1/27/17

Rakim Interviewed by Canibus for The Source

The February 1998 issue of The Source included a cover feature on Rakim titled "Lyrics of Fury: The Sequel," with photography by Chris Buck and an interview by none other than Germaine "Canibus" Williams. The respect was clearly mutual between the two, as in one highlight, Canibus says, "You know, like if another planet is battling Earth, if you say, 'Yo, niggas is battling another planet with alien MCs and this is for the pot of gold. They gonna wipe us out as a species if you can't bring it.' Your name is right there. They gonnna say Rakim." To which Ra replies, "Don't be surprised if they say Canibus." Read the full interview here, via Ghetto.ru, and stream Bus & Ra's 1999 single "I'll Buss 'Em U Punish 'Em" below.

1/26/17

Rakim is Rakim (the Mercenary?) in Gunmen

Apart from soundtrack work and documentary appearances, Rakim's Hollywood film career is limited to a single 1994 film about undercover DEA agents and drug smugglers and mercenaries and I don't know what else. Gunmen stars Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Leary, and Patrick Stewart (!!!!), and also features appearances by Eric B., Big Daddy Kane and Yo! MTV Raps hosts Doctor Dre and Ed Lover. All of them play themselves, but that's not the strangest part. The strangest part is that these iterations of Rakim and Kane are not just rappers, but also some kind of gun-running, puddle-jumping mercs for hire apparently. I'm not sure how that works exactly, but you can see for yourself by streaming the trailer and purchasing the movie below. In case you need any more incentive to do so, (get your head examined and) here's a Washington Post review written by David Mills, who went on to become a TV writer for The Wire among other shows.

1/25/17

DJ Revolution - Rakim Tribute Mix

Pipomixes says this might be the best tribute mix he's ever heard. Coming from him, you know that's official. As it turns out, DJ Revolution, the Wake Up Show resident behind this mix, is actually from Long Island as well.

1/24/17

Rakim's Juan Epstein Interview

Just in case you missed this extensive interview that came out last November, here it is again. Props to Complex for the stream, to Calligrafist Photography for the image, and to me for screening this thing to make sure Rosenberg didn't say anything so herbed it barred inclusion on this site. He came close by referring to The 18th Letter and The Book of Life as separate albums (apparently forgetting the names of The Master and The Seventh Seal?), but Ra either played along or also forgot the names of his solo albums, so whatever. Great interview, definitely worth your time.
Rakim on Juan Epstein ....

1/23/17

Rakim on Soul Train

According to show logs, Rakim appeared on the classic television program Soul Train on three separate occasions, twice with Eric B. and once with Truth Hurts to perform their single "Addictive." Although footage of the latter recording is yet to surface online, we do have tapings of the first two.

The first, episode 11 of season 17, aired November 28, 1987 and was therefore one of Rakim's first TV appearances, if not his actual TV debut. This appearance is also notable for the way host Don Cornelius makes direct reference to Ra's stoicism, which is now known as one of his defining traits. Cornelius goes on to say "...the way that Rakim raps, he has kind of a low pitch that's unusual for me." Though Eric B. was billed back then as the star of the show, it was already clear that Rakim (or Rakeem as Cornelius repeatedly called him) was truly one of a kind.



Eric B. & Rakim made their second Soul Train appearance on episode 24 of season 21, which aired March 21, 1992. By this time, Rakim had clearly established himself as the duo's frontman. Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled for the video of this segment, so click here to see Eric B & Rakim perform "Juice (Know the Ledge)" on Soul Train. A second video from this taping features a performance of "What's On Your Mind." This is embedded below, albeit in lower quality than either of the other two videos.

1/22/17

Behind of the Boards of Coldcut's "Paid In Full" 7 Minutes of Madness Mix

As monumental as the title cut off Eric B. & Rakim's debut album is, the success of this fifth single is owed in large part to the work of British DJ duo Coldcut. With their 7 Minutes of Madness Mix, Jonathan More and Matt Black revolutionized the art of the remix and helped launch Eric B. & Rakim to new heights of international success. (More and Black went on to found Ninja Tune, one of the most pioneering electronic labels in history, but that's another story.) According to a 1997 article from the Chicago Tribune, Coldcut were paid 700 British pounds for their remix. "When he heard it, Eric B described it as `girly disco music,'" says More, "and Rakim said it was the best remix he'd ever heard; I thought both assessments were quite brilliant."

A year after the release of the 7 Minutes of Madness Mix, Coldcut dropped an instrumental version cheekily titled "Not Paid Enough"; likely a reference to the success Eric B. & Rakim achieved as a result of the remix, hindsight always being 20/20. In 1995, Coldcut revisited the journey-into-sound-collage theme of 7 Minutes with their 70 Minutes of Madness Mix, which has often been called "the best DJ mix album of all time." Below, stream Coldcut's behind-the-boards commentary on the sample sources of their 7 Minutes mix, the remix itself, the instrumental version and the aforementioned mix album.

1/18/17

Chilo & B.O.K. - Faces of the Meek and Fearless

Right now, in bars across Long Island, angry men and women are saying foul, ignorant things about their neighbors. Pockets of progressivism do not undo racist undercurrents. Over the past year, our Island has witnessed a significant uptick in incidence of hate speech: KKK flyers on the LIRR , "Make America White Again" graffiti in Mineola, swastikas in bathrooms at Nassau Community College, and more recently, a 20-foot version dug into a Levittown field.

Imagine the passion it must take to do something like that, the dedication. One cannot simply turn the other cheek in the face of such hate. One must confront it head-on with equal passion, dedication and fearlessness.

That is what Chilo brings to every verse of his latest album, Faces of the Meek and Fearless, a call to resist rooted in the social experience of a Long Island Latino poet, set to a soulful soundtrack by B.O.K. with jazzy instrumental accompaniment by Johnny Lynch; a perfect harmony of progressive vision and warrior tradition.

Make no mistake: these are not the typically vague political declarations and bland boom-bap beats of the #conscious rap artist; these are studied observations conveyed via refined rhymes and riddims. This is not "the album that hip-hop needs right now" or some such; there are plenty of gifted MCs out, with insightful stories relevant to the day. However, it just might be the album Long Island needs right now, all genre biases aside. Play it for your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbors and the strangers at the bar. Ask questions. Take stances. Speak truths.

1/15/17

Shocklee - Live Techno Sets Nov/Dec 2016

This isn't rap ... but god damn.

Dud Music - "B-Wood"


"I grew up in Brentwood and I created this video to inspire the people from my town. There's been a lot of turmoil in the town lately and I've been able to use this video to uplift the community."

Theravada - Little Did I Know

Little did you know, Theravada's starting to sound less like early-era Ill Bill. This is both a good and a bad thing.

1/14/17

Pharoah Da Gawd - "Can I Liv 2.0 Freestyle"

 Note to would-be LIRB features: using Da Gawd, The God or any variation of such in your name has the opposite effect of using Lil, Jay or Yung. Beat by Harmony a.k.a. H-Money.

Christian Wendt - CZN

Christian Wendt is from Seaford and says, "All my friends are wishing that I'll make it famous with them and we'll come up off the block / Just remember you could be coming with us and you could be coming with me but you're cumming in your sock."

Doug G - Savage Youth

Note to Long Island hip-hop scene: Doug G is "sick of the politics / sick of promoters that make you sell tickets and they don't do nada shit."

Achille$ - "Cruise"

Polished douchebag bars out of Brooklyn via Malverne.

Maui Nation - "Boss Shit Only"

Bass-rich Hempstead ish by Maui ARN, featuring DapperDon E, produced by OthePro.