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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.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.