Rakim – The Seventh Seal Album Review
Monday November 16th 2009,
Filed under: Albums,Not Your Average,Reviews,Strong Island,The Unkut Opinion
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Rakim has had some tough breaks over his career in the music business – having dealt with bad record contracts, a DJ of questionable ability and some misguided A&R people on his two previous solo projects, some of which he addresses on ‘Won’t Be Long’ – but this time around he’s taken his destiny into his own hands and released the latest chapter in his legacy on his own label. Finally we get to hear that raw, pure Rakim record we’ve been waiting for…right?

Here’s the thing – although Ra is free of the shackles and expectations of a major record label, he also doesn’t seem to have the budget – so instead of beats from Pete Rock, DJ Premier and DJ Clark Kent, The God is unleashing his vocals over tracks from Nick Wiz, Jake One, Nottz and a bunch of no-names. Nothing wrong with the quality of the work those guys usually deliver, but on this project everything sounds hopelessly out-dated. I guess we won’t have to worry about some clueless label jerk forcing The 7th Letter to put Akon or Ne-Yo on his hooks either, huh? Nah, instead we get sub-par hooks provided by people like IQ, Samuel Christian and Tracey Horton…whoever they are. Destiny Griffin is his daughter, obviously, but that doesn’t excuse the rest of those bums.

Beats and hooks aren’t everything though – surely Rakim has some lyrics of fury to keep us with our ear glued to the speaker? To be honest, he sounds pretty bored for the majority of the record, as he compares pushing his music to slinging dope, dedicates several songs to the special lady in his life, constantly reminds us of his legendary status and how much he loves hip-hop and tries to sound current by making a song with Maino. Not exactly ‘Follow The Leader’, is it? ‘Holy Are You’ is the closest thing to a classic Rakim rhyme, but despite it’s grand intentions it it doesn’t quite manage to get off the ground. ‘How To Emcee’ isn’t as helpful as the title might suggest, as Ra merely reflects on his own achievements and takes a jab at rapper’s who use ghost-writers. The low-point is found on ‘Message In The Song’, where our hero awkwardly attempts his version of a double-time flow over a stuttering drum track – ‘Notorious Thugs’ this ain’t.

I never thought I’d have to say this, but after enduring The Seventh Seal I’m tempted to suggest that I’d be pretty happy if Rakim never released another solo album ever again, else it tarnish his impressive musical history any further. He doesn’t even sound like he wants to be making music at this point, and who could blame him. Rap took so much from Rakim Allah, but didn’t give him back much in return. He changed the game forever in 1986, sending sucker MC’s back to the lab for more practice and providing modern-day biters with classic lines to mine, but where do you go from there? He’s considered by many to be the greatest to ever do it, but even Dr. Dre saw that his heart wasn’t in it anymore. Our rap legends deserve better than this.


83 Comments so far
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thats a damn shame. its too bad too. I recently heard an mc lyte track with pos k; and it made me wanna bust shots at my ipod. dare i say it? the old school may truly be over the hill. it would make more sense if they brought in bridge cats like hov, breeze, talib, and mos as consultants on the projects. at least theyll have some shot at relevance.

Comment by major 11.16.09 @

It was only his schedule that caused Akon to miss the cut for the album (for ‘Walk These Streets’)…

Comment by PM 11.16.09 @

“at rapper’s who use ghost-writers”

Rappers, not rapper’s. Plural. “hiphop journalists” need to learn English.

Rakim is a lost cause, overrated to begin with. I did not expect anything from this. Every current artists is shit. The old ones have become shit. HipHop is dead.

Comment by No Surprise 11.16.09 @

yo’ Rakim’s comeback does includes “Holy Are U” and “Message In The Song”, and while the record is without a Premo track it’s still worth the price of admission. A Ne-Yo or Akon would only have made it worst. However a Nas, Raekwon or Ghostface would’ve been welcomed.

Long Live The God!

Comment by Sound Verite' 11.16.09 @

RAKIM STOLE A BEAT ON HIS NEW ALBUM
today i was surfing on an italian hip hop board and a veteran italian producer, bassi maestro (myspace.com/bassimaestrovelm) posted this:
“hi i don’t usually write on the boards but this time i’m really pissed off
i’ve just discoverd that on the new rakim album there’s one of my productions, i didn’t get the credit (jake one is probably the credited pruducer) . the exact same beat was used by me and Rido on the song “Tu non mi rispetti” on the compilation “Esuberanza” a few years ago. The same thing happend recently, on the chico debarge album for the song “Math feat. Talib Kweli” in witch they used my beat without my permission or giving me credit. i used that beat before they did for the song “Noi come loro Feat Kiave”. Both my beats came from a beat cd i passed at some people at new yuor in 2003!
i know that i should tag my beats because those things happens frequently. i’m really blasted and sad. First of all because those artists are artists and producers that i’ve always supported. Second because what this thing have to do with the meaning i’ve always give in producing music.”

