In terms of rappers that have been around the block, there are few that have traveled further than Rakim. From the early days with Eric B, The R established himself as one of the true legends behind the mic.
Blentwell feature a great showcase from Elmattic tracing the history of this boy with the golden tonsils from Queens. There’s something in this laidback delivery that you rarely see in current hip hop but at the time was popularized by Rakim and the likes of Guru from Gangstarr.
The other thing about Rakim is that just about everybody remixed him (his biggest hit in the UK being ‘Paid in Full’ remixed by none other than a very young Norman Cook) and there are a bunch of those remixes featured here. Some of my faves are the ones where the vocals are cut back to grunts and shouts over a percussive workout.