On the strength of some genre-defining albums and a flow that birthed a thousand MC’s, Rakim has a clear claim to the status of one of hip-hop’s leading lights. But over a 25-plus-year career, and with a dwindling output that has seen him drop only three albums in the past decade and a half, there are a lot of unsolved questions and mysteries surrounding the original God MC—after all, what happened to his long-rumored and greatly-hyped album with Dr. Dre and Aftermath Records?
What’s the status of his legendary relationship with Eric B.? And, of course, the kicker—will Rakim be dropping a followup to 2009′s The Seventh Seal, which featured the likes of Maino, Styles P, Jadakiss and Busta Rhymes? On the eve of the 40th anniversary of DJ Kool Herc’s seminal block party in the Bronx—which he spoke about alongside DJ Premier, Big Daddy Kane, and others—Rakim hopped on the phone with XXL to answer all of those questions and more, how he keeps things fresh in 2013, and why he’d like to work with Timbaland and Pharrell. —B.J. Steiner (@doczeus)
According to recent reports, Pharrell is in the studio with one of his favorite artists. Rakim is said to be at work on a 2013 album. Iconic New York emcee Rakim has been performing his classic album recorded with former partner Eric B., Paid In Full extensively in recent years. Ra has performed the 1986 4th & Broadway release alone as well as with The Roots since 2010, and made a stop with Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh earlier this month in Detroit, Michigan.
There, Rakim spoke with The Detroit Free Press. The newspaper reports that presently Rakim is in the studio with Pharrell, and plans to release a single before the end of the year. “Rakim is working on new material with Pharrell Williams and hopes to have a single out by the end of the year, with an album to follow in 2013. But Saturday’s show is about celebrating “Paid in Full” and its lasting impact. “I definitely want to showcase that album, as a tribute to that the fans that love it,” he says. “Hopefully we can kind of rebuild that energy we had back then and bring it back.”
“Surprisingly, this was the first time Pharrell got to meet Rakim, great conversation. Just in case you’re wondering what Pharrell got on his feet, it’s our Bee Line collab with Timberland and it’s another first since they have never done army green leather before.”
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