ALBUM REVIEW: Rakim – The Seventh Seal

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Whenever any ’70s or ’80s babies preach about the classic days of Hip Hop, they usually refer to the early ’80s and 90s era. But what they most commonly mention is that one particular individual defined what it meant to be an enigmatic emcee during this period. Rakim, the proclaimed “God MC” drops his eagerly anticipated third solo LP, seven years after it was announced he would be returning to the booth.

Whilst collaborations with Dr Dre broke down early, the R still pursued his comeback and with the Biblically referenced Seventh Seal album ready, is this the Armageddon which the rap game has been waiting for?

Although the album title refers to the end times, in this case it marks a new beginning for the rap legend. An album which plays out like the chronicles of an OG, Rakim’s lyrical dexterity covers more than just being the illest rhymer his earlier works once boasted.

Looking at the struggles of street life on “Won’t Be Long”, love on “You & I” and faith on “Man Above”, Rakim’s rhymes have matured gracefully. Yet, there was no second guessing that the R would give listeners a throwback to his early days of claiming the lyrical bragging rights.

The throwback track “How To EmCee” schools the new generation on the makings of a classic artist whilst “Holy Are You” provides more slightly exaggerated self-exaltation from the God MC, although most Hip Hop heads wouldn’t disagree with his claims.

Although Dr Dre’s presence may have added something extra to the album, production from Nottz, Jake One, and Nick Wizz still provide a perfect score to Rakim’s parables.

The Seventh Seal, to conclude, won’t be replacing any albums in a rap fans top ten of all time. But what can be agreed upon is that the ethos of making quality music still remains within Rakim.

Whilst it may be overlooked by today’s rap fans, it should resonate within any fan of the “golden generation” and serve as a reminder that good, solid Hip Hop can still be made by in the new millennium.

The Seventh Seal is out now on Ra Records/TVM/SMC Recordings.

Reviewed by Henry Yanney