Hip-hop is at a crossroads. With rap dissolving into a hazy swirl of overproduced beats and brain-dead, mumble robots like Future and Young Thug topping the charts, it’s easy to fall prey to the notion that all the real MCs and lyricists are long gone. Thankfully, that’s far from true. In fact, this weekend, Miami will be privy to the sweet, sweet flow of one of the original masters, Rakim.
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Regarded as one of the absolute best MCs of all time by pretty much anyone and everyone, Rakim, formerly of the legendary partnership with DJ and producer Eric B., is set to play Sidebar on Sunday night. Armed with a discography of both his own stellar work as well as the jams from the aforementioned duo, Rakim is simply the pinnacle of jazzy smooth flow. His signature style is clear and clever and consistently contains some of the most mesmerizing wordplay in the history of rap. Perhaps what’s most dazzling about the New Jersey native’s work is that although it typically consists of a series of boasts, he always finds new and entertaining ways to deliver lines about being the greatest. His career spans three decades, and this self-fulfilling process came true years ago.
Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy an artist who’s not only part of the foundation and history of hip-hop but — considering the weak-ass rappers clogging the airwaves today — could also hold the key to its future.