Why Rakim’s The Seventh Seal is the best Hip Hop Album of 2009


Why Rakim’s The Seventh Seal is the best Hip Hop Album of 2009


A lot of Hip Hop albums came out in 2009. Jay Z BP3, Raekwon‘’s Cuban Links II, Gift of Gab’s Escape to Mars, to name a few, caught my ear. I’m sure you could add your favorite of 2009 so feel free to fill in the blank___.

Hip Hop is still struggling to balance itself, but still evolving and growing. There’s an overflow of commercial, mainstream, and one-sided style of Hip Hop that is only reflecting one part of the black experience. There is still a need, and desire, of everyday people, to hear music that connects with higher charkas. If you are unfamiliar with this word, look, it up.

Rakim’s album The Seventh Seal, is, in my view, the best lyricism with a message, thought provoking rhymes, and best OG status of 2009 on the mic. Oh, and still in my top 5. He’s been in my top 5 since I first heard “Check Out My Melody” in 1986. I was really waiting for the Dr. Dre, Rakim album. When I heard it wasn’t coming out, I was hoping Ra could come out because I wanted to hear where he would take it.

We forget that the pioneers and elders of our culture are still among us, and are still doing music. Why would they not be? Hip Hop is not just a young man’s game. I mean this in no disrespect. But in truth, no Rakim, then maybe not a lot of emcees who are out today. Eric B and Rakim took Hip Hop to a whole different level from “Rappers Delight” and “The Message.”

The new album, The Seventh Seal, doesn’t disappoint. Matter of fact, it really has set a standard and I hope people like KRS and Chuck D got a chance to hear this one. The production, held down by Nottz for Teamsta Entertainment, Loffey For Aaron James Music, Nick Wiz for Preserve The Art, Samuel Christian and Jay Wells, and others really give space for Rakim to really come thru clear and refreshing. It’s profanity free. No sticker on the cover. It doesn’t feel forced. It feels like any black community in the world.

Songs like “Man Above,” “Won’t Be Long,” and “Message in the Song” is like the modern day Curtis Mayfield in rhyme form. If Andre 3K would have came out this year, I probably be writing about his release, but hands down, Rakim’s the Seventh Seal is worth the whole 59.6 seconds. His lyrics are talking about what’s happening in his life, but also what is happening right now. This is what Tupac would do if he was alive. It’s like Rakim has officially taken the side that Tupac had with his more thought provoking songs like Dear Momma and Letters to my Unborn Child. Yes you may be able to dance to “Put It All to Music,” but this is really thinking people music. Adult.

This album is a reflection of the age of Hip Hop. Oh, and I got it for $10 downtown Cleveland, on the release date, and it was there, in stock. The cover, and the photos by Michael Wong really set a nice mood with the CD itself (recycled paper instead of plastic) is something everone in Hip Hop should have in their catalog. Ok. I think I’ve talked it up enough. Check out. Support good music.

Peace. JAHI

Jahi is an internationally known  Hip Hop artist, teacher and community activist  from Cleveland, Ohio 

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

55 comments on “Why Rakim’s The Seventh Seal is the best Hip Hop Album of 2009

  1. Don’t use a word people have to look up so you can tell them to look it up. Also if you’re gonna use a word people have to look up so you can tell them to look it up … spell it right.

  2. I feel you on this…its dope…but next time u try to put people on to Charkas, and tell them to look it up if they are unfamiliar….check spell…its chaKRa …one love.

  3. Is it out now. i went last week to pick it up after seeing him in concert last month. They said it wasn’t available yet.

  4. the joint is good, I brought a copy today, nice to know that i didn’t need to turn the volume up and down every few seconds, either rakim makes this joint clear.

