Foreign Gists

Rakim explains how MTV changed hip hop


Together, Eric B and Rakim were unstoppable during the late 1980s and profoundly impacted hip hop. Their emergence on the scene was a turning point in hip hop as they ditched the catchy, basic nursery rhyme patterns and decided to make their lyrics and rhyme schemes that little bit more tricky and complex. They bring flair and, most importantly, skill.

With that being said, in an interview with Shade45, Rakim spoke to DJ Whoo Kid about his debut album Paid In Full, saying: “It’s a blessing man.” DJ Whoo Kid spoke about Rakim’s lyrics being timeless. While speaking on the topic of lyricism, Rakim disclosed: “I was always trying to push the envelope man, and you know hit a nerve was always striving to be better, every time I sat down it always seemed like it was a challenge, and early I realised the challenge was against myself. It was a lot of work… lot of stress.”

DJ Whoo Kid sang the rapper’s praises, declaring: “I was teaching my chick your words, I can remember your words from 30 years ago, where you can’t remember…I mean, there were hits last year, but you really can’t remember the lyrics and all that. The rap back then, you guys infiltrated our DNA, you raised us fashion-wise lyric-wise, even the consciousness of hip hop back then whether your bad or good, you influenced us in a certain way.”

Speaking on behalf of the rapper, the host stated: “MTV was like your social media back then!” To which the rapper responded: “It was a big force! Big and before that it was a lot different….for the brothers that came before us, and we looked at MTV and the videos like ‘yo this is our chance we can take off now, we can be stars, people gonna see us’ and it got to the point where I was writing rhymes with MTV in mind, I was writing rhymes with video concepts in mind. It had a big part in hip hop at that time it was how people gravitated towards us.” 

You can watch a clip of the interview with DJ Whoo Kid and Rakim in the video below.