On Friday, November 20, I had the esteemed pleasure of stumbling upon yet another amazing FREE concert at the APPLE Store in Soho.
I fell in LOVE with hip-hop when I first heard “Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em”. DJ Technical did a great job of hyping up the crowd with classic hip-hop tracks from Tribe Called Quest, MOB DEEP, EPMD, and a host of others. RAKIM illuminated as he walked on the stage.
It has been ten years since Rakim has released an album to the public so I was on the edge of my seat awaiting to hear if the GOD MC still had the juice.
He started off with a retrospective of his earlier hits. I believe all of SOHO heard the crowd go BANANAS when he performed Juice. Rakim sounded just as fresh and fly as he did twenty years ago.
He gave the audience a few snippets from the new album. The lyrical content is even stronger than his earlier music.
In 2009 Billboard Magazine asked Rakim about the significance the title of the album. Rakim responded :
“The seals are from the Bible—Revelations and the coming of the Apocalypse. But Islam, Judaism, Christianity—all have a version of the same events. The Lion of Judah breaks the seven seals one by one, each imparting knowledge and inflicting catastrophe, ending with seven trumpets announcing the end of Times. After the Apocalypse, God rises from the ashes to recreate the Kingdom, taking only the greatest elements from the past with them. When you look at Hip-Hop, I want to do that: to spit fire and take our best from the ashes to build our kingdom; to recognize all the regional styles, conscious lyrics, the tracks, underground, mainstream, the way we treat each other. Lose the garbage and rebuild our scene. I’ve always tried to insert consciousness and spirituality in my records, interpreting the writings of all cultures and religions and how they apply to life in modern times”
On Friday night I had the chance to speak one on one with the GOD MC.
Nightly Candy: “Is there one song on the album that is close to your heart that you want the readers to know about?”
RAKIM: “Message in a Song featuring Destiny Griffin (Track # 10) is a song that I feel is for the hood and for the streets. It’s for the people who may need that option where they can make that choice. It’s for the youth that’s going through what they are going through and might need someone to tell them that they ‘aint gotta do it that way. The track is also dear to me because my daughter is on it. I feel like with my daughter on the track that it is another link to the youth. It’s a good song and it was good vibes doing it so I hope that when people listen to it they get what we felt when we made the song.”
It was an honor to interview Rakim. I hope to have a chat with him again when he drops his next album.