Rhymes packed with agility, acuity sent Rakim to top of hip-hop heap

He’s held the microphone like a grudge for going on 20 years now.

“Remember me, the one you got your idea from?” Rakim asked on “I Ain’t No Joke,” the opening cut/warning shot fired at the outset of one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time, Eric B. and Rakim’s 1987 debut “Paid In Full.”

That rhyme may have seemed like a boast back in the day, but over the years, it’s become accepted as fact.

Approaching his craft with scientific studiousness, Rakim quickly established himself as one of hip-hop’s pre-eminent, most influential lyricists, smooth, cerebral and effortlessly on point.

Rakim’s solo work has never matched the four albums he cut with Eric B., but then again, neither has anyone else’s.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.


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