the links for the songs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niQ0xN8mxs4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6xjIA98b7Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lRVKWYQtBk
http://www.limelinx.com/files/31c3035604114ffff8ee2dad52361c99

Comment by stexdo 11.16.09 @

i had high hopes for this album after hearing the Fame produced “I’m Back”. Unfortunately this song didn’t even make the album and the beats that did are wack no question…and ya Ra sounds like his heart isn’t in it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFOIJNPOi14

Comment by JP 11.16.09 @

This is no coincidence. Rakim couldn’t deliver with Premier or Dre. He should have taken to Big Daddy Kane route and instead of releasing albums he should have just released a single once every 3 years, but make that single hot as fuck. Instead he released a weak album that now makes me think twice when people say Rakim is the GOAT.

Comment by bc-tw 11.16.09 @

Your right dogz…Thank you for being honest, so many dudes out there are scared to tell the straight up truth….I really wanted to like the album, but it just wasn’t poppin…

I expected the beats to be shaky, but what I didn’t expect is the rhymes to sound so uninspired….Fuck it, he is still one of the best to ever do it and we all learned a lot from him…

Comment by shamz 11.16.09 @

This release needs to be saved, we cannot afford to keep having our greats put out lackluster music, so Ra release the the no beat version and of the album let some producers remix a song or two and make it a competition,

Comment by The Editor 11.16.09 @

Remix some joints take the albums people barely heard, like the MOP joint, the Fat Joe joint and Slaughter House and Tech 9, Master Killa did a joint, take some of them RAE beats or even some of the Beats from Chamber Music, lets save this people

Comment by The Editor 11.16.09 @

even if ‘the master’ doesn’t let me have great
expectations i’m kinda disapointed.the gods must be crazy.

Comment by swordfish 11.16.09 @

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT..AS GREAT AS RA IS..HE MAXED OUT ON HIS FIRST FOUR ALBUM RELEASES..

Comment by TYBO2020 11.16.09 @

It’s a sad day when your worst fears come true. To me, THE GREATS STAY GREAT. Maybe I’m too harsh a critic, but I feel like even if you’re an elder statesman, no matter what genre of music, there should be at least SOME material that you deliver that I’d feel but, more often than not, that is not the case. Ra.I actually liked the second solo,THE MASTER better,But I wasnt really feeling too much of his stuff after that. And I’m a RAKIM devotee. Like the other poster said, I’d rather him fall back and do shows rather than put out sub par material. I guess now I have my answer, BIG DADDY KANE is the man.

Comment by esteeminatti 11.16.09 @

Yeah, I listened to more than half the album and there was singing on almost every hook.smh

I would think that Nick Wiz would be good for this project, but even he has watered his beats down with bullshit synth sounds ruining his sampled production.
This album sucks, but I didn’t really expect it to be good, anyway.

And I wouldn’t claim that he stole any beats for this, as most the beats suck ass.

Comment by verge 11.16.09 @

I’m disappointed in the production / beat selection on “7th Seal”. I’m sure Rakim’s wordplay is tight, but as a DJ, I cant get past the production. I would have jumped in the stdio cranked out a banger for FREE. It hurts to hear one of my Top 10 MC’s of all times release this.

Comment by OhsoKool 11.16.09 @

It almost feels blasphemous. Cut keepin it 100…I gotta say that the album” ain’t gonna cut it”. He sounds uninspired..and the beat selections are more than questionable. Damn Ra!…I damn near feel disrespectful saying it…”The God M.C. put out a weak project”.This tilts the never ending argument I have with myself about my personal G.O.A.T….Kool G. Rap..all day!

Comment by clubba lang 11.16.09 @

release te accapelaa version and let c#nts go to town on it
!

Comment by insidepulse 11.16.09 @

I’d like to say I’m disappointed… but I’m not. It’s about as good (or not so much) as I thought it’d be. Not that Rakim has anything to prove, but even given that, he definitely didn’t prove much of anything with this one.

The only thing you can really expect from your favorite artists is that they WILL let you down. Expecting that not to happen is just a setup for disappointment. My Rakim disappointment happened 12 years ago, and again 10 years ago, so I’m jaded at this point, haha

-D!