  5. Haven’t headr the whole album, but that joint was wack. Sound like Kanye meets that dude from Cali that used to say “SCHYEEAAH”. Rap too slow to be “understood”, I’m going to post “Rapologist Speaks ’94” on hear so you all all can hear and learn how it should be done. Back in the day, when Rakim was dope he could say – “This is how it should be done, this style is identical to none…” Can’t say that about that joint. Got to hear the whole album, but I know that wasn’t his best. Rakim was voted best “New School” rapper in my 1994 booklet “The Origin of Rap Music”. Not everybody can be like LL and keep “doing it, and doing it ,and doing it well”. Got to hear the whole album, but first impressions are lasting, JAHI.

  6. Their are too many 40+ year olds trying to recapture the high points of their youth instead of simply assuming the role they (should) now be embracing as adults.None of these people should be given any social accolades whatsoever. Within the context of Rakim being in his 40’s, like most rap records and their relationship to the present and future, this album is seriously a piece of crap.The only thing that keeps anyone from just saying it is fear that it negates the moments in time captured from his early albums.

    Rap has become like the retarded step child of music…people don’t say what they really think about it because they basically feel sorry for most of these people.

    I have a feeling this is going to change radically in the coming economy…..where people simply won’t have time for this bullshit anymore.

    Nah’ mean dawg.

  7. Second. It’s funny how people talk about people in Hip Hop in their 40’s like it’s a problem. Like it’s not the age of Hip Hop. No one thinks to say to BB King what are you doing…James Brown died with dates on the calendar. My point, if you think artists like Rakim and others are not going to make music because of their age, that’s crazy. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but rap music may be the retarded step child, but Im not talk about rap. Im talking about hip hop, and it’s a place that’s a refuge from the BS, not producers of it.

  8. Leave the past behind, I concur. JAHI, you need to view the Pee Wee Kirkland video Davey D has on here. Rap Music is the industry that was first started from emceeing, Hip-hop is what New York was told to call everything they were doing to sell things from the movies, books, and magazines “they were peddling to white youth and youth globally. We got to grow up, Baby!

  9. I think the analogy between rappers and established arrangers and musicians is wearing real thin.

    James Brown was a compulsive and vigilant arranger, organizer,vocalist and song writer 24/7 for decades. He wasn’t a “rapper”. He wasn’t even “just” a vocalist.

    It’s like comparing someone who engineers a computer program from scratch (james brown)…to the person that uses it to send creative looking emails (rappers)

    I’m not saying theirs anything wrong with sending pretty emails…but it’s not the same thing as the degree of sophistication needed to write the entire program from scratch.

    It’s like the whole analogy pisses on the standard these people have set with their creative drive and diffuses it.

    “Smart” rap has always had a dumbed down element to it…but you could always kind of turn a blind eye because it seemed diplomatic at times.

    But now it’s such a sad joke it’s disturbing.

    And I don’t look at this Rakim album as any different.

    Since rap is the music of the “street” it appeals to the most clueless,impressionable and unknowingly vulnerable in society…..
    which at this point are exactly the people who should turn it off and listen to something different.

  10. Dag, where you come from, Leave the past behind, I concur. You go head and keep on ’cause you “Light ’em up and then blow ’em out like candles”. I’m out on this post. “You got it, Johnny!”

  11. Rakim lost all his flows..the production is wack, and the themes are corny…i cant even listen to this album because he’s rappin old skool style on up to date beats..at kool g rap still hasnt lost any flows..oc can still rap…Making albums to Rakim is a 9-5 job..he does because he need the loot…not for the love of the art

  12. observe510, that is because u were weened on the gangsta boogie that became the defacto standard for hiphop, it’s like listening to a song without a parental music advisory sticker, and it is a culture shock to you.

  13. It would be nice if this dialogue was productive. For example, listening to some of the lyrics on this album, and talk about the creative process, lyricism, and deeper or surface meanings. That’s what captured my ear. All of this other commentary is…well fill in the blank______________________

    Prince Quote
    “how can a non-musician (in this case emcee) speak about music except from a consumer point of view?”

  14. “It would be nice if this dialogue was productive. For example, listening to some of the lyrics on this album, and talk about the creative process, lyricism, and deeper or surface meanings.”

    I think that’s what you don’t understand … street culture and “HipHop” isn’t about what YOU want.

    It’s about people doing whatever the f*ck THEY want.

