For Rakim, it was the album's content which served as a blueprint for what an entertainer should provide fans.

"I grew up off Mike, man, being a young music lover," Rakim told SOHH. "The Thriller album, man, was like a prototype of what an entertainer is supposed to bring to the table. And we all know Mike was a real -- a big entertainer. So he always did it big. But the way he put it together and the vision that he had and the way he brought it to the videos, to me, it was like a prototype to how an entertainer could really bring a project to the table. Mike had a big impact on my life, you know what I mean? Coming up when I was small, there was no rap, it was just R&B. My family was musically orientated, I love music man and Mike was like, he was a teenager's star. He was a young kid star...The kid's had Michael Jackson. We had the Mike Jackson cartoons, I feel like he [was for] the kids, grown-ups loved his music too but we related to him." (SOHH)

Aside from its content, Thriller is known for selling over 40 million copies.

Nobody could have prepared anybody for the success of Thriller, since the magnitude of its success was simply unimaginable -- an album that sold 40 million copies in its initial chart run, with seven of its nine tracks reaching the Top Ten (for the record, the terrific "Baby Be Mine" and the pretty good ballad "The Lady in My Life" are not like the others). This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul -- expanding the approach to have something for every audience. (All Music)

Jackson's unexpected passing last June inspired Mase to start rapping again.

"I'm just excited man," Mase said in an interview. "I'm excited. Mike passed away, it just lit the fire up under me, made me wanna go to the studio and do something. So I asked my little nephew, 'Who is the hottest thing out there?' He said Drake and I said I got to see what record he got and when I listened to it I said 'Okay, I'ma jump on the joint.' And I called Suge up and he was like, 'Please let me get that record, please let me get that record.' So I said 'Who you gonna give it to?' And he said you gotta give that to DJ Self. [laughs] If you play it, [you'll get more records from me.] If you play it, you know I stay with a couple things under my sleeve, I just need some place to play 'em. Big shout-outs to Diddy, shout-outs to 50 [Cent], big shout-outs to the whole Harlem, Cam, Jim and all them." (Power 105.1)

Game linked with Diddy and Chris Brown for the Jackson tribute, "Better On The Other Side."

"You're Michael Jackson, I'm Michael Jackson," Game raps. "We all Michael Jackson, I guess what I'm asking, is everybody bow their head for a legend/Don't breathe for a second, now let air out, grab the hand of somebody you care about/So you can hear my message, hear my confession/Everybody tell Usher, I seen a moonwalk/Guess the young Thriller touched him/He touched me, like he touched you." ("Better On The Other Side")

Check out Rakim speaking with SOHH about Michael Jackson below:

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