Despite a pending snowstorm, the hip-hop community came out to Staten Island’s St. George Theater Friday, Jan. 28 to commemorate the physicalday of legendary MC, Rakim Allah. Billed as “The Night of Legends,” it featured fellow hip-hop legends KRS-ONE, Nica and Smooth, Kool DJ Red Alert, DMC from Run-DMC, Keith Murray, Hakim Green from Channel Live; and was hosted by KRS’ former nemesis, Roxanne Shante.
Ever since 1986, when he “came in the door” over two DJ Marley Marl-produced tracks, The God MC changed the way rhymes were written and delivered through a microphone. “Eric B Is President” and “My Melody” raised the bar several notches, creating a new hip-hop standard, and the art of elite emceeing was forever changed and held to a higher standard. His compact lyricism intertwined compact verses within each line. Having acquired knowledge-of-self via The Five Percenters as a teenager helped him take his complex wordplay to another level.
“I roam through battle zones with chrome for chaperone / blast beats wit saxophones / one of the baddest rappers known” Rakim rhymed on the track “The 18th Letter.”
Born in Brooklyn, Jan. 28, 1968, he grew up in Wyandanch a.k.a. Crimedanch, Long Island in a musical family. In fact, his brother Stevie Blass plays bass and keybords. Internationally revered as the greatest lyricist ever, Ra’s layered rhyme patterns often had listeners replaying his recordings to catch something they may have missed the first go-around.
On Jan. 28, his artistic peers heaped praises on “The Microphone Soloist,” as did many adoring fans, and Ra was very appreciative for the warm sentiments on that frigid night, posing for pictures with many of them.
Fans wished him a prosperous physicalday 7!