The rapper Rakim called “most underrated”
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The rapper Rakim called "most underrated"

Rakim is a highly-respected emcee and made an indelible mark on hip-hop alongside Eric B with his debut album Paid In Full. As part of a duo, the two changed hip-hop for the better and advanced the culture in a highly significant way.

Rakim is widely considered a lyrical pioneer, and when Paid In Full was released, it changed the course of lyricism in hip-hop. Rakim made it more complex, broke the mould of the basic rhyme schemes and set a precedent for MCs to come. 

With Eric B by his side, the singles Rakim released were catchy, with outstanding production matching the fantastic and ground-breaking lyricism. Following the release of their LP, all over the East Coast, kids growing up attempted to imitate Rakim.

While he hasn’t released new material in over a decade, the impact of his early work with Eric B changed the course of history, and it still stands up all these years later. That said, it is always interesting to hear a lyricist name their favourite artists.

In an interview with rap veteran Kxng Crooked I on his legendary Crook’s Corner podcast, Rakim (real name William Griffin) was asked who he considers to be the top five rappers ever, to which he responded, “Gotta start from the beginning cause without them I would not be who I am. That’s Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz. That’s old school. And then you got Eminem, one of my favourite MCs, Jay-Z, another my favourite and a few more cats. And one of the most underrated MCs is Black Thought.”

Griffin has always professed his love for Jay-Z and, in an interview with HipHopDX, expressed, “Big Ups to Jay. If he’s living life by those lyrics, he’s probably doing it better than anyone out there. It’s a blessing to hear accolades and a blessing to give them back.”

He concluded, “Elevation and expansion have always been at the core of Hip Hop, the core to any art form and a blueprint for personal growth, so understand that our history and universal consciousness is the foundation that born you, but build your own castle on top of it.”

You can watch Rakim on Crook’s Corner in the video below.