Rakim Says Hip Hop "Needs A Few More Kanye Wests"

Rakim praises Kanye West's music, saying that Hip Hop is in need of more artists like him.

Throughout his 25-plus year career, fans and artists alike have garnered Rakim with extensive amounts of praise for his craft. Now, the legendary Long Island emcee returns the accolades to one of Hip Hop's biggest current icons, Kanye West.

In a recent interview with The Atlantic, the God Emcee praised Kanye West as both an artist and a member of the Hip Hop community. He said that Yeezy's deft as both a producer and emcee has helped him take Hip Hop in new a unique directions. Ra also added that even Ye's notorious outbursts are signs of his devotion to music.

"I love Kanye for that. Being a producer, making beats, and being a rapper. He does it all," he explained. "Now, sometimes somebody can give you a credible track. But when you're searching for records or samples, only you know in your mind, in your intuition or your first instincts, what you need. When you hear that record, there's no denying it - 'Oh my God, I've got to sample this.' And he has that situation where he's lucky enough to love rhyming but can make his own beats, and that's like the perfect match. When he plays a record, his mind is on it right away. So, being able to do that and the way he does it, Kanye is not afraid to reach...like, 'Jesus Walks' is one of my favorite Kanye songs. To this day, that song comes on, and I want to turn it all the way up. I don't want nobody to talk to me. I just want to enjoy that track, you know what I mean? A lot of tracks he does, he's not afraid to go out the box where a lot of rappers might say, 'Oh, I'mma do my 16 bars.' Kanye just does whatever the track tells him to do—and that comes from being a rapper and being a producer at the same time."

He added, "You feel that in the award shows stuff where Kanye has these episodes, right? It's because he's passionate. If a lot of us don't take it that serious, then it's not going to be serious no more. People say, 'That was his opinion, but he was so passionate about it,' like that's bad. You've got to say, 'Well, really?' We need that. We need the media to know that some of us are really passionate about music...we need a few more Kanyes, people that's really passionate about Hip Hop and who keep it alive."

Back in 2007, Rakim and Kanye famously collaborated on the song "Classic" with DJ Premier, Nas and KRS-One in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Nike Air Force 1 sneaker.

RELATED: A$AP Rocky Surprised By Rakim On "The Angie Martinez Show"

121 Comments

  • Sekon2NuN

    No RA! We need more Rakims NOT more kanye's.

  • Andre

    I think he wants to hear some music with some more soul.

  • Fuck Names

    What the fuck is a Yeezy!!!???

  • Milehighkid303

    "goons dont use auto-tune, just YEEZY" We need more 50 Cents in hip hop then maybe there wouldnt b all this FUCKERY...........let the backlash begin........

  • Tclems da rap genius

    1st off, If anyone's hating on Rakim...Or even doesn't know who he is...Then you should never come onto this site again and break your computer and/or iPod. With saying that, Rakim is one of the greatest MC's of all time and most respected, and even though Kanye is mainstream and doesn't need more attention..He is right, and Kanye does produce incredible beats and tracks.

  • NaSty

    Its about him being fucked up in Paris being himself. He is telling his life. Music is life you idiots. He gets bitches in the stall at the mall. You don't, so therefore you dumb asses can't relate!

  • Ganxta Banxta

    yo FUCK RaKKKim for brightening this fake nigga KKKanye

  • Anonymous

    Hangin out at the MAAAAAAL & Gettin head in the bathroom staaaaaaaaaall.....-kanye west, niggas in paris thats not good lyricism...just saying

    • Anonymous

      LOL. When Nas drops some exact lines like the one mentioned above, they're godlike. FUCK you Hip Hop fans.

    • FuKKK KKKanye West

      @NaSty What you mean nigga? Why you support somebody who's basically bragging about how rich he is and throwing money at your face, while you feel just like some little piece of shit?

    • Anonymous

      emceeing isn't lyricism. Emceeing means move the crowd.

    • NaSty

      I'm talking to you two specifically ^^

    • FuKKK KKKanye West

      Yeah, I agree with you. When will this punk, chump, pussy, faggot, bitch ass nigga KKKanye understand his "music" is pure GARBAGE!!!???

