Hip hop's golden age began in 1986, the day Rakim stepped to a microphone to record "Eric B Is President." Only 18 years old, Rakim had a smooth, effortless flow that brought a cool melodicism and high intelligence to the MC game - he gave both fire and ice, set within the wiry frame of his serious features. His partnership with his DJ, Eric B, yielded four great albums and numerous classic singels before Rakim split for a solo career. Despite initial success with 1997's The 18th Letter, he endured several frustatingly fruitless years signed to Dr Dre's Aftermath, working on an album that never came. Yet in 2012, The Source named him the greatest MC of all time. In this talk at the 2013 RBMA in New York, Rakim discusses living in the moment, the 80s, and the various challenges of the music industry.

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