Today in Hip Hop History: The Rap Pioneer Rakim Turns 49 Years Old

Today in Hip Hop History: Rakim's Birthday
Rakim via Rolling Stone

Today in Hip Hop History: January 28, 1968

Hip hop as we know it today would not be the same without this man.

Happy 49th birthday to William Griffin, aka Rakim. Rakim is without a doubt one of the greatest MCs to have ever graced the mic, and he remains one of the few Golden Age rappers to still spit raps to this day. Ask your favorite MC who their favorite MC is, and I guarantee that they will say someone along the lines of Q-Tip, Jay Z, NasEminem. But if you then ask your favorite MC’s favorite MC who their favorite MC is, they will undeniably refer to Rakim.

Imagine this: listen to any type of hip hop before 1986. Yeah there are some classic albums, tracks, and even instrumentals. But everything before then sounds dated, more specifically, as if they are nursery rhymes compared to hip hop after Eric B & Rakim emerged. Quite simply, the duo changed the game; Eric B with his scratching and production, but more notoriously Rakim essentially inventing the 16 bars in rap rhyme schemes.

Have you ever heard the term “raising the bar?” The young Rakim grabbed the figurative “bar” from its cradle and sling-shotted it past puberty into its drunkenly sexual college years. The MC single-handedly progressed the genre of hip hop years beyond its original scope. There is no apprehension as to why they call him “The God MC.”

Despite almost universal acclaim in the hip hop community, Rakim unfortunately never achieved commercial success to the likes of some of his contemporaries. Regardless, his work endures as the Mecca of rhyming. Throughout the years, hip hop has sampled Rakim more times than you’ve asked yourself “When will Donald Trump finally leave my news feed alone??”

In a time where music, and culture in general, is literally here today and gone tomorrow, I implore you to transverse into the not-so-recent past and pay homage to one of the pioneers in this beautiful genre that we call hip hop.

For all things hip hop keep reading at True Too.


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