Backed by DJ Eric B's expertly sampled soul-funk-R&B ejaculations, late '80s rapper Rakim was a true hip-hop innovator who broke from the first wave's Mother Goose rhyme schemes and party-shout vocal delivery. The duo is regarded as one of the all-time greats.
Rakim sans Eric B? That's a slightly different story.
While the Long Island lyricist has always held the critics' favor, he spent most of the 2000s dealing with a decade-long headache of delayed albums plagued by production drama and beef with label honcho Dr. Dre over the direction his music should take.
These days, though, Rakim seems to be finally getting his solo career into high gear, especially following the 25th anniversary of Paid In Full , his most celebrated collaboration with Eric B.
The MC also marked the occasion with a live run-through of the record featuring accompaniment from the Roots. And ever since, the once-stalled rapper is back in rap's fast lane.
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Since his big comeback, Rakim has announced the anniversary edition of Paid In Full that'll feature new material from the classic duo. He's also got an album slated for 2013 with Pharrell. Plus, he's going on tour -- with a live band -- and performing at The Stage on December 7 during Art Basel Miami Beach week.
Our only question: Will The Roots be there?
Rakim. Friday, December 7. The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $30. Call 305-576-9577 or visit thestagemiami.com