Comment by DANJ! 11.16.09 @

Ra hasn’t been the same since his ‘Juice’ joints(know the ledge,dont sweat the technique)..And say what u want about Eric B but they made classics together,ever since they went their own ways the God hasn’t been the same

Comment by dj blendz 11.16.09 @

crazy yall talkin about his album cause I was just about to take it off my ipod…and I felt bad doing it, so I let it rock all weekend hoping that I just didnt hear it right…after watching pacman/cotto, crazy bent, I just KNEW that shit would sound at least iight in the whip…nah…a few joints knock but…I dont know yo…
I think you summed it up perfectly…but he’s still the GOAT no matter how many bad albums he puts out, thats what I dont agree with. I mean c’mon he came out in fkn 1986!
I dont believe in knocking down the legends just cause I can and Im opionated as a fan, thats what those pop top 40 fans do, this is hip hop, this is forever…right?
thats why we dont got shit as it is cause how we treat OUR culture as a whole…
ok so say rakim aint the GOAT no more…so now who do you cut in paste in his place? see what Im sayin?
yeah his album is bad, yeah he coulda got so & so on it..but he didnt, and thats not enough to start doubting him or trying to knock his legendary status after all this time. what is that? When you “journalist” do that kinda shit out in the open you let open the flood gates for the haters and pop whores to openly agree with you but with malice….we got to perserve this shit yo, especially when you know we only got a handful of authentic MC’s left like the R…

Comment by QUNYC 11.16.09 @

The album should have been more lyrical. The beat selection is modern but on the safe side. For new listeners it will be a good album.
Agreed “Holy Are You” is the only joint the comes close to expected greatness.
Maybe the next one will be racing for the legendary status Rah is known for instead of being a warm up lap.

“Psychic Love” is a banging beat. Some beats are dope, but he needs to put the a cappellas out for some New York sounding grimey shit like “Waiting For The World To End”.

Rakim never had perfect albums.

Comment by Stieflkater 11.16.09 @

I don’t know, I think you guys are too quick to judge. As they say “do you listen to music or just skim through it” I’m feeling the album, I think it has a really soulful, mature vibe, exactly what I think Rakim should be doing. The beats on “Put It All to Music”, “Working for You” and “Still in Love” are dope. As he says in that last song he’s still in love with hip hop and I think it sounds like it. The flow is as on point as ever. I agree that there’s a little too much non sampled signing for my tastes but besides that I have few complaints. Dre didn’t think his heart wasn’t in it, Ra just wanted to be true to himself and not make songs that went against his character. If you notice there’s hardly a swear word to be heard on the whole album, refreshing to me. One of my favourite albums this year.

Comment by Patrick 11.16.09 @

So this album erases all the other shit he did. Damm you dumb as a fuck. You can never erase what a person did. I guess you words summed up what i thought about you. A dumb fuck
What next bill cosby aint funny no more, so he was not a great comedian. Or hey micheal is the greatest now that he is dead. Stick to listening to music and keeping your opinions to yourself

Comment by Kill Cool J 11.16.09 @

^^^I think this guy missed the point.

Nowhere does the review say this album erases his history. It just says this album in particular is not hardly one of his best moments.

-D!

Comment by DANJ! 11.17.09 @

This lil’ write was silly and disrespectful on a lot of levels…I don’t like the new Ra record either, but woulda been able to put it a lot more tactfully…oh, and calling guys like Nottz, Jake One and Nick Wiz “no names”?? LOL, what’s that all about?

either way at least you was dead on with the critique’s of the LP…shit was def. not what Ra’s core audiences are looking for in an album from him…sadly..I was real disappointed in it too…

Comment by BIG D O 11.17.09 @

@BIG D O: No shots at Nottz and Jake – I said they’re usually reliable. It was the other dudes who are the no-names. No disrespect to Rakim either, I’m just delivering some tough love over here.

Comment by Robbie 11.17.09 @

I CANT FRONT THE ALBUM WAS NOT WHAT I THOUGHT.HOWEVER,RAKIM HAS A COUPLE OF BANGERS ON THE SEVENTH SEAL.STILL IN LOVE,WALK THESE STREETS,YOU AND I,HOW TO MC IS HOT.SHIT I AM GOING TO BUY THE ALBUM ON JUST BECAUSE OF STILL IN LOVE.DAM RAKIM KILLED THAT TRACK.I THINK RAKIM HAD A LOW BUDGET.THIS IS WHY THERE IS NO PREMIER OR PETE ROCK TRACKS.IT WOULD HAVE INTERESTING TO HEAR RAKIM OVER A TIMBERLIN,NEPTUNES,OR EVEN KAYNE WEST.DAM! I STILL THINK THE ALBUM IS FIRE.PEACE TO THE GOD RAKIM!ALWAYS GOT MY SUPPORT.

Comment by IAMHIPHOP 11.17.09 @

..AND HE STILL IN MY TOP 5 EVER TO DO IT…KRSONE IS STILL # 1 TO ME..

