“Even if it’s jazz or the quiet storm/ I hook a beat up, convert it into hip-hop form.”

—"I Ain't No Joke" (

Paid in Full

, 1987)

“Thinkin’ of a master plan/ ’Cause ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand.”

—"Paid in Full" (

Paid in Full


“Pull out my weapon and start to squeeze/ A magnum as a microphone murderin’ MCs.”
—“Follow the Leader” (Follow the Leader, 1988)

“I’m the arsenal/ I got artillery, lyrics of ammo/ Rounds of rhythm/ Then I’m ’a give ’em piano.”
—“Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em” (Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em, 1990)

“I grew up on the sidewalk/ Where I learned street talk/ And then taught to hawk New York.”
—“Juice (Know the Ledge)” (Don’t Sweat the Technique, 1992)

SEE IT: Rakim plays Dante’sD, 350 W Burnside St., with Sleep, Cool Nutz, Serge Severe, Half Man Half, Destro and L-Pro, on Thursday, Feb. 28. 9 pm. $18. 21+.