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The 18th Letter - The Book of Life

Rakim

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Nineteen ninety-seven was the perfect time for Rakim to return to the hip-hop scene. The current crop of New York street rappers — Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z — had all followed the trail blazed by Rakim. While other ‘80s pioneers had flows that weren’t adaptable to modern beats, The 18th Letter proves that Rakim’s style was perfectly suited to the era’s preeminent producers. Whether he’s working with the no-nonsense cuts of DJ Premier (“It’s Been a Long Time”) or Pete Rock’s smoky, stealthy jazz loops (“The Saga Begins,” “When I’m Flowin’”) Rakim’s voice is the hanger on which these beats are draped. He remains a commanding presence without resorting to swearing or sensationalistic crime tales. The listener believes in him because his words exude experience and wisdom. He explains his mission in “It’s Been a Long Time”: “I broke the code of silence with overloads of talents / My only challenge is not to explode in violence … In ghetto apparel, mind of a Egyptian Pharaoh / Far from shallow, thoughts travel like an arrow.” Ever the ascetic, Rakim practices hip-hop as if it were an ancient art form.

Customer Reviews

This is the best Album Ever

I just wish we could get it out! I'm serious, I download most of my music but i respect his music far too much to cheat him so I bought it! He is the greatest ever and I can't stand hearing these idiots talking about Lil Wayne!

Top 5 favorite albums

Amazing best rapper of all time

Best song...It´s Been A Long Time

How long has it been again to be in the state of mind that Rakim is in? The greatest, the emperor well-known for inventing a sentence full of adventure. The single most powerful, most talented, and most influential lyricist in the world delivers an album worthy of his prowess with The 18th Letter.

Biography

Born: January 28, 1968 in Wyandanch, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although he never became a household name, Rakim is near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs — perhaps the greatest — of all time within the hip-hop community. It isn't necessarily the substance of what he says that's helped him win numerous polls among rap fans in the know; the majority of his lyrics concern his own skills and his Islamic faith. But in terms of how he says it, Rakim is virtually unparalleled. His flow is smooth and liquid, inflected with jazz rhythms...
Full Bio