Jay-Z is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, and this is partially to do with his powerful lyricism. Using complex rhyme schemes and punching metaphors, his wordplay is unparalleled. However, the emcee (real name Shawn Carter) had lyrical influences of his own as a teen growing up in Brooklyn, and one of his heroes was the legendary Rakim.
Rakim was a lyrical pioneer and when changed the course of lyricism in hip-hop. He was the first emcee to break the mould of basic rhyme schemes where everyone had to rhyme the last word of every sentence. He introduced verses intertwined with different cadences and rhymes that sat in the pockets of the offbeat, culminating in an unmatched dynamism.
Jay-Z took from this and built upon it. Carter was heavily inspired by Rakim, and Jay-Z recently thanked Rakim for “paving the roads.” when the two New York icons recently crossed paths backstage at the Grammy Awards.
Both hailing from the same city and known as lyrical pioneers, the pair were overjoyed when they ran into each other behind-the-scenes and, as his predecessor, Jay-Z paid the utmost respect to Rakim for his impact on lyricism in hip-hop.
The Blueprint rapper praised the ‘Paid In Full’ artist and exclaimed, “Look at the god! Thank you, brother. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the roads you paved.” Rakim reciprocated the sentiment.
The 1980s legend had performed earlier that night at the Yankees stadium in the Bronx for the HipHop50 event that was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. The ‘Know The Ledge’ rhymer was joined by the likes of LL Cool J and other golden-age artists to rejoice.
The Grammy’s released a ’50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop’ playlist in which both artists were featured alongside legends such as Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel, Roxanne Shante, Run-DMC, Biggie Smalls and many more.