  15. Rakim is never in the studio,,he will miss shows and studio time..he has far the worst work ethic in hip hop period..he costs the record company time and money bookin the studio with his diva attitude..he got dropped by dre..lazy..it’s over

  16. I heard the new rakim cd, it’s good to me, don’t know why people think he should return to the days of their youth though, that’s selfish if rakim was weak minded and read comments on here he probaly would say this would be his last new effort.

  17. Blueprint 3 is the most creatively progressive hip-hop album of 2009. The production, the wordplay, flows and commercial conversion processes are cutting edge. Not bad for a 40 guy. Some get better with age. Look how Eminem owned that Drake remix, knowing which flow to employ. A flow he didn’t have mastered in his 20’s. I’ll get to Rakim’s album when I here it. Is blacks had left the past behind hip-hop would have never been invented. Many whites have always been dismissal of our need for socio-cultural continuality. Our contributions seen as a temporal contribution to the greater macrocosm. Commodity whores.

  18. flavorblade, sound like you just taking shots, but I ain’t even going to say nothing. Will send you a copy of “The Origin of Rap Music” if you need a refresher on how “Rap Music” was started and how it lost its “origin”. :(.

  19. “Blueprint 3 is the most creatively progressive hip-hop album of 2009. The production, the wordplay, flows and commercial conversion processes are cutting edge. Not bad for a 40 guy.”

    You must be young. It’s really just a repackaging of things that have already been done a million times. The production is the same generic procedure of loops,repetition and formulated songs. The only thing that keeps Jay-Z in the lime light is his business sense which in in my view additionally lends to this odd psychological association by ‘fans” that american vanity culture is something (economically) productive and “normal” that you will be “rewarded for” as opposed to something to look at objectively and learn from in an analytical manner.

    “Is blacks had left the past behind hip-hop would have never been invented. Many whites have always been dismissal of our need for socio-cultural continuality.”

    Their are lots of issues facing the underclass of people who are attracted to “HipHop”. The main one being how much longer you people can continue to prolong growing up.

  20. Repacking I never heard nothing like Venus vs Mars before and the beat Swizzy stuck on On to the Next One was the best pairing of his production style with flow and content since DMX was the man. Good music never gets old. Jay-Z is still making it on Blue Print 3. All New York rappers talking about New York coming back or going foward or whatever. Who drops the joint on time that sets their World Series off?

  21. Thats because you don’t have the education to realize that popular music has been gradually getting dumber.

    Older educated people realize that psychology of riding the wave of peoples assumptions and understand the herd mentality.

    Albums like Jay-Z’s and 50 cent etc.. are nothing but a joke on the public and uneducated classes. Behind closed doors these people laugh at the public for being dumb enough to actually believe any of this bullshit actually “is something”.

    Most of rap production came out of an environment where young peoples parents were too uneducated and indifferent to teach them to play real instruments..hence the focus on sampling and remedial sequencing of “beats”.

    And so it is to this day.

  22. Don’t you all think that “Leave the past behnd” is me”, that’s obviously just one more “adult” speaking their mind on this “Hip-hop” thing. “You got it, Johnny! (The Last Dragon)

  23. rakim lost his flows? lmao. what the f album are you listening too???

    let’s keep it real…rakim has actually improved his original rhyme scheme, by adding more multis and internals. if you really understood rhyme scheme, you would see that this is the most complex rakim has spit ever.

    we waitin for judgement, it came in the form of a thug in the game/
    to create his compositon, it’s floodin’ my veins/
    the chemical is identical, we one in the same/
    with 7 letters and all 3 of my government names/
    walk on water, nah leave it to jesus/
    it’s a parable to make followers and readers believe us/
    from eygpt to budapest, rakim is the truest left/
    understand the scriptures like the minister louis f/

    yo hun you listenin’, cause when it come to flippin’ ones/
    and gettin bundles in the jungle i got tunnel vision/


