Rakim is a renowned name in hip-hop, and although he had a relatively short-term commercial success, he impacted the culture profoundly with his lyricism and, alongside Eric B, his debut studio album, Paid In Full, is considered a classic to this day. However, one rapper idolised the artists so much growing up that he even waited for hours outside the emcee’s dressing room at a concert he had in the Bay area in 1989.
Following the success of Paid In Full in 1987 and Follow The Leader in 1988, Rakim was invited to join LL Cool J on the US leg of his 1989 ‘Nitro World Tour’ where he performed at the Alameda County Coliseum Arena in Oakland. Public Enemy, Eazy E and Too $hort were also on the bill.
It was at this concert that the New York musician (real name William Griffin) would meet a future star and head of a movement. During this period, 2Pac was living in Oakland. However, it wasn’t Pac who was waiting outside the dressing room; instead, it was his mentor, Shock G.
Shock G is known to many as the founder of Digital Underground and the individual who discovered Tupac Shakur. The ‘Dear Mama’ musician was a roadie and hypeman for the collective before he shot to fame. However, Shock G was integral to his rise and, although Digital Underground may have been gimmicky for many hardcore hip-hop fans, he was a passionate fan of Rakim.
Following the emcee’s passing in 2021, many figures, including Ice Cube, Chuck D, El-P and others, took to social media to sing his praises, but the iconic mixtape DJ J. Period took to X/Twitter to let fans know about Shock G’s love for Rakim.
In a tribute, DJ wrote, “Rakim told me the story: In 1989, a kid had waited outside his dressing room in Oakland for an hour after a show, hoping to give him this giant cartoon. The ‘kid’ was Shock G but Digital Underground hadn’t come out yet. Three months later, ‘Doowutchyalike’ blew up.”
He continued, “Rakim kept that drawing on his studio wall as inspiration…for [at least] twenty years. Let that sink in. The greatest MC that ever lived kept Shock G on his wall for inspiration…to this day.”
You can see the giant cartoon of Rakim drawn by Shock G as a teen below.