  • Anonymous

    Rakim is one of the best ever and inspired a whole generation of emcees we all love. Kanye wEST is a great artist, good hip-hop producer and he has a great way of expressing himself thrhough his voice even if he doen't write his own shit. Rakim >>>>> Ye i love em both tho (no tyga)

  • FuKKK KKKanye West

    Rakim can rob, stab, rape, shoot, flense, kill, burn and throw Kanye in the deep blue sea, cause that's what that lil bitch deserves.

  • Anonymous

    From College Dropout to WTT, i always know kanye as a mediocre rapper. He's definitely on of the Great hip hop producers, but he lacks the quality of an Emcee.

    • FuKKK KKKanye West

      You cannot even say that bitch is a great producer, he is terrible in every aspect. I just don't get it. I mean, what the fuck do people see that's so special on that faggot? His voice is annoying, and so are his beats, and he don't know how to write a rhyme. Rakim would destroy that little bitch. Man, I really don't like Kanye West. I really can't stand that little faggot.

  • JC

    Rakim is definitely one of the GOATS! Great memories of last summer watching him kill it on the mic in central park Kanye has got skills. Great producer, talented MC. That's old skool skills there, more than just a lyricist, more than just a producer. I believe that Kanye has got real hip-hop at heart. I hear he wants to do a collabo with Raekwon...that's some real ish

  • uye

    We dont need no more faggots like Kanye. Does he really write his own rhymes? Rememeber when he said he wrote jesus walks? Wel rhymefest wrote it. We need some fresh new rappers with new ideas and not those oldtimers who repeating themselfs album after album

  • Kingpin

    Rakim is seeing Kanye work with people like Raekwon, Q-Tip, and RZA and he thinks by name dropping him, Ye will work with him/sign him too. lol Rakim's talents are very limited compared to those other artists though...I doubt Kanye wants to work with him.. He was dope for his era, but by the time Wu and Nas and big dropped his style got played out.

    • Anonymous

      I'm pretty sure they have worked together already and Kanye has said that he's a huge fan of Rakim. Rakim doesnt need to name drop,and all the best mc's are avid fans of RAKIM. I mean one of Eminem's biggest hits took lyrics from Rakim..nuff said.

  • oskamadison

    Do we need more MC's that put the music and the culture before the bottom line? Absolutely. Do we necessarily need more Kanye Wests? Nope. Even with all the douchebaggery, if you can really say that 'Ye isn't talented and believe it, you're lyin' to yourself.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.He's definately not the best lyricist by a long shot but the best lyricists dont make a "Jesus Walk"..or a "Diamonds from Sierra Leone".He does music that he wants and a lot ppl can relate to or understand, just like Pac. Thats what makes them talented.

  • Aassassin221

    I refuse to co-sign Kanye's assclownery at award shows, fuck that. As a rapper he's not terrible but I can take him or leave him. As a producer, yeah, I'm not even a big fan but he's probably done more to advance hip-hop's beat game than about anybody else in the last 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    theres more kanyes out there, check out Neme$1$ from Pure Balance...the new song they did with Dizzy wright is classic and the beat is classic kanye style...Neme$1$ not only made the beat, but his lyrics are raw as fuck an dude can storytell like biggie

  • Anonymous

    Kanye West had two great first albums, I disowned him when he changed his style to appeal to the pop audience.

  • Anonymous

    The myth that says Kanye isn't that great of a rapper is COMPLETE bullshit. This nigga hold his own and at times even outshined legit GOAT contenders on their own shit. He kept up with Kweli, Black Thought, Jay, Nas and whoever you can think of. He has solo tracks that others would kill for and executes ill, original ideas in a way in music that was unseen in this genre before. Kanye is waaaaaay beyond the Crooked I's of this world, every fuck can rap? But make a difference? That's the work of geniuses.

  • Kanye is a real lyricist

    "I get it customed, you a customer, you aint customed to going through customs you aint been nowhere huh." Most of you youngins probably don't understand half the stuff that comes out Kanye and Jay Z's mouths because you are still wet behind the ears and haven't been anywhere, seen or done anything relevant in your lives. Real talk!

