It’s not bragging when you’ll be able to again it up like rap god Rakim.
And 35 years after Eric B. & Rakim dropped their debut single, the 1986 traditional “Eric B. Is President,” the legendary emcee would nonetheless go movement to movement with anybody — even at age 53.
“I’d battle anyone, man,” stated Rakim Allah, who on Saturday will carry out at Coney Island Amphitheater in a free SummerStage live performance celebrating the birthday of iconic NYC DJ Funkmaster Flex. “Every single day I get up and I nonetheless really feel that I’m the baddest brother to ever contact a microphone. No disrespect to no one. But when I don’t really feel like that, then I’m slipping.”
For the Lengthy Island native, it’s fairly the other. When he charges his 2021 self in opposition to that “younger cat making an attempt to return up” who made “Eric B. Is President,” the elder is the chief.
“If I used to be a ten then, I’m a 20 now,” stated Rakim. “I’ve grown loads, I’ve discovered loads, I’ve lived loads. I feel I’m higher now than I used to be earlier than, simply from the journey, from the expertise, and every thing that got here with it.”
Nonetheless, three-and-a-half a long time later, “Eric B. Is President” stays the music with the immortal line that followers most frequently quote to Rakim: “Thought I used to be a doughnut, you tried to glaze me.”
Referred to as a lyrical grasp, Rakim’s personal favourite rhyme comes from “Musical Bloodbath,” off of 1988’s “Comply with the Chief” album: “Go manufacture a match, ship me after a blast/Of a grasp that has to make musical bloodbath.”
“After I wrote that proper there, I used to be feeling myself,” stated Rakim, who credit Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz and Kool Moe Dee as being his O.G. “yardsticks” as a lyricist. “They principally taught me rhyme.”
After Eric B. & Rakim break up up in 1993, the duo reunited for a live performance on the Apollo in 2017 after which toured in 2018. However whereas Rakim has been engaged on new music at a barn he transformed right into a studio on his Pennsylvania property, don’t anticipate any of it to characteristic his outdated accomplice.
“We type of assume totally different now, and being on the identical web page within the studio is actual essential,” he stated. “However I’ll at all times have love and respect for my brother. However I don’t know if we’ll ever have the ability to do what we did [again].”
In reality, Rakim is teaming up with one other DJ — Jazzy Jeff — for the Final Home Social gathering tour that kicks off in Los Angeles on Aug. 20. “We return to ’86, when [DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince] put their first document out,” he stated. “We used to do exhibits collectively. So we obtained historical past.”
So far as Rakim is anxious, although, he’s nonetheless very a lot making historical past — regardless of already being thought of one of many biggest rappers of all time.
“In one among my rhymes, I stated, ‘I’ma transfer crowds to 2,000 and somethin’,’ ” he stated, referring to lyrics from 1997’s “Guess Who’s Again.” “However I had no concept I’d nonetheless be right here rhyming at 50-something. For me, it ain’t one thing I may simply fall out of affection with. It’s who I’m.”