In an interview with SindanuTV, prolific producer Pete Rock recounted his time spent working with Rakim on the slept-on track “The Saga Begins.” Rock compared the vibe of the song to those on Rakim and Eric B.‘s most acclaimed album, 1987’s Paid in Full.

“When [Rakim] did ‘The Saga Begins’ it was almost like a Paid in Full feeling. It didn’t sound like anything on Paid in Full but it just gave me that feeling of working with Rakim, the greatest emcee ever. Even before Nas, I claim [Rakim] to be the best–along with Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One.” 

Although Rock named several emcees who he holds in high esteem, he explained why Rakim holds the crown.

“To me he’s number one at the top of my list because the rhymes he was writing and saying, no one else was doing it like that…the voice, the flow, it was just incredible…When he did ‘The Saga’ it just made me so proud of myself to be in that position and to be able to do a beat that he likes.”