With his most recent release The Seventh Seal dropping in 2009, Rakim faced some criticism for the album’s content and aesthetic, a chance he knew he was taking. Speaking with splash! Mag TV, the God MC explained that he didn’t let fans’ negative reactions to the album get to him and that he would never sacrifice his style to adapt to the times.

“You care about it, but you don’t let it do nothing to you. It’s rap, it’s an album, some people will like it, some people won’t. Hip Hop is so diverse and mixed right now, you have a lot of fans who like radio-friendly Hip Hop. I don’t do that. You have a lot of fans who like pop Hip Hop. I don’t do that. You got a lot of fans that like different styles,” he said. “I’m from my era, I’m known for doing a certain kind of music. I don’t want to switch off and do what Lil Wayne is doing. That ain’t Rakim. I can’t switch off and do what Wiz Khalifa’s doing. That’s not Rakim. It’s hard trying to keep up with what’s going on and still keep your integrity and keep your logo and your brand of who you are with these times. I made a statement. Definitely wanted to bring about that awareness with a conscious album.”

The Seventh Seal, which bowed at No. 61 on the Billboard 200 with 12,000 copies sold in its first week, was Rakim’s attempt to make what he claims is a “conscious album.”

“I wanted to do a conscious album. There’s zero conscious in the hood right now, zero conscious in Hip Hop right now. But as far as Rakim, I had to do what I felt people expected from me, made a big statement. It’s good that I got that off my chest. Now, I can get back in the studio and have a little fun and not worry about having so many responsibilities and weight on my back.”

Watch the rest of the interview below.

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