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William Michael Griffin, Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. He was born on January 28, 1968.


If there is a goat its rakim. Complex lyricism, and the best flow in hip-hop history was very soft spoken in a time when being very energetic was the style credit 2pac and Nas style as a direct influence of Rakim and what he did on the mic is untouchable if you think 2pac is the best your a novice no slight to pac he was a great emcee but rakim is the emcee. - ChrisHenry

I believe you can put Rakim, Biggie, and Eminem in any of the top 3 slots and be correct, however I posted my vote here because it is a travisty and total disrespect to have the "God MC" this far down on any list ranking hip hop. " Even if it jazz or the quiet storm;I hook a beat up convert it in a hip hop form; write a rhyme in graffitti in every show you see me in; deep concentration cause I'm no comedian; jokers are wild if you wanna be tamed; I treat you like a child and you're gonna be named; another enemy, not even a friend of me; cause you get fried in the end if you pretend to be-competing cause I just put your mind on pause; and I can beat you when you compare my rhyme with yours; I wake you up and as I stare in your face you seemed stun; remember me the one you got your idea from; but soon you start to suffer and then you get rougher; when you start to stutter that's when youve had enough of; biting it can make you choke you can't provoke you can't cope;you should of broke ...more

He set the precedence for all rappers before and after him, alive or dead. His flow, delivery, subject matter, content, patterns, syllables, metering (poetic skills) and many more attributes are second to none, especially at a time when no one else was doing it. Its easy for rappers after him to claim greatness but they had a blue print to follow. - cowcod

Rakim, must be given recognition in hip hop due to his most classic work, with DJ Eric.B. all albums with Eric. B were brilliant in showcasing Rakim's lyrical skill. Rakim is a master on the mic, never missing a beat. His first eagerly anticipated solo album The 18th Letter was a critical success and a present for all of Rakim's fans. Rakim's best songs include I Ain't No Joke, I Know You Got Soul, Lyrics Of Fury, Follow The Leader, What's On Your Mind, Know The Ledge and The Mystery. If you don't know who Rakim is you must go back and explore the excellence of the Golden Age of Hip Hop. - MickyG94

Rakim's style, flow, delivery, lyrics and versatility is not only unmatched it laid the blue print for true lyricists and changed the way everyone viewed hip hop and flowed. He is responsible for the modern day flow of rappers and the standard that everyone today is judged by. That's why the Hip Hop artists themselves call him the "GOD" not just the GOAT when it comes to lyrics and no one has ever challenged him on the mic. Keep in mind Biggie, Pac, Eminem and others today are doing his style and he did it in 1986. Truly the GOD on the MIC


Trust me, I have so many rappers that I like, being unable to cram them all at once into a seat of 10 offends me, but what offends me worst is when I see Rakim's name anywhere OUTSIDE the Top 10, ok, Kool G Rap, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane outside the Top 10, I hate being unable to slot them in, but they aren't must-slots, Rakim is a guaranteed MUST

He easily slots into every category of Top 10 lists related to the very bests of rap, even amongst the Top 10 rappers who rarely swear, timeless, It's Been A Long Time easily outshines Nas Is Like, When I B On the Mic easily makes Empire State Of Mind look like a poorly-made 60s commercial, his greatest joints like Eric B Is President and Paid In Full are TIMELESS CLASSICS

Rakim is in a class of his own, the only ones worthy of having their names written next to this god besides Kool G Rap, Slick Rick or Big Daddy Kane are, in no particular order, Biggie, Pac, Em, Nas, Ghost and GZA

As I've said, I'd like to try and ...more - Jizzi

Rakim is the Jordan of the rap game. You ask anyone of the other rappers mentioned here in the top ten list and beyond and they will all unequivocally say they look up to Rakim as the best of all time. That should tell you all you need to know. Like that other commentator, I'm in my 40's so I have seen the evolution of hip hop. If you are in your early 30's or younger you have no idea how Rakim was the one who changed the hip hop game and set the bar to a level that to this day still has not been broken. Rakim is #1

I've been to one of his live performances, and he will obliterate every other rapper that you have heard in person. Sure Eazy-E, 2pac, Biggie are nice but this is a great opportunity to see a great rapper now in these days. I'm not Saying any of the younger rappers are all bad, but here's a living legend. Take advantage of the things we have before they're gone.

