Rakim recently sat down with Peter Bailey to discuss the upcoming 30th anniversary of Paid in Full after a performance in New York City. During their conversation, the focus naturally shifted gears, touching on matters of injustice and police brutality and how it's necessary that artists speak on these topics in their art.
The God MC shared some gems of wisdom, offering that there needs to be a shift in music in order to overall help influence the world more positively today.
“In my era, when we was coming up, we was letting music imitate life,” Rakim explains. “Now life is imitating music. It made more sense that we took what [we] value in real life and incorporated it in rhyme. That’s what gave us a little substance, that’s what gave us a little consciousness.”
The rapper then went on to express his opinion that consciousness needs to find its way back into music, implying that recording artists are following the wrong trends these days. He also said that it's part of the responsibility of an emcee to speak on important social and political subjects intelligently in order to resonate with listeners in a real way.
“I think now it’s kind of reversed... were if somebody comes out and glorifies something, everybody wants that. If somebody comes out and says this is what it is, everybody wants to do that. So now life is imitating music, man,” he continues. “So I think one of the ways where we can get back to enlightenment, consciousness, good music, substance… I think is by letting music imitate life again. Get things back in order where it makes a little more sense. Us as artists, we have to humble to the listener.”
During this almost 20-minute long conversation, Rakim reminds us once again that when a veteran emcee speaks up, it's always wise to listen up.
Check out his full discussion with Peter Bailer during his appearance on NiteCap in the video below.
(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)