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Long Island, New York, USA (1986 – present)

Rakim (pronounced rah-KIM) (Born William Michael Griffin Jr. on January 28, 1968 in Long Island, New York, USA) is an American rapper and pioneer of the musical genre of hip hop. He is consistently cited as one of the most skilled (and top amongst the most influential) MCs of all time due to his exceptional flow and complex lyrical craftsmanship, he revolutionized hip-hop lyricism with his complex flow, elaborate metaphors and rapid delivery. Together with Eric B, he released a number of classic albums between 1987 and 1992. To date his most successful album is ‘The 18th Letter,’ released in 1997 as his solo debut album.

Griffin is the nephew of American R&B singer and actress Ruth Brown. He grew up in Wyandanch, New York, and became involved in the New York hip hop scene at a young age. Eric B brought him to Marley Marl’s house to record “Eric B. is President.” At the time Griffin was fresh out of high school and on his way to college, but he decided to forgo higher education and instead chose to record with Eric B. Leshaun

When Griffin turned 16, he joined The Nation of Gods and Earths (also known as the 5 Percent Nation) and changed his name to Rakim Allah.

In 1986, Rakim started to work with New York-based producer-DJ Eric B. The duo — known as Eric B & Rakim — is widely regarded as among the most influential and groundbreaking of hip-hop groups. The duo’s first single, “Eric B. Is President” (#48, 1986) b/w “My Melody,” was a success and got the duo a contract with the fledgling Island Records sub-label 4th & B’way. The duo’s next single, the smash “I Know You Got Soul,” sparked early debate on the legality of unauthorized, uncredited sampling when James Brown sued to prevent the duo’s use of a fragment of his music.


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  • IBlewCastles

    He's very balancing for the mind...

    16 Feb 7:55pm Reply
  • alefspfc


    25 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Amir-AA

    dope as heeeeeellllllll

    8 Oct 2014 Reply
  • acauap

    him pac and nas, the real goats

    2 Aug 2014 Reply
  • Pentiik

    King of real RAP !

    14 Feb 2014 Reply
  • High-Tech

    HopsinStan - this man truly sucks. [][] Lol.. Troll is obvious, obvious is troll.

    5 Feb 2014 Reply
  • A5troBlack

    Cant get into this guy at all, I only like 2 songs which is Paid in Full and Microphone fiend other than that his music sounds dated to me. I respect his influence on the game tho.

    4 Feb 2014 Reply
  • ketamineface

    Rakim is sick, one of the greatest.

    26 Jan 2014 Reply
  • Gaffes

    Simply the most talented MC of all time.

    20 Dec 2013 Reply
  • DickBigems

    KRS's skills are a little overrated...

    5 Dec 2013 Reply
  • jussi_m

    v Sure, great as in highly influential and stuff but not skills wise like Rakim or KRS in my book

    30 Nov 2013 Reply
  • DickBigems

    @jussi_m - Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, LL Cool J, Schoolly D...

    12 Nov 2013 Reply
  • jussi_m

    I think KRS was the first great MC, but I'm not exactly sure who started earlier of these two..

    15 Oct 2013 Reply
  • SimonePerrota

    v Exactly...

    29 Jul 2013 Reply
  • Music-Ninja

    Rakim was THE first great MC, but that doesn't mean he's the best ever.

    29 Jul 2013 Reply
  • SimonePerrota

    I'm aware of Rakim's (impressive) attributes but is he really the master of all them? I think he's been at least equalled in certain departments... Also, when I say dude's solo albums are overrated (some people seem to think this words equates to "it's actually shit") that doesn't mean I'm saying they're subpar, far from it... There's just a bit too much style over substance and self-worship for my taste... I guess most people tend to overlook a few too many simplistic/dated beats when they're familiar with Rakim or know what he's about as an artist. Rakim still very much embodies an era when production was largely secondary to rapping. Unforunately that doesn't excuse the shoddy work on The Seventh Seal...

    23 Jul 2013 Reply
  • SimonePerrota

    @david-1992 - "You'll never see that talent if you keep convincing yourself he isn't nice" ...more or less putting words in my mouth (where do I say, or imply, that Rakim isn't nice?) isn't an ideal way to prove me wrong... How you can find the his solo joints superior on balance (especially production-wise) to the ones with Eric B. is truly beyond me. Paid In Full is iconic for its sound - you simply cannot say that about The 18th Letter of The Master. "it's as if the purists and east coast heads feel they're obligated to put him on a pedestal." <- that's the shit you should be focusing you attention on. It irritates me when people harp on about rhyme schemes and technical proficiency above all else - as if aspects like quality of songwriting, beat selection, overall presentation etc. have no business determining the outcome... Your reaction is a knee-jerk one and sort of proves the point I made in my initial post. Perhaps you'd care to read it (properly) again...

    23 Jul 2013 Reply
  • HopsinStan

    this man truly sucks.

    20 Jul 2013 Reply
  • DickBigems

    @david-1992 - SimonePerrota is a friend of mine and I'm pretty sure he's heard Ra's entire discog, front to back. His solo work just isn't groundbreaking as his earlier work is, and I think Rakim's lyrics from his later albums with Eric B are basically on par with his solo stuff. The memorablility and influence of his earlier lyrics from Paid in Full hold more merit to me. The songs on his solo work just are generally less notable. Sonically, you could even say his earlier work with Eric B is more interesting, there's more variations and things like that in songs like "Paid in Full" and "Eric B. is President".

    16 Jul 2013 Reply
  • david-1992

    @SimonePerrota his solo shit is UNDERrated, you ask the majority of hip-hop heads what their top 5 Rakim tracks are and 9 out of 10 people will give you 5 tracks he did with Eric B. The beats on his solo tracks are better, the lines are better, rhyme schemes are more complex. He put himself on the pedestal by being nicer than most MCs. Others need to step up. The more you listen to him the more you realize his talent. You'll never see that talent if you keep convincing yourself he isn't nice. Listen to his albums The Master and The 18th Letter from start to finish. Listen to the lyrics and rhyme schemes carefully. In hip-hop a 'whole verse' is when an MC uses one rhyme throughout an entire verse. Name me 1 hip-hop track when someone uses 3 whole verses in one song, check Rakim-It's the R

    15 Jul 2013 Reply
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