Sh&t Kil Started On Twitter...The Rakim Edition

Posted On Wednesday, March 11, 2020

If you follow me on twitter then you know I can sometimes start some sh%t here and there. Nah...let me keep it funky, I start sh%t EVERYDAY! But I SWEAR to you I'm never trying to. So I figured, let me start documenting all of this sh%t I start. So for the first piece of "Sh%t Kil Started on Twitter..." we've got the Rakim Edition. Last week on my podcast Apt. 5B I asked the question, if Rakim is the god MC and since 90% of MC's say they look to him as the source of the their rhyme styles, why hasn't he been able to drop a dope album in the past 20 years? Now, I'm positive that someone would say, "what do you mean? If Rakim dropped an album tomorrow I would listen." And guess what? So would I. But the REAL question isn't would anyone listen but  would anyone be "hype" to listen? Because there's a BIG difference between just "listening" to an album and being "hype" to listen to it. Hell, I'll listen to about damn near any & everything but being "hype" for an album? Now, that's another story.

Now since 74% of twitter is illiterate, most folk replied to my question by giving me an oral history on Rakim which I so kindly responded by saying "I don't need an oral dissertation on Rakim, I was there" but there were a couple of folk who actually attempted to answer the question. Some folk said that you can't expect someone from the 80's to still put out incredible music 30 years later. Some folk said that Rakim is out of touch and he wouldn't want to change who he is to sell records. Others said that no one would want to hear what an artists 50+ years old would even have to say. And to some extent...I guess any or all of them could be right. The problem is, I just don't agree with any of 'em.

For me, I can understand someone thinking that an artist from the 80's wouldn't be able to still make dope music 30+ years later but as a producer I believes that as long as your pen is sharp, that you should always be able to make dope music. I couldn't understand folk who said Rakim was out of touch because I don't think anybody wants Rakim to try to keep up with the joneses and talk about coke rap like Busta did on West's "Brossface Bripler" or to start mumbling over trap beats for the youth. And as far as no one wanting to hear a 50+ year old MC spit, I can't relate to that because as long as you give me dope music I could care less how old you are. I don't think most folk realize that Guru was 28 when he dropped "Words I Manifest" back in '88. Or that he was 33 when "Hard 2 Earn" dropped or that he was 42 when "Da Ownerz" dropped. Why didn't anyone realize that? Simple, because the music was dope. If you make dope music, no one cares about anything else. So since I don't believe any of the things folks told me were hampering Rakim from making a dope albums nowadays, we're right back to my OG question.

Now if folk would allow me to put on my A&R hat for a sec I'll breakdown MY opinion on why I don't think Rakim has made a dope album recently AND then I'll also break down how I DO think he could make a dope album in 2020. I think the main thing holding Rakim back from making a dope album is the fact that a lot of the MCs Ra birthed have learned his style and quiet possibly gotten doper than him. It's the age ole story of the young grasshopper who eventually gets better then the sensei. It's happened to the best of them. There was a time when Run was the NASTIEST MC walking the planet earth. But then came LL. And for a while they were neck and neck. But then eventually came KRS. Then Rakim. Then Kane. Then G Rap. And then we all basically forgot all about Run who had done the exact same thing to the ones that came before him. The Busy Bee's, the Kool Moe Dee's, the Melle Mels. So at the end of the day it's happened to the best of them. But even though the grasshopper eventually gets doper than the teacher, that doesn't mean the teacher isn't dope anymore. The teacher just has to learn how to "Dilla" his style. And what I mean by that is there was a time when my knock on the legendary Jay Dee back in '97 was that he could only make beats for the "peace people." You know...the Mos Def, Talibs', The Roots and Erykah Badu and folk who eat chew sticks and burn incense 24/7. But since damn near every hip hop producers to gospel producer and everybody else in between was biting his style, I always felt like Jay Dee was like "f&$k it, ya'll can have that...I'm gonna F&$K ya'll heads up with something else"and that's when we got "Dilla," the producer who could make beats for Ghost, Rae and anybody he damn well chose to. So again, I think Rakim just needs to "Dilla" his style and he'd be good money. I remember reading an interview with Rakim where the interviewer asked him about writer's block. And his answer was simple and it's advice is I've lived by for years. Rakim said that anytime he gets writer's block, he just goes out and lives some more. And with 52 years under his belt, I'm positive Rakim has a lot to talk about.

Now next up is the secret to my salmon sauce on what I would do to ensure Ra comes out with a CRAZY album. When it comes to a MC of Rakim's caliber I seldom worry about the bars or their pen game. My biggest worry is always going to be the production. Some folk on twitter were telling me that Rakim needs to get in the lab with Premier & Large Professor and I can't disagree more. First things first we GOTTA stop getting in the Delorean with Doc & Marty and going back in time pulling outta that '94 Illmatic bag. Other folk told me his needs to get in the studio with Daringer and Roc Marci. Now, I could mos def see that trio coming up with some heat. But to be honest, I'd go another route. I'd use social media and call on up and coming producers to send Rakim beats. Being a producer, I know better then anyone that all producers have a folder of beats that they keep in their stash just in case they ever get a chance to play beats for the likes of Jay, Nas, Cole or Kendrick. Now I know I didn't name Rakim right there but trust and believe if I put out the bat signal saying I was A&ring a Rakim album those producers would be sending me those same beats they were saving for Jay and Kendrick. So in a nutshell I would be getting a rack of hungry producer's dopest beats. So now that we have the beats taken care of, next up is the content.

I truly believe the bulk of MC's need a coach aka an executive producer to help put together a dope album. The thing that always stuck out to me about Rakim after his rhymes was his content. Whether it was a story about a shorty like "Mahogany" or "What's On Your Mind", a behind the scene looks into the hood like "The Ghetto." A breakdown of the importance of a kid from the hood having money in his pocket like "Paid In Full" or just Ra spitting like a mad man who's lost his mind like on "Lyrics of Fury", "Microphone Fiend" or "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em. And to me, we need a balance of all of that on the album. I feel like nowadays most MC's just wanna bar you to death over and over and over and over and over again. And for some folk, that's cool. But to me that's not what makes an album a dope and remember that's what we're trying to do. So with nothing but heat from up and coming producers, dope content in tow we should be good money right?

Welp, one of my folk on twitter told me that a lot of these 90's old school artists can't make a dope album because they don't have a label backing them and they don't have any money to pay out of pocket so who foots the bills for this dope album? And my answer is one. See, those 12 up and coming producers' beats that we pick, well I'd let them know there's no budget so they'd get their publishing and be able to tell their grandkids they produced a song for one of the greatest MC's ever and if anybody wasn't down, no problem cause then I'd just produce Ra's ENTIRE album dolo for free! Next up, now we gotta get the album recorded, which Ra can do at my crib...for free. Then we gotta get it mixed right? Well my bro Ev who's a professional engineer would handle that...for free. And as far as videos for the project I can shoot and edit them all for free as a worst case scenario but I'm more then positive I could get my bro Shyeem or my bro Ray to bang them out for free too! So at the end of the day, the dopest thing about me executive producing this project for Rakim isn't just we have a flat out AMAZING album on tap from one of the greatest MC's EVER in 2020 but we also get a flat out AMAZING album on tap from one of the greatest MC EVER...FOR FREE! Ya'll can thank me later or thank me now by getting this piece to the god so we can work our magic and get this album out there!

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