Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rakim on NPR radio interview about the latest album, The Seventh Seal

On the way back up to LA from my trip to Tijuana, Mexico I heard a familiar voice on NPR...but wait. What's Rakim Allah doing talking to the middle-class of America?

Guy Raz managed to get an interview with Rakim to discuss his first album for over a decade. There's a lot to be learnt from the interview, even for an old skool b-boy like myself. Did you know Rakim plays the saxophone?! The interview is interspersed with new tracks from "The Seventh Seal," including the title track and banger "Holy Are You" (which samples the Electric Prunes classic produced by David Axelrod.)

Rap's Guardian Rakim has been recognized by his platinum-selling peers as the "God M.C.," yet he isn't resting on his laurels. With this new album Rakim is taking responsibility to stop rap's dilution and urges New York rap artists' to uphold a higher lyrical standard.

"Some rappers that may have been a little more conscious when they came out — they're a little more party-rap right now," he says. "We gotta let hip-hop grow. We gotta let it go through its different phases throughout the different places that's accepting it. But I feel: Certain places, like New York, we need to keep our integrity and make sure that it's doing that thing that caught the world's ear in the beginning.

"Lyrical content is getting a lot of slack right now, and it's making hip-hop look less of what it is," Rakim says. "If we can get back to the essence of it — I'm trying to make it a little more melodic, where people are respecting it more as a genre."

Going back in time Rakim recounts the tale of being a high-school student on Long Island and what happened after playing Eric B a demo tape of his raps. "At the time, I was trying to go to Stony Brook [University] and play quarterback," Rakim says. "I love football. ... I had a little tape that I had, ready to go to college with me; just in case there was any rappers up there, I can just put my tape in, you know?

"But I played that for Eric B, and he was interested, told me, 'We can make a record.' And things turned out where I couldn't go to college. I had to focus on my rap career; things kind of took off fast. Man, I had no idea it was going to be that big."

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