    it’s hard, it’s intricate, flippin’ it, isn’t it?/
    bars is infinite, so ra deliver it, far different/
    part lyricist, part instrument, start spittin’ it/
    the more articulate y’all rythms get/

    it’s the birth, of the streets, it’s over they said/
    rappers crossover they dead/
    i spit my verse with technique, till they’re knowing their ledge/
    first it’s too deep, then i’m over their head/
    he too lyrical, and too subliminal/
    everything from spiritual to criminal/
    it’s a message in the bottle, open it/
    it’s a lesson in survival, cope with it/


    i see thru the eyes of the prophets, king tutankhamun/
    martins and malcolms, elijah muhammads/
    wise who acknowledge, paid in full aint just the size of the pockets/
    it rise where the top is, rise economics/
    i’ll show you that time is more valuable then them diamonds in your watches/
    you grind with a gloc, is you dying for them dollars?/

    truth is, rakim would babyfvck your favorite rapper and is spitting circles around 95% of the game. that’s an airtight rhyme scheme with effortless flow. this whole album is bangin’…fvck outta here.

  24. Son, this ain’t poetry class, this is “rappin”, hiow does all that shizz sound to the music. What is the lyrical flow to the melody? If this is on some old slow, spell it out for mainstream… Haven’t heard the album, I’ll take leave the pass and thems advice. I’ll pass on the twenty year comeback joints. His, Latifah, Kanes, and whoever else feel like they want to make a 20 year anniversary. Let’s get real people – YA OLD!!!

  25. I think the reason Jay-Z and Rakim are popular in the minds of some “old” rap fans is because the only thing they perceive as an alternative are morons like lil’wayne, young jeezy or gucci mane.

    Choosing between dumb and dumber isn’t an option for people striving for REAL power…and it shouldn’t be for anyone reading this either.

    I don’t think for the most part rappers write anything “deep”. The “deepest” thing you can do at this moment in time is be simple,clear and to the point…most people don’t even have the education to comprehend THAT let alone some weed or liquor induced chaotic garble floating around in some rappers head.

    Especially in a hyper connected 21st century where the modern day library of Alexandria is basically at your finger tips.

  26. right…”rappin'” something rakim is one of the greatest to ever do. that hasn’t changed and never will. am i missing something? when someone hates on rakim, they are immediately discredited for not having any knowledge on hip-hop at all. everyone else should be well aware of this. true hip-hop heads no what time it is. either you’ve been brainwashed by the media into being a pop-bopper and are too young to know any better or you’re an elitist underground head who isn’t giving rakim the respect he deserves, while you listen to your k’naan cd. either way, you need to maybe look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if the culture of hip-hop is really for you. rakim, kane, krs-one, kool g rap all still spit at a much higher level than most of the mc’s in the game right now and they have all stepped up their flows considerably. that’s simple fact.

  27. we had warned the youngsters of the chronic age would be lost in focus and thought, that reality is here now, and true to form.

  28. the thing is with Rakim is he hasn’t adapted into the structure of rap in 2009,,he still sounds alright soo maybe i hated a lil early,,but Kool G Rap and Kane have adapted to the structure and how the beats are set up for rappers to ride the rhythem pattern…Like take for instance..someone like Weezy or whoever else is not going to be able to rap on an old skool Rick Rueban beat, like LL or Run Dmc, because weezy doesnt understand the logistics of the 1985 flow structure,,soo if Rakim hasnt been practicing and adapting..well,,,theres nothing more i can say…i dont want to hear a mediocre rapper,,i want to hear a 3000.ad rakim..

  29. “let’s keep it real…rakim has actually improved his original rhyme scheme, by adding more multis and internals. if you really understood rhyme scheme, you would see that this is the most complex rakim has spit ever.”

    ^^^thats only “multi syllable rhymin” thats not that compex..

    “import wave files to ya thread and break styles/
    walk 8 miles till my legs can quake while../”……….

    ^^^^thats muti-word rhyming and multi-syllables…way more complex

  30. “the thing is with Rakim is he hasn’t adapted into the structure of rap in 2009”

    this is getting into the beyond of making any kind of sense.