Rakim is with out a doubt the greatest of all time, so smooth so lyrical, he makes rapping sound easy like he's not even breaking a sweat, he's influenced so many of the great names on this list Pac, Big, Nas, this guy should honestly be number one and if you disagree listen to anything from the album paid in full or the other albums he did with Eric B. Rakim = Greatest Of All Time

How is he not even in the top 10? How isn't he in the top 3? Honestly, God-MC... He's too good. With Eric B making his beats, he had everything. Lyrics, flow, influence, this guy had everything. He shouldn't even be compared with Kanye West, Jay-Z, or whoever those guys ranked 6 through 8 are. The only rappers who could ever even be compared to him are Eminem, Biggie or Tupac, who became too mainstream, Ice Cube, Big-L, or Nas.

God, why can't people see the truth or just shut up? Eminem, ahead of Rakim and Nas? Seriously people, Eminem doesn't have an album nearly as good as Illmatic or Paid in Full... Nas is the equal of some Nobel Prizes. Rakim has maybe THE best flow of all time. And Jay-Z's puns and literary figures are far more nuanced and witty.
Goes without saying, Kanye West is an underrated artist and rapper and he should be at least ahead of Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg.
Time to really listen to the music and to understand the themes and lyrics people, don't believe the hype. (By the way... WHERE IS PUBLIC ENEMY? CHUCK D IS A MASTER! )

Smoothest rapping. can't be copied. Eric B's beats-Yeah!
check out-
Paid in full
Don't Sweat the Technique
Let the Rhythm Hit 'em
My Melody

You guys voting must be too young to know or understand the "artistry" behind what makes a rapper

11? Are chopsticks and pizzas running this page? Rakim deserves to be in the top 5! This legend being on 11 is a proof how dead and rotten rap has become with people inclining more towards the likes of Lil Wayne and Iggy Azalea. Real hip hop needs to be taught to people or the day ain't far when we'll see Justin Bieber topping the rappers charts.

Move Rakim up the list! Top 5 minimum. This list is just a popularity contest.

Sad to see this at 22, Tech N9ne and Rakim are the greatest emcees ever, skills, flow, delivery. Rakim changed the game completely, no-one was ever as good to do it, He shaped the way Hip Hop should be since he was 17 and dropped his FIRST album. Make way for the GOAT. Not to mention nobody has ever been a deeper MC, Common comes close

If this list is about the best *rappers* - you know, who's got the best ability on the mic - then how the hell is rakim #16? I love dre, but he's got nothing on rakim's mic technique and lyricism. Listen to "know the ledge" if you haven't yet.

Rakim is truly old school he taught Tupac, Biggie, and Eminem yo..they were all toddlers if that. I agree Rakim is in a league of his own..besides the harder times created the best rappers...In the 80s times were harder than the 90s and today's era. you had to be a real creator. not a biter..like all of today's rappers hey I'm from the south bronx where it started. It just knowing from experience...now a days these rappers are all biting from each other..they have no creativity like Rakim...

The mic God, God MC, THE MASTER OF FLOW, pioneer of internal rhyming in lyrics, anything your favorite rapper does you can trace back to this guy, he makes rhyming and rapping sound easy, If you don't know who he is look up Paid in Full, Follow the Leader or Don't sweat the Technique, you'll be amazed.

This guy's a legend. Even Eminem looks up to him. Eminem's lyrics are hateful and offensive most of the time. Though Eminem has very good flow and delivery. But rakim's lyrics are spiritual and he incorporates his religious beliefs. His lyrics aren't very hateful are cringing to listen to.

This guy defined rap. All you kids out there are voting for rappers that you only heard of. Make a decision on whose the best rapper when you actually heard of other rappers instead of BIG, PAC, or EM. Honestly to see Rakim and other notable rappers this low on the list is sad. Times sure have changed.

This is sad I was gonna vote for Eminem or Nas but then I saw Lil Wayne ahead of rakim. Rakim and Big daddy Kane took rap to a whole new level they had more complex rhymes then anyone in their timeline. I just wish more people could see this and know that rakim is basically the reason why many rappers started rapping. He is really influential.

This guy was the best ever, absolutely no contest. Nas learned his style from rakim, as did so many MC's to come after him. His flow as unbelievable and his lyrics were SO tight, and he never rapped about drugs cars or girls. This is disappointing

Paved the way for what we now know as contemporary rap. Nobody was dropping multis nor complex rhyme schemes until Rakim showed them how, and that it sold records. In addition to his incredible work with Eric B, Rakim has since branched out on his own, and is good for an above average album offering every so often well into his later years. People sleep on his later work: tracks like When I Be On The Mic, and 7th seal are great examples...