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