By Rob Markman
The R, who is currently celebrating the 25-year anniversary of he and former partner Eric. B’s classic debut Paid in Full, snagged BET’s coveted I Am Hip Hop Icon award during the annual ceremony which aired Tuesday (October 9).
Rakim, dressed in a sleek, leather Gucci bomber jacket took to the podium to accept the award after being presented by Kendrick Lamar, T.I. and special commemorative video featuring Common and A$AP Rocky which detailed the rapper’s rise to the top. While on stage Ra thanked his mother, father, wife, kids, his business manager Bert Padell and hip-hop pioneers Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa.
MTV News caught up with the celebrated MC moments before the show on BET red carpet in Atlanta and he talked to us about what the Icon award means to him. “Honestly man, this is one of the things that you wish for, but honestly I didn’t expect it to come to me, especially this quick,” he said. “It’s a humbling experience and it definitely lets me know that I did something right.”
To the contrary Rakim did a lot of things right. The Long Island, New York MC is credited with changing the course of rap thanks to his multi-syllabic rhyme flow and sophisticated rap vocabulary. Over the course of his 25-year career Ra introduced 5 Percenter ideologies into hip-hop, a spiritual blueprint that would later influence major acts like Wu-Tang Clan.
The award win has even inspired Rakim to work on a new album. His last LP The Seventh Seal was released in 2009. “I’m working on another album man and from the looks of this right here I might just call it, The Icon,” he said. “Definitely got some more things to say man. The Seventh Seal I felt I had to do that for the streets to show consciousness and seeing as how I got that off my chest I can get back to having a little fun.”
What’s your favorite Rakim song? Let us know in the comments!