Comment by TYBO2020 11.17.09 @

Damn.

Comment by Combat Jack 11.17.09 @

a beat credited to jake one on this album was stolen from an italian producer named bassi maestro.
it is an old italian rap song called “tu non mi rispetti” feat. rido.

compare the 2 tracks:
bassi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niQ0xN8mxs4
rakim
http://www.limelinx.com/files/31c3035604114ffff8ee2dad52361c99

Comment by grizzly 11.17.09 @

Peace

Beats (and singing)…an intended reach for a “commercially” viable product in retail. This would possibly bring residual income from sponsorships, commercial placements, movie soundtracks, ect.

Down to the cover graphic and lyrics…still in connect with his core.

Have yet to see anyone say the actual lyrics were off-point, jus riffs ’bout the music selection and seemingly not having his heart in it.

Could just be that effortless, master-like approach. You do it easy when you know it’s already been certified.

Raekwon’s vocal delivery changed up the same way over the years since the Ist Cuban Links.

Even some of his other projects have been blah…but he reverted to original formula and beats on this last Cuban Links II.

Peace

Comment by Area 514 11.17.09 @

…..overall,
the album (as a whole) is not as strong as one would expect before hearing it.

Comment by Area 514 11.17.09 @

everything new from rakim i must can say: “yes!that’s rakim on a level with PAID IN FULL,FOLLOW THE LEADER,LET THE RHYTHM HIT EM & DON’T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE”

7TH SEAL IT’S NOT!!!

Comment by mario "class of 1988" 11.17.09 @

Should have had Edan produce it. I know that the blacks will be like “brothas ain’t feelin that” but the brothas ain’t really feelin Rakim either. Good A&R could have saved him, or maybe he should have just rapped over Last Poets conga loops…this middle of the road shit is not working. I’m sue that the 45 king isn’t out of his price range either, that would have been nice.

Comment by nino 11.17.09 @

Once again thats why I listen to rock now lol…fuckin sad. that Lil Fame Rakim record is FIRE though!!

Comment by 357 NYC 11.17.09 @

^^^LOL @ “the blacks”

Comment by DANJ! 11.17.09 @

A sad day, yes, but not surprising. R is my favorite to EVER do it, just because he was so far ahead of his time. But shit, even the greatest of all things (ie- Jordan) don’t know when to hang it up. We all can’t go out like Elway, but I wish the R did.

Comment by BIGSPICE 11.18.09 @

I’ve listened to the album a couple times, and i think y’all are being too hard on Ra. If you expect dude to change the game, again, in 20009, you’re way off the mark. This is not 1987 or something. While all of his solo albums have been spotty, he never sold out or dumbed down, and lyrics are always quality.

The 7th Seal ain’t no masterpiece either. Just a decent album from a great classic rapper, who spits real bars and not shaming himself or the genre.

Obviously, i’d be happier if Primo, Pete Rock, Easy Mo Bee or Large Pro stepped in, but their absence doesn’t prevent The 7th Seal from being a good, toughtful, enjoyable piece of Hip Hop. No more, no less.

Comment by Question Marc 11.18.09 @

Have you all listeneed to teh album! Comapred to many this year it fire!!! Some good beats and there is only one GOD, listen to ‘holy are you’ a classic track from an one of teh greatest rappers. He has matured with age and although not on par with classics of teh past. Rakim can still show new MCs how to give real hip-hop to teh listeners!!

Comment by Greysi 11.18.09 @

It hurts my heart, but WTF was Rakim thinking???????? Such mediocre to bullshit production and no memortable Flow at all:..

I have a little tip for the God: Do an album entirely produced by Geoff Barrows from Portishead. Who I would suggest as producer for PE album, too. But Rakim needs dark, complex beats… I mean Follow The leader f.e. is so from outer space, such a hypnotiq rhyme manifesto…. it is unhuman and now this bullshit album? I feel like crying

Comment by Thorsten 11.18.09 @

and in all friendship: all those “it is not 87″ cats. If you put out -like all those Jazz cats or goddamn Ghostface- an album once a year, such a result is tolerable, but I do not know till this day, why obvious geniuses like Nas or Rakim can not be compared to guys like Miles Davis who put out so many classic albums during the 50, 60 and 70 that it was ridicoulous. So I can expect after years and years to receive a monolitjh of an album. It is not that difficult…see OBFCL2

Comment by Thorsten 11.18.09 @

I’m with Nino!!!!!!!!!!! Edan & Rakim nice!!!!!!!

Comment by Absolute Allah 11.18.09 @

THIS ALBUM IS A CLASSIC…. RAKIM IS THE GOAT…. HE DONT TEACH NEGATIVE AWARENESS… U HAVE TO HAVE A OPEN MIND FOR THIS…. THIS AINT N///A AND WHORE MUSIC IF U LOOKING FOR THAT NO SIR NOT HERE… LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE IN THE SONG.. WOMEN SHOULD B PROUD TO HAVE A MAN REP THEM IN THIS LIGHT… THIS IS STRUGGLE MUSIC, NOT ABOUT CAR AND MANSIONS AND FLY BITCHES… LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE IN THE SONG… WHO CANT RELATE TO TRACK 14??? U DONT HAVE A MOTHER OR A WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE THAT MEANS THE WORLD TO U??? U GUY WANT THAT FAST LIFE MUSIC ,THAT PIMPING AINT EASY MUSIC,THAT KILL MY BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER MUSIC,THAT I WISH I HAD A BENZ AND MANSION MUSIC… KEEP ON DREAMING MUSIC, SEND U TO THE PEN MUSIC,THATS THE END OF THAT MUSIC…..KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE GUYS… LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE IN THE SONG….. LIKE SPIKE SAY???? WAKE UP

Comment by GOD 11.18.09 @

THIS IS A CLASSIC. WOW. U GUYS R NOT HIP HOP AT ALL. RAKIM U ARE THE GOD M.CEE NO QUESTION.U GUYS ON THIS BLOG ARE THE RESON THAT HIP HOP IS IN THE STATE ITS IN. TRUE HIP HOP STAND UP!

Comment by THE TRUTH 11.18.09 @

I don’t think we’re expecting too much from Rakim when he releases an album without good music and without the same flow that got him his one-time spot on top. But he can’t even ride a simple beat anymore. That makes for a horrible listening experience. I’m not hating on him, but the album is shitty.

Comment by bc-tw 11.18.09 @

A Allah, he could even rap over Crazytown! (Like Ghostface did over the Delfonics)

Comment by nino 11.18.09 @

This review makes me f-ing sick. One of the greatest, if not the greatest of all-time comes back after TEN years and instead of praising him you wish you wouldn’t make another album??? Have you EVEN listened to the LP? Songs like “How To Emcee” “Put It All To Music” and “Still In Love” are fire and I doubt Premo or Pete Rock coulda did better on the beats. I’m a Huge Premo and PR guy but have you listened to any of their beats lately??? And there is nothing wrong with Ra’s flow or lyricism…is this his best album? No. Is he changing the game? No. But its still one of the best albums of the year and I’m proud to own it. I use to respect this site but now I see that y’all hating is part of the reason hip hop is in shambles nowadays…

Comment by DJ_MARQUEE 11.18.09 @

Not totally sure on the album. First listen I hardly listened. Second listen I fell alseep (honest).

Comment by Soltan 11.18.09 @

Rakim will always be G.O.A.T for me, however this wasnt even a mediocre effort, it was subpar. His voice is still dope and some of the lyrics are okay, nothing close to what he has in him though. Someone said he sounds bored and I agree.

The beats on this is a joke. An unfunny one at that. I feel like “what’s on your mind” is actually dope now. What’s with singing in almost every song?

Bottomline in my opinion is that Rakim tried to please too many camps with this album, probably ending up pleasing none. Kids today cant relate to a 40+ year old rapper. Die hard Rakim fans is gonna be let down, just look at the comments here…

I’m off listening to Know the ledge instead.

Comment by Killamanjared 11.18.09 @

Besides “Holy Are You”, the only track I enjoy is “Working For You”…it’s a shame they didn’t give credit to the right guy for that beat.

As for my expectations, I knew this album wasn’t going be what I wanted way back when the terrible “It’s Nothing” single dropped. Rakim doesn’t seem very interested in making “90′s” sounding music anymore. Neither do most of my other hip hop idols like Nas & Redman. Unfortunately that is what myself and most of my peers seem to want the most.

Comment by crusher 11.19.09 @

man i havent even heard it yet bcuz i was turned off knowing that dj premier wasnt on it!! u guys are talking GREASY about it!! so therefore i kept my $ and spending it on that new O.C. & A.G.!!! but i still pump the classic Ra shit!!! timeless indeed!!! times up Ra!!! OR get dj premier , alchemist ,pete rock, marley marl or some of that d.i.t.c. sound in your life!!! thats worth every penny!!!!

Comment by gabzilla 11.19.09 @

Interesting to note that artistes/bands from other genres (I.e. country, jazz, classical, ect) are, seemingly, not pressured much by formulas outside of what has been ‘proven’ of them in their genres. Their audience are heavy supporters in retail-wise also.

Experimentation and growth is good, but there seems to be a recurring yearning from the (matured and schooled) hip hop community for that “old” musical texture against new lyric. I think OBFCL II did it. Wu-Tang seems to have a tighter grip on the beats, namely in Ghosts’ releases.

