Rap veteran Rakim recently revealed what hip-hop artists have remained on his radar as of late including moguls Jay-Z and Eminem, as well as crews such as The LOX.
Although considered one of hip-hop’s greatest emcees by many, Rakim said he looks forward to seeing newcomers take the crown.
“I’m still a fan. I love hip-hop. I’ve got a wide range of different artists [that I respect]. I was an underground artist, but the underground status was successful,” Rakim said in an interview. “Coming from where I came from to see where rap is now, now artists are selling from a million to eight million copies. It’s a little scarce today, but I’m a fan of watching different rappers take the torch and run with it. I’m a big fan of Jay-Z’s whole movement. I’m a big fan of Eminem. I’m a big fan of people like The LOX, Wu-Tang Clan, and different rappers like that. Just watching from afar, knowing where it came from, to see where it’s at now and see how rap impacts the world is unbelievable. It’s a good feeling to see that it’s still a major genre in music.” (Complex)
Last summer, Rakim opened up about refusing to tailor his style to today’s modern hip-hop stars.
“You care about it, but you don’t let it do nothing to you,” he explained in an interview. “It’s rap, it’s an album, some people will like it, some people won’t. Hip-hop is so diverse and mixed right now, you have a lot of fans who like radio-friendly hip-hop. I don’t do that. You have a lot of fans who like pop hip-hop. I don’t do that. You got a lot of fans that like different styles — I’m from my era, I’m known for doing a certain kind of music. I don’t want to switch off and do what Lil Wayne is doing. That ain’t Rakim. I can’t switch off and do what Wiz Khalifa’s doing. That’s not Rakim. It’s hard trying to keep up with what’s going on and still keep your integrity and keep your logo and your brand of who you are with these times. I made a statement. [I] definitely wanted to bring about that awareness with a conscious album.” (Splash-Mag)
A few weeks prior, Boston rapper Termanology told SOHH he has plans to work with Rakim.
“Bun B has a contest. It was a Red Bull contest for an emcee battle. He did it in Boston and so he had called me out to do an interview for his show and when I went there, Rakim was one of the judges. So with me just chilling with Bun B backstage, I ended up bumping into Rakim and his manager. They were mad cool and we started chopping it up with him. Rakim told me he was down to do a record. He was like, ‘Yeah, so let’s do something’. He gave me his number and I told him I wanted to do it on a DJ Premier beat and he said, “H*ll yeah.” So hopefully it’s going to go down.” (SOHH)
Recently, New York rap veteran Cormega told SOHH how much of an impact Rakim has had on hip-hop.
“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.” (SOHH Guest Star)
Check out a recent Rakim interview below: