Lakim Shabazz – The Voice of Power
Wednesday April 05th 2006,
Filed under: Flavor Unit Special,Steady Bootleggin'
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Without a doubt, Lakim Shabazz was the busiest member of the Flavor Unit during their peak period, with two solo long-players to his credit and guest shots on every 45 King album that featured vocals. This little guy with the voice of a giant was also staunch representative of the 5% Nation of Islam, which he repped in every aspect – from his traditional Muslim clothes to entire songs featuring “Supreme Mathematic” lessons. He even flew to Egypt to shoot the cover to his second album! These days, of course, such a strong Islamic image would ensure that your album would never even get pressed in the US, given the current political climate, but in 1988 a large section of the hip-hop community were spreading the word of Allah, warning us about “the devil’s tricknology” and insisting that we take the pork off our fork. Can you imagine a popular underground group (like Brand Nubian were at the time) releasing a song called “Allah U Akbar” in 2006?

Thanks to some of The 45 King’s finest boardwork, even the most anti-Muslim rap fan couldn’t help but rock to the hardcore swing of Lakim Shabazz’s tracks. Originally performing under the title of MC La Kim, his early work with DJ Mark focused on declaring the supremacy of the Flavor Unit and the King’s beats as much as it did setting off the crowd, as he lent his verses to staples like “The 900 Number” (which later returned on his debut as “The Posse Is Large” remix), “Master of the Game” and “We Got The Funk”.

For his solo albums, however, the focus shifted towards a more righteous tone, as titles like “First In Existance”, “Black Is Back” and “No Justice No Peace” give a clear indication as to where he was coming from. The thing was, even the rhetoric-heavy material still stands up as certified dope hip-hop thanks to the strength of the production and Lakim’s commanding vocal presence.

Whether it’s the hypnotic deep funk vocal riff running through “Sample The Dope Noise”, the hardcore noise and tense pace of “When You See A Devil Smash Him” or the relentless horn blasts of “The Red The Black The Green”, you’re hearing The 45 King in his prime. Collectively, they deliver what is perhaps the definitive Lakim/45 King creation for the mighty “Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With God”. This lost b-side captures everything that made the original Unit so great – a dusty, rolling drum break, tense keys and strategically-placed piano rolls, topped off with DJ Mark’s signature horns, while Shabazz unleashs a verbal whirlwind that leaves no question that he’s running shit in this piece. Basement flavor hip-hop finally achieved perfection for almost four-and-a-half minutes.

Of the handful of cuts he recorded without the King, the self-produced “Hands of Fate” delivers an effective “Apache” assisted homage to his DJ, Cee Just, while the Flavor U’s other secret weapon – Louie Louie – puts his own spin on the King’s horn-heavy style for the noteworthy “Style Is Free”, allowing Lakim to flex on “backstabbers” and “dope beat grabbers”.

Following his days on Tuff City, Lakim co-produced “Fuck What You Heard” (ie gave D the bassline) on Diamond D’s Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop, and recorded a song with “the best kept secret” called “I Can’t Take No More” for 1993’s Class A Felony album…but that’s another post. Recently, he appeared on 45 King’s The Cat Jams LP (look for my review in the next couple of days) and dropped a 12″ with him on BBP a few months back.

45 King & Lakim Shabazz – We Got The Funk [45 Kingdom, Tuff City, 1988]

Lakim Shabazz – Sample The Dope Noise [Pure Righteousness, Tuff City, 1988]

45 King & Lakim Shabazz – The Red The Black The Green [12″ single, Tuff City, 1989]

Lakim Shabazz – You’re Arm’s Too Short To Box With God [Black Is Back 12″, Tuff City, 1989]

Louie Louie & Lakim Shabazz – Style Is Free [Rhythmical Madness, Tuff City, 1989]

45 King & Lakim Shabazz – Master of the Game [Master of the Game, Tuff City, 1990]

Lakim Shabazz – When You See A Devil Smash Him [The Lost Tribe of Shabazz, Tuff City, 1990]

Lakim Shabazz – Hands of Fate [The 45 King Presents: The Flavor Unit, Tuff City, 1990]

Lakim Shabazz Discography

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15 Comments so far
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I was digging at a record store once and fiendishly coped what I thought was a “Protect Ya Neck” white artless, 12″ single, only to pop it open and discover, nope, it was a Lakim Shabazz record(Classic beat digging gaffle). Interestingly enough, the song contained the beat Doctor Dre from Yo!MTV raps would play for the Ed Lover dance, so I still made out in the end.

Comment by Bruno Zaire 04.06.06 @

Excellent subject, Robbie. The King & Lakim collabs are still some of my favorites.

Comment by fosterakahunter 04.06.06 @

I didn’t even know of that new Lakim Shabazz 12″s existence until a week ago.

His two songs on “cat jams” are dope but it’s that Chill Rob G freestyle over the “love rap” beat i’m feelin’ the most.

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 04.06.06 @

your arm’s too short is my jam!!!

nice audio selections overall from a very underrated lyricist.

didn’t see that BBP joint until now, either…nice shot, troop.

Comment by thesurgeongeneral 04.07.06 @

I find it rather strange Lakim didn’t sample BDK for a chorus on that “Your Arm’s” track. There’s a vocal on “Young, Gifted, & Black” that would have matched the title well.

Comment by Kafka 04.07.06 @

good point kafka…i cut that over that track before…sounds nice.

Comment by thesurgeongeneral 04.08.06 @

man…where the hell is he these days?…and thanks so much for the ill as fuck mp3s…especially those ones that were only on 12″…any chance of please upping the “Need Some Lovin” (Antexx remix)?

Much love Robbie

Comment by Jaz 04.09.06 @

Lost Tribe of Shabazz has been one of my favourite albums since 1990. Thanks for the MP3s.

Comment by End Level Boss 04.11.06 @

Lakim was indeed fresh. I remember having to make the call between buying ‘Pure Righteousness’ or the Demon Boyz ‘Recognition’ album. I went with Lakim, although I returned for the Demonz later on.

Lakim’s cut with Maceo Parker, ‘Horns Are Horny’, is one of my favourite lesser-known Lakim cuts. Really dope.

Comment by chr!s 04.13.06 @

Tuff City needs to do Lakim’s back catalog some justice with some CD reissues!

Comment by Elphonics 04.16.06 @

Lakim’s new 12″ is DOPE! Go out and purchase it. 45 King and Shabazz back in effect in ’06!

Comment by notes from underground 04.18.06 @

Lakim Shabazz is my people(like family). I haven’t spoken to him in years.I’ve been looking,watching and waiting for him to do something.He had a bad contract situation or something of the sort.Lakim was doing what the Wu did after him…Spread knowledge.X-Clan is back hopefully he’ll follow suit !

Comment by POETICDRINK2U 05.10.06 @

Pure Righteousness was once released on CD by a German label, but it’s a very rare find and probably expensive when it surfaces. Lucky for me I have the LP as well as a CD-R copy… but it’s an absolute must for 45 King fans. Come ‘on Tuff City, let’s get crackin’ on this CD re-issue! -BC

Comment by BC 10.21.06 @

Ahh yes!!!any chance of please upping the “Need Some Lovin” (Antexx remix)? That was tight!!!
He was also on TUFF CITY…. man those labels screwed everybody…from PROFILE/WILD PITCH/TUFF CITY, just ruined a great deal of sh*t!!!!!!

Comment by Set_Rule 12.21.06 @

Robbie – some rare Lakim Shabazz footage. If you havent seen this already you need to, its dope.
(copy n paste link above)

Comment by P.M.ES 05.14.07 @

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