Bookman Joe Donahue Interviews Rap God Rakim for New York State Writers Institute

Today marks the 52nd birthday of the God MC William Michael Griffin Jr. aka Rakim. Every year at this time, Long Island Rap celebrates Rakim's birthday with an annual "Rakim Week," which begins the Sunday before (or of) January 28 and ends the following Saturday.

If you've been reading our posts so far this week, you know I've been reading Rakim's new memoir/writing guide Sweat the Technique, published by Harper Collins September 24, 2019. I haven't finished yet, I don't want to give anything away, and I'm not much for book reports anyway, but suffice it to say this is a must-read for anyone interested in the life and mind of hip-hop's greatest of all time, as well as any rapper or listener who's ever thought about the actual process of writing rhymes.

On October 28, Rakim visited SUNY Albany for a book signing and on-stage discussion with Joe Donahue as part of the Creative Life series, brought to us by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and WAMC. Streaming below is a clip from their discussion, during which Rakim talks about two of his key influenes: Muhammad Ali and Ruth Brown. The complete discussion can be downloaded or streamed here.

One last note for now: Sweat the Technique is also available as an audiobook narrated by none other than the author, Rakim. The writing is truly masterful, but part of me wishes the hardcover came with a link for the audiobook version, if only because, well ... "it's been a long time."

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