  • The_Observer

    Rakim looking to sign with G.O.O.D Music?

  • Rick

    Take a look at the top 10 Grammy winners and see who's on it. And see how many he's won in comparison to Jigga or anyone else y'all make comparisons to. Yeah, I'd say he's wack... Just stop and take a listen with an unbiased attitude and an open mind and you'll realize how real his shit is.

  • Harilaos

    Rakim is one of the greatest ever and his name would live on through my children, however, Kanye West is the type of man that took Hip Hop to where it is, and thank you for that, but now he needs to fxck off. The world doesn't need another Kanye, never mind HipHop... HipHop needs another Biggie to decide what is on the radio, needs another Pac to decide what is on TV, needs another NASTY Nas and Rakim to tell these people how to rap... Not a motherfxcker like Kanye to tell us how to be a dick...

    • Levi

      I don't think Rakim means we need more Kanye Wests literally. But he is saying we need more artists that have the passion for Hip Hop and love of music like Kanye.

    • Anonymous

      YOU GONNA HAVE TO SPEAK LOUDER BECAUSE HE DON'T HEAR YOU

  • Nasstill@it

    Meant to say Nasir done taken, which is fact tho.

  • Nasstill@it

    Rakim old n washed up, Nasir the crown from dis niggs a long time ago.

  • Anonymous

    No disrepspect but..serious Rakim..Don't give a fick about Kanye Respect for His word But Isn't a hip hop Work i call it A Music Work..Hip hop Need More Black Hippy...Strange Music & Affilieted..Big Krit..we Need The Legend Come Back and Give Us a Fucking Classic Album..we need thems Work Togheter..

  • zachariah

    Kanye has personality, which most rappers lack severely. Seriously work on yourself before you rap, if your style does not come out when you speak then people wont remember you. Jay-z doesn't have half the personality that Ye does. Who do we remember in hip-hop? Eminem, ODB, Bizzy Bone, Game, 2pac etc. Common traits? They stood out in the real world.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes I agree with some of the moves kanye makes and other times I don't but all and all he can make some real music, music I can feel and relate to. He is dope I agree with Ra and we do need more Knayes.

  • koth561

    No Hip Hop doesn't need Kanye West at all

  • ItsTheTruth

    Hip-Hop in this era needs Big Krit, Kendrick Lamar, and Slaughterhouse. Otherwise it's vintage hip-hop for me.

    • Chunk Dogg

      Kendrick rips off Bone N Thugs style.

    • Anonymous

      Saying Kendrick is nothing special is fucking ridiculous under the aspect that he has one of the most original rhymeschemes of all time and switches it always up. Stay listening to your AB shit.

    • Shady

      there is nothin special about Kendrick? He doesnt stand out in a track? Kendrick one of the illest rappers to come out and u say there is nothin special about him, give me a track where he didnt shine on or ur ass jus one of them niggaz that like to comment on shit they dnt knw about.

    • The_Observer

      there is nothing special about Kendrick Lamar, he does not stand out in a calloboration track and his rhymes are just basic....we need more beat makers like Kanye, and more lyricist like Canibus & Killah Priest

    • Anonymous

      I'm in the same boat. Only a select few in this era, otherwise, circa 2001 heavy rotation in my Ipod.

  • L-Boogie

    Yeah Kanye will never be on the level of Nas, Em, 96-03 Jay-z, Pun, Biggie etc. But I wouldn't even put him over Luda, T.I., Lupe, and Game. Luda's first 3 albums>any Kanye album. T.I.'s King album> any Kanye album. The Documentary and Doctors Advocate>any Kanye album.

    • Anonymous

      the game? his songs are a compilation of what other niggas said.

    • ETK

      College Dropout was ill, but T.I.'s KING is on part with most of Kanye's albums on an overall scale. Game.. maybe Documentary, at most. I'll agree that Lupe, Em and Nas will body Kanye anyday.

    • nwo

      to each his own but there's jus no way Luda,Game or T.I every dropped or is even capable of dropping an albulm better than College Dropout. Dat was a complete timeless albulm dat had bars,subject matter and lots of substance along w/elite production. smh at dat comment

    • JC

      Ahhahaa did you say T.I and Game Yeah I agree, epic fail of the century.

    • Anonymous

      Yall are some fucking idiots. Kingdom Come was Jay's best album if we talking a straight lyrical perspective. There was some of the best wordplay ever dropping on there, right from the intro. Jay was showing these clowns how it's done after a 3 year retirement and he was in a zone around that time, which explains the incredible lyricism on the Grammy freestyle.

    • Anonymous

      Not only NYC, i'm hip hop's savior, so after this flow you might owe me a favor. That shit was hard and it shows there was even some decent tracks on kingdom come.

    • Anonymous

      all of jayzs shit was hard. the black album is a true classic

    • Anonymous

      L Boogie...You have the epic fail of the day.

    • Anonymous

      your opinion

  • Anonymous

    Rakim speaks the truth. Yall rappers need to start doing something more original.

  • Anonymous

    Rakim we see you kid ,do you think he can make a come back? Go check this out www.Streetleaguemovement.com

  • Anonymous

    lmao, Jigga is dead weight. People seem to forget that Jay-z was the one who opened doors for Kanye West, the minute he let him produce majority of the blueprint. He was already established and could of got any big name producer, instead He gave Kanye his shot and he delivered. We always praises him for being a great businessman, but people still got the nerve to overlook him as rapper and a creative artist,SMH!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      The perception in Hip Hop is all fucked up, Jay has more skills than all those concious rappers put together, people acting like he can't be an amazing lyricist because he brags about his material wealth. GTFOH! This dude's one of the illest pure spitters of all time. This nigga's resume can easily go with anyone bar for bar.

    • Anonymous

      Word! Jigga is the GOAT. I don't know how people can argue that he's not at least one of the greatest

    • Anonymous

      worddddd my nigga

  • Up North

    Hip Hop could use more Rakim's

  • Mr Flamboyant

    I do agree with the god MC and echo his sentiments regarding Kanye's passion and drive and being a top dog in his craft. Kanye the rapper has improved...still he's not one of the best. But he is true to himself and his craft. That's all you can really ask. Now if he can just lose the dead weight known as Jigga aka the most non creative nigga I know he'll be more than ok.

    • Anonymous

      You're fucking retarded. Calling anyone with the skillset of Jigga who drops wordplay that other couldn't think of in years should disqualify you from sites that are related to Hip Hop in any way forever. His verse on Shiny Suit Theory >>>>>>>>>>> your life.

    • yocuz

      Fuck your opinion. Jigga is the king

  • Big Homie Locc Dogg

    Kanye is NOT a good rapper...hes a OK rapper who happens to be a great producer, with ears to what the "market" (white college kids) wanted back in 2003...

    • Anonymous

      Kanye is one brilliant mind and if you can't appreciate the social science in his lyrics, it's your own fault.

    • Anonymous

      Agree with Loc Dogg, Kanye is an average rapper but a brilliant producer, and be0 lyrics don't have to contribute to a classic album, just look at Doggystyle and The Chronic.

    • The MH

      He has his own style. He speaks his mind and touches on topics most rappers wouldn't dare touch. He is GREAT at making MUSIC. So what if someone can come up with a better metaphor if their songs hold know weight and play out after the first few listens. That being said, he is a good rapper who happens to be a great producer.

    • Big Homie Locc Dogg

      Listen up: I never said he wasnt a good producer, I said he is a GREAT producer, but his raps lack flow like Pepto-Bismol... And, as for multi-platinum sales, fans jockin him, yadda, yadda, yadda, NOBODY down here in the HOOD that I know has ever bought his albums...PEACE...

    • Anonymous

      I agree with locc dogg kanye aight on the Mic. But one hell of talented producer even though his earlier work was better than the shit he making now

    • be0

      how do u explain his multiple classic albulms? U cnt say it was all production either, lyrics have to contribute to a classic albulm

  • be0

    Ye will be a legend in both rapping and producing. U may not like him now, but there's no way to say Kanye wnt be one of the Greats cuz look at his catalog. I say 2 classics but he argubaly based on different opinions has 4(CD,LR,G,MBDTF)classic LP's. How many other rappers have that? No, he's not Nas,Jay,Pac,BIG,Rakim,Em,Pun or some other legends but compared to his peers(Artists of 00's era), he's near the top...I dnt like much of his new material but gotta give credit where it's obviously due

    • Anonymous

      ^^ You're talking out of your ass. Kanye CHANGED the WHOLE landscape of Hip Hop FOREVER. Nobody has done what he did artistically before or after him. Dude has his place in the Top 15 for his creative contributions alone. Dude inspired waaay more rappers than your typical 90's heroes. That 808's was his weakest work and even that influenced thousands of others.

    • Big Homie Locc Dogg

      "Ye will be a legend in both rapping and producing. U may not like him now" U gotta be kiddin me...Does anybody care about JahRule? Chamillionaire? Lil JON? face it, rap changes styles very fast and nobody except a jockrider listens to the same group of artists that were hot 5, 10 years ago.. Classic albums are defined as THOSE THAT CHANGED THE GAME...and in the rap era, there are only about 10 or 12 at the most...

    • L-Boogie

      Kanye's last good album was Graduation,and no MBDTF is not a classic or even close! Even if we're talking about classic albums I'd put T.I. and Ludacris over Ye for the 2000's. I'm sorry but Kanye stans overrate the hell out of him!

  • JAy

    Rakim is old so i dont expect him to know whats "dope" in 2012. Yes Kanye is one of the greatest producers butt if you think that he's one of the greatest EMCEES of all time???!?! Then ur ass needs some help and should do some hw. He can be soo corny at times lol Love ye tho

    • JAy

      I disagree about more Kanyes....after hearing Mercy and the direction he wants to go idk if im as excited for his shit anymore lol

    • Anonymous

      Agreed im not a Kanye West fan but i respect him as a artist hes talanted and unique no dubt.

    • Up North

      Ra being a veteran of hip hop makes him a subject matter expert on the topic. He never called Kanye one of the goats, he simply praised Ye for his passion and the unique capabilities he brings. No one can deny that Hip Hop needs more Kanye's and far less Lil Wayne's. Commend Ra for not being a hater.

  • Anonymous

    the goat says the truth

  • Anonymous

    kanye is in a league of his own real talk

  • ETK

    true that. I been neutral on Kanye for most of his career but no denying he's passionate for the game, and he does the littlest things to set himself apart from other rappers. an advice he told another rapper in his label, big sean or somethin, is that whenever you do a song, you should always thrive for the #1 spot. going for anything less ain't shit. that's why kanye's where he at, and rakim is on point about rappers just showing up to drop 16 bars. tho Kanye does have a few trash guest verses tbh

  • jr88

    kanye puts his heart into his music thats what makes him one of the goat....he is honest unlike rick ross and all these other artist that pretend...kanye just does him and connects with people

    • HereWeGoYo

      Funny you said that because I was just thinking about Devil In A Blue Dress. Kanye put his heart into that song then here come Ross with his same recycled shit. I wish Kanye would have done that entire "Beautiful, Dark, Twisted" album by his damn self with no collabs. A couple of the cameos were cool. Most of them you can tell went into the studio and just did their little dry bars.

  • Anonymous

    rakim has a habit of sucking who ever is on top of the game! There said it...

  • Truth

    So how many G.O.A.T.'s need to cosign Kanye before the Internet Trolls stop hating? I'm guessing at least 4,000. Kanye is awesome. He and Rakim need to work together again.

    • Big Homie Locc Dogg

      "Kanye is awesome. He and Rakim need to work together again" Rakim is B.R.O.K.E. He doesnt have KANYES phone number, and he wants to get his lil gay nephew into the game, and since he heard that them Illuminati MAN PURSE carrying homo-thugs like shrimp AND oysters...maybe he can get a co-sign on a 360 deal and start endorsing DEPENDS and ENSURE...

    • L-Boogie

      I'm sorry but Kanye will never be the goat, I can name 20 rappers that can rap circles around KanGaye West! Kanye stans are the worst, even Eminem stans don't compare because Eminem actually has SKILL!!

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