Pete Rock got a track with Sheek Louch, where he altered his sound (electro like), but not necc. the style. Supposedly, back in the day Rakim and dem didn’t like that “Paid in full” remix either, but it opened a broader market for them. When the business is brought in it def. impacts beat selection and all. Same was said about Jada’s album.

Cool to see what rawness would surface if they do like someone suggested in releasing a vocals only mix and let the world remix it like the Black album.

Still respect Rakim though.

Comment by Area 514 11.19.09 @

I think this is a good album. I give it 4/5. The beats are soulful and Rakim shows his ability to flow over them. It is a positive album and has the lyrics and feel to match.

Comment by d 11.20.09 @

haven’t listened to it but not surprised about the review. how many late 80ies rappers can make exciting music 20 years later? either they play it too safe or they reach too far. it ain’t easy thoguh. everybody ain’t got that flair. only one who could still make a hit in this decade is probably LL. when the last time g rap really made your head spin? krs is better at lecturing nowadays. slick rick and kane know what time it is that’s why they play it cool. i respect dudes legacy though, because they paved the way for all this shit

Comment by BL 11.20.09 @

Sorry boss you take an L on this one. This album is good man. I think you need to learn how to listen to music instead of listening for a specific sound.
Guess you miss alot of pussy then.

Comment by rambling man 11.21.09 @

The Seventh Seal aint Ra’s best work but I actually dig it. Yes, it may not be up to standard the way “we” meaning the listener expects a Rakim album to sound. However, for us to REALLY expect for even someone of Rakim’s status and skill to continue to top himself/put out albums better than his classics that made him who he is is kinda unrealistic. It kinda like expecting people like Prince who himself is still puttting out albums to continue to exceed all of their earlier classic work. The chances of it happening is slim to none. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t still put out quality album even perhaps with a song or two from the album being a gem. The 7th Seal is a breath of fresh air to me one because its all new material from Ra in such a long time and it’s better than most of the garbage being played on the radio not so much production wise but as far as lyrical content…
As far as producers I don’t think some of you are aware of the fact that it wasn’t because of budget issues. If you check some of his recent interviews Rakim states that he and DJ Premier tried hooking up but conflicts in their schedules didn’t allow it to happen. There were some other producers that he wanted to hook up with but for various reasons it didn’t happen. However, it wasn’t budgent issues. To be honest I would think that with almost a ten year period he would’ve been able to hook up with DJ Premiere & others but it is what it is i guess. Some people say the 7th Seal is a shitty album. I respect anyone’s opinion but I have to totally diagree. The way I’d sum up the abum is that Rakim has the potential to put out a stronger album but it’s still a quality album which is worth listening to and even buying for anyone who considers themselves a TRUE/LOYAL Rakim fan and that loves REAL HIP HOP.

Comment by G 11.21.09 @

I don’t get you guys, seriously. I mean okay, everybody was waiting on that LP and had high hopes for it. How many of you yelled and said “fuck yeah!” when you’ve read that The Seventh Seal is going to drop? Yep. Me too. So.. what did you expected? Ra coming back, hungry as ever with the finest producers nowadays and knocking these Lil’ Waynes up and saving Hip Hop? Damn, I heared so much good new records in this last months and I’m gonna admit: Ra’s isn’t that good as “theirs”, BUT to say that the beats are wack and that he isn’t kicking some knowledge is not true. I see the whole album like this: he ain’t got to prove to NOBODY that he’s just on a whole other level. In fact: i really, really like that he didn’t picked some beats from such geniuses like Premo or Pete. To me it’s fresh. Nothing else to say.

@ Patrick 11.16.09 – you got it!

Comment by 2cent 11.21.09 @

Robbie,
Yo man hold up. Rakim is great stop dissin him.
What rock you live under? David Axelrod and the entire sample of “Holy Are You” costs a few coins rumor has it; Perhaps he could only afford Axelrod
rather than all the “B”oring!samples. Ya ever think
A great endeavor in this stagnant
quagmire of rap these days.
jj

Comment by jessiejames 11.22.09 @

What did you expect? ALL of Rakim’s solo albums have been horrible. And that last Eric B. & Rakim album was pretty weak too.

He still does a *GREAT* live show.

