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Essay Nov 30 2020 Written by

There’s Only One True God – Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Lyrical Luminary is an essay series analyzing the artistry of legendary and underappreciated MCs in the history of Hip Hop.

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Praises up — to ‘The God MC’, Rakim

The Moment

“Eric B. Is President” put the rap game on notice.

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest

Ali vs. Berbick. Drama In Bahama (December 11, 1981)

“Iron” Mike Tyson beat Trevor Berbick to become youngest heavyweight in boxing history.

“Iron” Mike Tyson beat Trevor Berbick to become the youngest heavyweight in boxing history.


There’s Only One True God Why Rakim Is Hip-Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

The single that started The God’s reign: “Eric B. Is President” (Zakia Records) (1986)

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim, ‘The God MC’ (left) and his DJ, Eric B. (right).

The Rise

The album that established Rakim as a certified gifted MC: Paid In Full (1987)

Special gifts seem as if they come directly from a higher power.

Paid In Full (4th & B’way/Island) (1987)

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Eric B. & Rakim were masters at moving the crowd.

The Peak

The period when Rakim was at the very top of his game: Follow The Leader (1988) and Let The Rhythm Hit ’Em (1990).

Mike Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks in the first round when they faced off in June 27, 1988.

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim was always the most supreme competitor in the Hip Hop ring, with Eric B. as his stoic cornerman.

follow the leader album cover

Follow The Leader (MCA) (1988)

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim is Hip Hop most awesomely-addicted ‘Microphone Fiend”


Jody Watley, an R&B/Pop solo artist in the late 80’s/early 90’s.


Eric B & Rakim "Let The Rhythm Hit Em" (1990)

Let The Rhythm Hit ’Em (MCA) (1990)

Rakim is one of the supreme kings of the Hip Hop quotable.

Eric B. & Rakim takes listeners on a metaphysical journey on “In The Ghetto”.


Juice — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (MCA) (1991)


The Decline

Why did Rakim’s career experience an incredulous decline?

Eric B & Rakim "Don't Sweat The Technique" (1992)

Don’t Sweat The Technique (MCA) (1992)


Sugar Ray Leonard was dazzling to watch.

  • vs Roberto Duran I (June 20, 1980)
  • vs Roberto Duran II (November 25, 1980)
  • vs Thomas Hearns I (September 16, 1981)
  • vs Marvin Hagler (April 6, 1987)
  • vs Thomas Hearns II (June 12, 1989)
  • vs Roberto Duran III (December 7, 1989)

With over 40 professional fights, Sugar Ray’s highlight reel — a massive collection of jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and 25 knockouts, is as impressive as any prizefighter’s ‘greatest hits’ in the history of boxing.

Hector Camacho knocked down Sugar Ray in the 5th round.


There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

The magic Eric B. & Rakim made during hip-hop’s golden age vanished as the culture got deeper into the ’90s.

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim’s three solo albums were solid projects but failed to revitalize his illustrious career.

The Impact

Why is Rakim the gift that keeps on giving to Hip Hop?

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

The impact of Rakim’s gift on Hip Hop defies conventional standards of measure.

Rakim’s lyricism is like the ancient practice of calligraphy — a supreme visual art form.

Rakim’s supreme lyricism birthed a new generation of MCs, such as Queensbridge’s own, Nas.

The Legacy

Is ‘The God MC’ the GOAT?

The very best of Hip Hop is like bottles of fine wine.

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim’s flow is like the finest wine ever produced.

There’s Only One True God - Why Rakim Is Hip Hop’s Most Cherished Gift

Rakim: The True God MC

In Hip Hop, there’s only one true God MC — he goes by the name, Rakim.


Republished from Medium. Written by Duane Lawton – author of Lyrical Luminary: Essay series analyzing the artistry of legendary and unappreciated MCs in the history of Hip Hop. 

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Author of Lyrical Luminary: Essay series analyzing the artistry of legendary and unappreciated MCs in the history of Hip Hop.…

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