For all the critical acclaim he’s received both as a soloist and alongside Eric B., it’s safe to assume that a lot has changed since Rakim’s first commercial release in 1987. The man regarded by many as the greatest emcee of all time has been able to adapt to different generations of Hip Hop fans, yet in an interview with UK’s The Guardian, Ra openly admitted there was room for improvement in the current scene.
“The conscious level is definitely low and the substance of the music is so much lighter, but you have to understand the game is young in new places. It’s still growing,” Rakim said. “We really need some of that consciousness, that fly on the wall that watches over us and comments. I like B.o.B and Lupe Fiasco a lot, they’re both exploring the music, but I don’t see a lot of artistry out there.”
While the current, single-driven climate can produce wildly profitably artists with no longevity, Ra also revealed that his legendary status doesn’t reflect the financial boom popularized during the ‘90’s on shows such as “MTV Cribs.”
“My accountant has me on an allowance,” Ra added. “He works out how much money is coming in, how much we have already and he makes it pay over the year. So some weeks we might have $1500, some we might only have $500, but my family understands all that. I’m not a mainstream artist. But I’ve seen my kids being born, I’ve seen them take their first steps, I’ve seen them grow up and start school. That’s worth more to me than any umpteen million dollars.”
The full interview, which also includes commentary from Posdnuos of De La Soul, is available at The Guardian’s official site.