Comment by Finally 11.22.09 @

u guys say u true hip hop heads…. thats why Nas said hip hop is dead… now GOD m.cee comes to save it… RAKIM is the GOAT and the album is alot better then the junk FLEX play on HOT 97 all day….the MAINO and RAKIM song is better then any song on HOT 97 no question

Comment by hotshit 11.23.09 @

Rakim is your favorite Rappers rapper do i need to say more…. the GOat… hottest hip hop album out there…. Hands down

Comment by hardknock 11.23.09 @

the reviewer of these album needs to be fired because he his no knowledge of true hip hop and how a true G spit that shit…. Rakim got that fire dont listen to these fake ass hip hop heads that think drake and weezy the shit… i bet that new Birdman is fire right,,, get the F outta here… u guy killing hip hop

Comment by true story 11.23.09 @

GOTTA put RAKIM with them M.J dudes… MIKE JORDAN,,, MIKE TYSON AND MIKE JACKSON…. RAKIM is a bad BOY…. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF MIKES… KING OF THE MICROPHONE RAKIM

Comment by realtalk 11.23.09 @

sorry stexdo didn’t see what you wrote first

Comment by nile 11.24.09 @

You know, its funny that when we get hip-hop in its purest form we run away from it. The album is thourough. I think very well done, from subject mattter to tempo changes to arrangement. I guess if it aint “fuck yo mamma” “imma kill yo kids” its wack. Listen for the music, not ” a sound”

Comment by REDDOG 11.24.09 @

Word up Patrick!

Comment by drew 11.24.09 @

the LP is dope, you guys are tripping.

Rakim has bars for days

Comment by Coxman 11.24.09 @

Due to the Production he was working with,I don’t think there’s another rapper out their that could have made a better Album that good without any cursing!!! Even the Art Form of the album cover made sense and was Great!

Comment by MJ 11.25.09 @

Besides,the world is cursed! allot of you guys aren’t ready for a real Rakim Album yet. Wait til next year when Jay-z fall from all the shady business dealing.

Comment by MJ 11.25.09 @

RAKIM IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!!!! How many artists first of all can come near any of his first 4 LPs??????Plus I liked the 18th letter lp.
Yeah Rakim’s new material is not so to be classic material but so what!
I thank RAKIM for all he has done in Hip-Hop and The only artist whose actually stayed dope since the 80s is Master Ace.But RAKIM is the greatest mc ever!!!!
AND HIP-HOP Hasn’t been kind in return to Him.
And I don’t get why everyone bashes ERIC B?????
Eric B was not a wack DJ and he was part of 4 lps So classic that nobody has a right to dis him.
I love Rakim and even on his worse rhyme he’s better than Jay Z,2-Pac,Eminem or any of those southern rappers.
SO BIG UP RAKIM!!!!!Trust me you’ll never hear another in your life time!

Comment by DJ DAVITO 11.25.09 @

Look I’ll take this quote from Omn999 to break it down. Older niggas fell off young Niggas are trash. With that statement Rakim NEEDS PRODUCTION BEHIND HIM, NOT RANDOM OR BIG NAME PRODUCERS JUST THROWING TRACKS AT HIM. SIT IN THE STUDIO AND BUILD TRACK AFTER TRACK WITH HIM TOGETHER WITH ONLY 1 OR 2 PRODUCERS WORKING ON THE ALBUM SO IT DOSE’NT SOUND LIKE RANDOM TRACKS WERE THROWN TOGETHER. SOMETHING THAT IS ALL TO COMMON WITH HIPHOP PRODUCTION THESE DAYS. HE NEEDS TO PICK UP THE PACE WITH HIS RHYMES ALSO TO MANY SLOW TRACKS SEEM TO MAKE HIS FLOW GET BORING TO LISTENTO AFTER A WHILE. A GOOD EXAMPLE WOULD BE THE PACE OF HIS 3RD LP LET THE RHYTHEM HIT EM SOME TRACKS WERE FAST OTHERS WERE SLOW. ALSO LET GO OF BEATS THAT WERE MADE FROM KEYBOARDS THAT SHIT IS WACK. HE NEEDS HEAVY LOOPS WITH HARD DRUMS TO BACK HIS LYRICAL ABLITY. SAMPLE BASED PRODUCTION ONLY BY EQUIPMENT THAT HAS A SAMPLE BIT RATE OF ONLY 12. AND A GOOD DJ TO BACK HIM UP NOT ONLY ON STAGE,BUT WITH HYPE CUTS ON HIS TRACKS AS WELL ONLY THEN WILL HE RETURN TO HI ONCE GREATNESS.

Comment by derrick 11.27.09 @

The album is CRACK, I don’t know what y’all listening to. The GOD did him and it works.

Comment by STONEY XL 11.28.09 @

I don’t understand the negativity, in 2009 how could any listener expect what occured in “86? I enjoyed this album, cause it relates to now! Imagine if Rah really came out talking some battle rap shit, then headz would have been like “pops pleezzz”! Rah has moved his game from the Hard Courts to the Golf Course! Come on kidz “pull yuh pants up”, we’re headin uptown now. Peace.

