Rakim Live on Long Island

Rakim backstage at the Nassau Coliseum, September 10, '88
Back in April 2010, I had the pleasure of seeing Rakim move the crowd at the Crazy Donkey in Farmingdale. Although it wasn't my first time seeing him live, it was the only time I saw him on Long Island and the only time I saw him in a club setting, as opposed to a big festival stage. The show was rightfully billed as a homecoming for Rakim, but it would be incorrect to call it his first LI performance (as some have).

In 1988, Eric B. & Rakim headlined the Dope Jam Tour, which hit Nassau Coliseum on September 10 with a bill that also included Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew, Big Daddy Kane, Boogie Down Productions and Biz Markie. Unfortunately, the star-studded lineup is not necessarily what this concert is best known for, as at least 10 people were stabbed during the event, one fatally. The violence prompted Nassau Coliseum to temporarily ban rap concerts and attracted negative media coverage you can still read today if you follow the links in this sentence. The last of those stories purports, "Eric B. and Rakim's main message is that 'Eric B. Is King.'" I guess he meant 'President,' and anyway, no, not really.

Below, you can watch Rakim discuss the real message of his music in some Yo! MTV Raps footage that was shot backstage at the Coliseum. Below that you'll find footage from the aforementioned Crazy Donkey show, as well as a more recent performance at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, uploaded by Birthplace Magazine.

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