Interview with Rakim (01/05/2009)

Interview with Rakim

You’ve been doing it for so long. How do you stay current at this time?

Just loving Hip Hop man. Listening to the way it change and listening to the street. Just not loosing the love for it man. I kind of belong here and I don’t let no one tell me different. Regardless of my age and regardless of how long I’ve been in the game… I think ‘old school’ is a style. I think that if you evolve and stay relevant [that’s what’s important]. That’s what I do, stay today, stay relevant, stay with it.

You’re getting active again, doing shows and working on a new album. What caused the rebirth of your activity?

I’m kinda humble to the point that if I don’t have no new material I don’t like that. I’ve been working on this new project, got my own label, my project’s gonna drop on my label and trying to stay true to it and get back to the public eye. Just do what I love to do.

You basically invented the way people flow in Hip Hop. Do you think that after all this time inventions are still possible in rap?

I think at this point, now, everyone is kinda doing the same thing. There are only so many words in the dictionary, only so many styles you can put down to a beat. But I think that if we can stay in love with Hip Hop it’ll always inspire us to bring new styles. And then the consumer they got to be ready for changes. So when somebody comes with a new style or do something different they got to be ready to accept it or at least try to understand it, know what I mean?

What does it mean to you to be the God MC?

It’s an honor man. To be out there on a stage, like today, to get that love, it give me that feeling that I had when I was young. Not writing rhymes, just listening, being a fan. So to go out there and walk the streets and just to get that love it reassures I belong here. This is my job and this is what I was put here to do.

What is the source of your new music now? What are your inspirations nowadays?

I love a lot of different things to inspire me. If it’s my kids, Hip Hop definitely inspires me. All the new artists coming out, keep doing your tolls from the change Hip Hop made from old age to you got multi-Platinum selling artists now. It’s a lot of things going on and I could focus on the things going on it’ll keep inspiring me. And just remembering or knowing who I am is kinda the biggest inspirement. If I can motivate myself and know who I am and understand a lot of expectations that a lot of people give me, knowing that will make me stay on my feet.

With some of the recent controversies, do you feel that Hip Hop has gone too far with the overuse of the ‘N’ word and profanities?

Yes, it’s definitely a little monotonous man. It’s about lyrical content. We can do a better job of knowing that we are role models. Rapper wanna be a role model or not we gotta accept the fact that little kids look up to us. We gotta handle our creative responsibility man. We definitely role models, we definitely influence a lot of people and Hip Hop is real… how do I say it? It’s real dangerous right now. A little kid is just coming up listening to a lot of people that they hear, seeing certain things, is living by it. It’s corrupting the neighborhood, it’s corrupting the rap game, it’s corrupting ourselves as a whole too. We definitely got to pay attention to that too. It’s a good time right now. If we was to stand up and make a change it would make us look like we grew up and we understand what it is. The people gonna do what they can. But I think we can pull ourselves up and change perception of Hip Hop right now.

What would you like to say to people who are a bit discouraged by Hip Hop now?

Be a little patient, I’m on my way. There’s still good things going on in Hip Hop right now. Try not to let Hip Hop as a whole to get you down. There’s still good music. Try to listen to what’s good, don’t listen to what you are ‘supposed to listen to’ right now. Let your feelings tell you what is good. And if you don’t like but somebody else like it, you don’t have to like it! I think if we can keep that in mind and understand that I think that we can hold on until I bring this new album out.