Guest Star: "First & Foremost, Rakim Is The Blueprint For Modern Rap"

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 4:00PM

Written by SOHH for Cormega

[After bringing the heat by surprising fans with an unexpected performance during rap veteran Rakim's Central Park, New York show last Sunday, Cormega relives the experience.]

First and foremost, Rakim is the blueprint for modern rap. Period. There's no debate to it. Before Rakim, it was "Peter Piper picked peppers, but Run rocked rhymes," sh*t like that. That's what was up. But that was simple. Rakim changed rap. If there's no Rakim, if you erase Rakim from rap, then the whole landscape is different. That's the respect I got for him. That's number one.

I had opened up for Rakim at the Apollo back in the days. Maybe 1991. This is when I was wild and up in the streets. But I always had a relationship with Ra but Ra is one of the dudes who you know how it is. He's the incognito king. So Sunday's moment, I was there on the strength of my man Supreme Magnetic who's also a legend in his own field.

Supreme told me to come and I was definitely coming. I was not going to miss a Rakim show. I'm a hip-hop fan first and foremost. Besides 'Cormega,' I'm a fan. I came just to see the show and then they were like, "We're gonna let you do a joint." And I was like, "OK, cool." I originally was going to do a freestyle and then Preme said dude had "Affirmative Action." And I was like, "OK, cool, that makes sense because it's one of the more popular records I was on."

I guess Rakim was on point with how everything was going down. The beat started playing and for him to let me rock is one thing but for Rakim to be doing the ad-libs while I'm rapping?! I'm still speechless. I was like, "Wow." I can't even explain it.

First of all, I didn't even know Rakim knew the words. My words. So for Rakim to be ad-libbing with me, I was like you can't tell me nothing. I felt like I was on top of the world. That was crazy. I could die right now.

That moment right there made me realize the respect I got from certain artists.

Check out the performance below:

An underground and critical favorite, Cormega was the rare hardcore rapper to win praise from all directions, and while he never quite crossed over like some of his New York City peers, he maintained a respectable independence over the years nonetheless, self-releasing his work on the Legal Hustle label. Born Cory McKay, Cormega grew up in the same Queensbridge housing projects that were home to a generation of rappers, most notably Nas, Mobb Deep, AZ, andTragedy Khadafi, and a previous generation that famously includedMarley Marl and the Juice Crew.

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