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, May 05, 2013

Chairman Mao interviews legendary God M.C., Rakim

Which M.C. would you want to spend two hours with? To learn from and hear about their influences and life story? Are you new school...Lil' Wayne or B.O.B. May be you're in between..."mid school" like Wu-Tang or Tribe Called Quest? Or real old school...Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Melle Mel?

Top three on my list would be Rakim. This Red Bull sponsored interview has so much unheard dope stories. Did you know Rakim's original M.C. name was Kid Wizard? And that he used to rock the mic with Biz Markie at Rakim's high school? This is the first time in my hip hop habit that I've heard these rhymes! That's insane - I've been in this game since 1983! Go collect those original mixtapes from 1980s. I'm on the search!

Lecture: Rakim (New York 2013) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

Only after watching this interview did I learn about the history of Rakim's "take seven M.C.s in a line..." lyrics from "My Melody."

CHAIRMAN MAO: "...explain to the people what that is....'I take seven M.C.s in a line...'" 
RAKIM: "Bascially, the whole concept right there came from my name. My government name is 777. I came up with the three sevens and started doing different rhymes off it....battling in the park, battling in high school, battling in Harlem. So, I started incorporating battle rhymes..This one here was mostly freestyle. Whenever I got down with Biz it was off the top of the head and just throw a couple of joints you had made already in there. That was when I started doing a lot of battle rapping and that little 'seven M.C.' theory just came into play."   
CHAIRMAN MAO: "But that's one of the most famous lyrics of hip hop history, especially from your catalog. That lyric for people who don't know is from the song "My Melody" which is the b-side of Eric B and Rakim's first single. And often quoted, endlessly quoted, but yet you had it already at least a year before.It's interesting that this was something that was in a high school jam, but then became this iconic lyric."  
RAKIM: "No doubt, it was one of those things that I figured had some value to it. So I brought it with me from my old style to converting it to the Rakim that we know now. It's ill that we can look back and hear things like this. It tells you where I came from and tells you where I started...It's not too far from where anyone starts. But it's how much you want it and how much you want to take it to the next level is what counts. This is good to play to a new artist that may not think he's good enough or may thinks he needs to be the best person in the world or you gotta quit. Nah, man...I came out and I was a regular dude, but I loved it so much I just tried to get better and luckily I did!"

Watch the video...all 105 mins of it and you'll get schooled in hip hop history. Do you know who Marley Marl is? Or M.C. Shan? What about the Bronx vs. Queensbridge battle rhymes? Oh, man! This is what kept me excited about hip hop. Always some drama! ;)

Who is Chairman Mao? He was the editor in chief at rap magazine, Ego Trip, in the 90s. This is a cool interview with him done at UCLA.

Big up to Red Bull!

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