Rakim Allah (born William Michael Griffin Jr.) is the father of lyrical finesse and the king of emceeing. His emergence onto the hip-hop scene in 1987 arguably changed the theatrics in rhyme scheme, impacting the future flow of cats like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Wu-Tang's Raek-won and a host of others. Rakim's iconic collaboration with Eric B on Eric B. Is President, recorded in the home studio of Rakim's then-roommate, Marley Marl, changed the rap game forever. Widely considered one of the best MCs of all time, Rakim used his jazz influence and education — he's skilled in both alto and baritone saxophone — to smack syllables with an epic sweetness. Tracks like "My Melody" and "I Know You Got Soul," from the oft-studied Paid in Full, reign supreme decades after the fact. Blending mellifluous tones with grimy themes of knowledge and power, Rakim is the didactic poet, and he comes to move the crowd.
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