Who's The Best MC? Biggie, Jay Z or Nas...#4

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2013

With the #4 pick on my top 20 MC's EVER list I'm going with Mr. Lyrics of Fury, Rakim Allah. I really don't even know whee to begin with Rakim...I mean, he's Rakim! I think the first time I heard the god, I was in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn and Mr. Magic played "My Melody" and I was left in awe for a number of reasons. I just had never heard anything like it. Rakim's rhymes were perfect. I mean FLAWLESS. There were literally hip hop quotables ALL over this song. And then the whole "I'll take 7 MC's and put 'em in a line..." line was flat out as historical 25 years ago as it is now. The next thing I heard from the god was "Eric B. Is President" and I'm left in awe...again! "I came in the door/I said it before/I never let the mic magnetize me no more." Really? "You caught an attitude/you need food to eat up, I'm scheming like a demon on the couch with my feet up/you screamed I'm lazy/you must be crazy/thought I was a donut, she tried to glaze me." Really?!?!?! After hearing these two songs ALONE I knew I was riding with this dude and I was ALWAYS on the edge of my seat to see what this dude was coming with next. And next up would be a song that I may actually like better then "Eric B is President" AND "My Melody" which is "I Know You Got Soul." Which of course, came with more quotables, "They put it on tape, and in the city I test it/then on the radio the R's request it", "whoever's out of hands, I'm a give 'em handles/light 'em up and blow them out like candles" and "even other states come right in exact, it ain't where you're from, it's where you're at." Come on ya'll, these are some of the dopest quotables in hip hop history and they're only from 3 songs! And when the album "Paid In Full" dropped it was a wrap...it got 5 mics EASY and I didn't even know what the concept of 5 mics was! I just knew this was some of the best hip hop I'd EVER heard. The beats were ALL sick, the rhymes were sick, it was just hip hop perfection. Two of the funniest stories about this album is when I first brought it I actually thought Eric B. was Rakim (I guess I thought a dude named Rakim would have cornrows - remember these dudes didn't have videos for their first 3 songs) and I would spend everyday the ENTIRE summer looking at the back of the album cover and writing down all of the gear the cats were rocking and then going to downtown Brooklyn and Albee Square Mall pricing how much everything was so when I went back to Philly for school (I spent every Summer from 3rd grade to 8th grade in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn) I could cop everything. (yeah right lol)

Now, I'm sure I'm in the minority with this next statement but I wasn't a big fan of "Follow the Leader." I mean, I thought it was cool but it was NO WHERE close to their previous stuff. But when I heard "Microphone Fiend"?!?!?! Now I was back to being in awe again. Maaaaan...I honestly can't explain how freaking dope "Microphone Fiend" is. "After 12, I'm worst then a gremlin/feed me hip hop and I'll start trembling"?!?!?! There are those quotables again. But on a whole I can't front, I wasn't a big fan of the "Follow the Leader" album. Again it was dope but like 3000 said "you're only as funky as your last cut" but in between albums we at least got a nice 'lil treat with "What's On Your Mind" off the "House Party 2" soundtrack.

I remember me and my team were watching the Rap Mania concert and when Eric B. and Rakim hit the stage and the beat for "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" dropped....maaaaaan, it felt like old times again. I don't know if it was seeing them dudes live or hearing "Let the Rhythm..." for the first time but I hoped with this new album I'd be back on my Eric B. and Ra jawn. But ummm...it didn't turn out like that. Off "Let The Rhythm..." the only jawns I was really feeling was "The Ghetto" and "Mahoghany." Which was STILL a far cry from the classic we got with "Paid In Full" and do I really even need to talk about the "Don't Sweat the Technique" album? Naw...I didn't think so. At this point in the game, the god MC seemed to be falling in line with the other greats from his time, Kane and KRS. All them cats seem to be basically making albums...to just be making albums. And just like with my #5 pick, who has to swoop in to help save the day? None other then my #1 producer EVER Primo. I remember the exact place I was when I first heard "It's Been A Long Time." I was on Broad Street with my peoples L.G. and Eric about to past the Logan train station headed down South Street and Power 99 played it and we were all in the whip feeling like when Jordan came back from retirement and dropped the double nickle at the Garden. Rakim's first solo album "The 18th Letter" was no "Paid In Full" but to me it was Rakim's best output of music as a whole since "Follow the Leader." Rakim went on to release "The Master" and "The Seventh Seal" but to be honest, I didn't even check for either of those jawns. But to me, it doesn't matter how Rakim's career ended, it's all about what he did for the game and for that I'll always be grateful to the god. Salute.

My Favorite Rakim Quotable:
"I was a fiend before I became a teen
I melted microphone instead of cones of ice cream
Music orientated so when hip-hop was originated
Fitted like pieces of puzzles, complicated
Cause I grabbed the mic and try to say, yes y’all
They tried to take it, and say that I’m too small
Cool, ’cause I don’t get upset
I kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug, then I jet
Back to the lab ...without a mic to grab
So then I add all the rhymes I had
One after the other one, then I make another one
To dis the opposite then ask if the brother’s done
I get a craving like I fiend for nicotine
But I don’t need a cigarette, know what I mean?
I’m raging, ripping up the stage and
Don’t it sound amazing ’cause every rhyme is made and
Thought of, cuz it’s sort of...an addiction,
Magnatized by the mixing
Vocals, vocabulary, your verses, you’re stuck in
The mic is a drano, volcanoes erupting,
Rhymes overflowing, gradually growing
Everything is written in the cold, so it can coin-
Cide, my thoughts to guide,
48 tracks to slide
The invincible, microphone fiend Rakim
Spread the word, ’cause I’m in
A smooth operator operating correctly,
But back to the problem, I gotta habit,
You can’t solve it, silly rabbit
The prescription is a hypertone that’s thorough when
I fiend for a microphone like herion
Soon as the bass kicks, I need a fix
Gimme a stage and a mic and a mix
And I’ll put you in a mood or is it a state of
Unawareness, beware, it’s the reanamator
A menace to a microphone, a lethal weapon
An assasinator, if the people ain’t stepping
You see a part of me that you never seen
When I’m fiending for a microphone, I’m the microphone fiend
After 12, I’m worse that a gremlin
Feed me hip-hop and I start trembling
The thrill of suspense is intense, your horrified
But this ain’t the cinemas of tales from the darkside,
By any means necessary, this is what has to be done
Make way ’cause here I come
My DJ cuts material
Grand imperial
It’s a must that I bust any mic you’re hand to me,
It’s inherited, it’s runs in the family
I wrote the rhyme that broke the bull’s back
If that don’t slow ’em up, I carry a full pack
Now I don’t want to have to let off, you should of kept off
You didn’t keep the stage warm, step off
Ladies and gentleman, you’re about to see
A past time hobby about to be
Take it to the maximum, I can’t relax see, i’m
Hype as a hyperchrondriac ’cause the rap be one-
Hell of a antidote, something you can’t smoke
More than dope, you’re trying to move away but you can’t, you’re broke
More than cracked up, you should have backed up
For those who act up need to be more than smacked up
Any entertainer, I got a torture chamber
One on one and I’m the remainder
So close your eyes and hold your breath,
And I’m a hit cha wit the blow of death
Before you go, you’ll remember you seen
The fiend of a microphone, I’m the microphone fiend."

"Microphone Fiend" - Eric B. and Rakim

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