Rap veteran Rakim recently shared his input on the state of hip-hop and why despite the ever-changing pace in urban culture he refuses to adapt himself through peer pressure.
Asked about adapting to the times, Rakim explained his view of hip-hop’s diversity.
“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)
Recently, the rap veteran revealed his interest in rappers like Lupe Fiasco and B.o.B.
“It’s hard,” Rakim says. “The conscious level is definitely low and the substance of the music is so much lighter, but you have to understand the game is young in new places. It’s still growing…We really need some of that consciousness, that fly on the wall that watches over us and comments. I like B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco a lot, they’re both exploring the music, but I don’t see a lot of artistry out there.” (The Guardian)
Back in June, Ra talked about the average life expectancy of an emcee.
“It’s a blessing to be in the game this long and to have your work recognized after 25 years,” Rakim said in an interview. “It’s a big thing. The MC’s lifespan in the game is maybe seven years, 10 years, 12 years, so to be around and to get respect at this point is a blessing.” (MTV)
In 2009, he talked to SOHH about when rappers should call it quits.
“Yeah, I think what’s happening is, rappers are becoming, especially for people that love a rapper, rap and hip-hop come to party,” Rakim explained. “You can’t just put it down. It’s not like sports where you know, you lose a step. You can lose skills in rapping of course, but it’s a little different man and I think sitting back and watching the R&B genre, you got, at any awards show and you see brothers like Al Green come out and tear it down. It’s longevity in R&B and I think if it’s done right, to an extent, I think we can have a little longer gevity in hip-hop, it don’t just have to be a young music anymore. You got people like myself, I’m in my 40’s now, early, early early like real early. I just touched 40, but still, I don’t plan on stop listening to rap anytime soon and I don’t plan to stop rhyming no time soon and it’s that tug-of-war with the fans.” (SOHH)
Check out a recent Rakim interview below: