The last time HipHopDX spoke to Rakim [click to read], his plans were to release his third full solo album in late 2008. One year later, fans are still anticipating the release of The Seventh Seal, the title of the as of yet unreleased CD. However, Rakim recently told Billboard.com that the album will definitely see a fall release. He explained that his inspiration comes from a desire to bring diversity back into the game since he feels it has become lost in the mainstream.
"When you look at Hip Hop," he said, "I want to do that: to spit fire and take our best from the ashes to build our kingdom; to recognize all the regional styles, conscious lyrics, the tracks, underground, mainstream, the way we treat each other. Lose the garbage and rebuild our scene. I've always tried to insert consciousness and spirituality in my records, interpreting the writings of all cultures and religions and how they apply to life in modern times."
Rakim kept mum about producers and features on the album, but suggested that he would introduce new talent and feature recognized artists.
"I'm going to keep that cat in the bag for one more minute. But you'll see names you know and names you don't recognize yet but will after this drops. We've got our New York dudes on there, but we reached out to everybody. We have some features too; special cats in the right places but not everywhere."
Having just come off a brief stint on Aftermath Records, there was a possibility that collaborative tracks between him and Dr. Dre would turn up on The Seventh Seal. However, Rakim told Billboard.com that those tracks would not see the light of day, although he was open to working with Dre in the future.
"No doubt [I am willing to work with him] if the project and the timing are right. He's got his thing going on and I got mine. But I know our camps will look for ways to mix things up."
The Seventh Seal will release this fall. To read Rakim's full interview with Billboard.com in which he talks about how the name of the album came to be, and what he thinks about Hip Hop's youth, [click here].