  31. babies were born, grew up ,went to college, got married,,all this while waiting for rakim to drop a good album

  32. “import wave files to ya thread and break styles/
    walk 8 miles till my legs can quake while../”……….

    ^^^^thats muti-word rhyming and multi-syllables…way more complex”

    no it’s not…you nuts?

    wave-files, break-styles…thats 2 syllable ryming 4 syllables per bar…yawn…kiddie sh!t…big f’in deal…with one tiny internal…(thread and legs) in the middle…

    pssshhhh…try again.


    [(bars) is-in-fin-ite], so [(ra)de-liv-er-it], [(far)-dif-fer-ent]/

    in-fin-ite, de-liv-er-it, dif-fer-ent

    10 syllable ryming in 1 bar

    bars, ra, far

    3 internals in 1 bar.


  33. that’s child’s play compared to brotha lynch hung..and if u wanna get technical,,,,deliver it doesnt rhyme with different…but who cares..wack album……rip to the god

  34. oh come on!!! you serious? brother lynch hung?!?! dude is simple and basic…ahahahaha …thats hysterical…he has never seen rakim’s level of spitting. he rhymes one word per bar most of the time. if that…and he rhymes in couplets usually. doesn’t come close to rakim’s rhyme scheme. whateva…lmao..to each his own.

  35. alright show me Rakim multi word/syallable pre lynch..if he was doing that in the 80’s then i’ll bow down to u…but if he wasn’t then he bit lynch’s style

  36. This album is not Rakim’s best; is it better than the B$%S##$ that Lil’ Wayne and most of the other Hip Hop artists put out — definitely!? Some of the production is outdated, the beats he uses and hooks etc. It’s still a good album Rakim’s mediocre is still way better than most artist’s best job. Listen to the words he says and you’ll understand.

  37. The 7th Seal established the soulful variant of hip hop! The beats complemented the flow, pure chemistry! But I believe the album would be best understood by those who have experienced the tribulations of life, beyond acne and are more inclined to listen than learn the new jig! And while dance has always partnered Hip Hop, this has also Berg watered down to include the spectator! So we went from the windmill, to throwing or dropping bows! The former requiring skill n technique, the latter…well just elbows! But like most things in life, the cycle will eliminate the elements of little or no substance! Long live Ra!

  38. Blueprint 3 the best of 2009? Doubt it. Try The Ecstatic by Mos Def…way more creative than Jiggaman’s effort. Blueprint 3 was GOOD, don’t get me wrong; but The Ecstatic was GREAT, get it right. And as far as the god, not many have been able to combine profound subject matter with technical expertise the way Rakim did/does. Sharing elite company with Common, Talib Kweli, Black Thought, Mos Def and a select few others.

  39. As I sit here reading these posted comments, I truly believe hip hop is in a sad azzed state of emergency. If you shorties thought Rakim was gonna drop some same style shitz from 20 years ago and your asking yourself if people are delusional about this cat being probably the greatest of all time, then that’s your bad, the word is called evolution. If you want 20 year ago Rah then go buy those shitzs, they still sellin ALL his old joints, but it’s 2010. The dude basically blessed you newbie azzed idiots with a jewell. It’s called exceptance peoples. By the way, most of these rappercats today, hence the title I gave they’re sorry azzes wouldn’t/couldn’t sit in the same booth with this cat. Lotta bullshlippin azzed calaborations these days!!!! RAKIM, straight to tha point, clean flows, droppin a-bombs in verses to make you use your brain and think about what he just said, and just like Rah will probably be doing in his 50’s, killin these new era suckazzes in his 40’s.

  40. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. I just found the thread misleading as to say that the 7th seal was the best album of 09. I would of said, man on the moon, but hey what do I know? Sometimes emotional values can get in the way of creative expansion.

  41. anyone who thinks Jiggas Blueprint 3 is good… is simply retarded… and if you think Rakim is wack, or the Seventh Seal is wack for matter, as a Hip Hop Fan, you need to be smacked with both sides of my hand

Let us know what u think..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s