Comment by Skullman 11.30.09 @

Although not a masterpiece, I enjoyed this album. I think that Rakim hasn’t lost his form, style or delivery. I think that time has lost him. He’s trying too hard to sound relevant. I didn’t like the singing on damn near every track. But for what its worth, he did his thing…..and that’s all we could ever ask. Still lovin’ the R…..

Comment by Rachelle 'ChelliDynamite' Gaines 12.03.09 @

This album is garbage, yes, but you all ride Premier’s dick too hard. Dude has sounded repetitive as hell for the better part of this decade, get over it…

Comment by your boy murks 12.05.09 @

wow i respect evryone’s opinion on any subject but i can disagree. first Rakim has always been ahead of his time or ours, this album is a breath of fresh air. the iran-contra of rap is over for the people who want his old style buy the albums and listen or dig them up. Nas was correct hip-hop is dead & Ra new album is hopefully the blueprint for everyone. all i ask is listen his delivery,flow,& experience was on full display. on the beats i think he also shows his greatness mostly every track he ryhmes on not 2 many other emcees could ever touch. Even Jay mentions Rakim as the GOD listen to the song wit J Riahana, & Kayne. He is the greatest EVER TO BLESS THE MIC all Rappers notice that if he not NO# 1 he’s in the top 3 wow

Comment by blue 12.07.09 @

LONG LIVE THE GOD MC…DEATH TO THE HATERS

Comment by CRAZYHORSE5150 12.10.09 @

I liked the album…so in comparison to today’s GARBAGE on the airwaves…it was absolutely REFRESHING, so if you want to my advice would be to go back and start from his beginning albums and work your way through to The Seventh Seal. You will be thankful the Beast of the Microphone has RETURNED…I’m glad he left Dre not to say it would have been amazing to hear what they could have done together but like Ra said HE HAD TO DO HIM . REMEMBER THE DAYZ OF RAPCITY WHEN ILL MC’S WERE RESPECTED…KNUCKLEHEADS TODAY THINK LIL WAYNE is worth the airplay he receives….PEACE LONG LIVE THE GOD MC

Comment by CRAZYHORSE5150 12.10.09 @

I’ve seen people refer to the 7th seal as “trash”, to me that’s disgraceful..This body of work is far better than 98% of what NY radio plays..Being a lyricist myself & a fan of his ingenius wordplay, I do believe he slacked a bit with regard to the lyricism..and sonically it isn’t consistent from begining to end..I also think Maino’s appearance was very “average” at best, I’m surprised Rakim was satisfied with his cameo. Overall, this project is reasonable, but most of us have heard such an abundance of trash, that we’ve become extremely critical of legends like Rakim, who return with a contribution.. I bought a copy on wax, the brotha’s gotta eat like the rest of us.

Comment by Misseda Flow 12.11.09 @

Yall are tough, too tough. This man is 41 years old and he put it down. No, it’s not what I wanted from Ra. I wanted a 10 but I got a 7. However Hip Hop needed from Ra. If Hip Hop was full of Mcs who actually were trying to give give us music we could play beyoond three months, I would say patience to the borderline disrespectful things being said. But it’s not and this man gave us something that we actually have to listen to a few times to understand. When is the last time that happened? That in and of itself is a breath of fresh air. Am I disappointed yeah. I’m disappointed that the best MC didn’t get a chance to really shine in his career and his second real opportunity came when he should really be living off his past work. However, I like this album. I like to hear rappin about rappin and lyrical dexterity and love of the music and love of a good female. Who talks about a good female these days? Truth is, most of us have been listening to crap so long it’s hard to appreciate something good cause we’re brain washed. I didn’t realize how brain washed I was until I bought Wu-Tang Chamber Music and this. The beats, yeah I would enjoy some primo and pete. Truth is, if they gave a damn and saw the importance of this album they would have given him the beats and got paid later. To me, that’s how you treat someone of Ra’s status. There is some truth in some of the cons stated but damn, can you critique the man with a little more constructive criticism and less flat out disrespect. Someone said they never want to hear from him again. If G. Rap, Kane or KRS dropped another one, I’m there. You know why? Because their worst effort is going to have more creativity than the most celebrated Mc of this time. That’s me. I’m old school and really don’t mind sounding like it. But what I bought yesterday was a good comeback attempt from a man who has traveled an uphill road and has never reaped the monetary reward for something he does so well. My only advice is if you want the boom bap go all in, get people who will get creative with it. Don’t skirt the issue. A lot of us still appreciate that old boom bap. However, your crew is keepin me noddin. I’m on my fifth listen and its getting better.
Ra. Thanks for giving me Hip Hop music. (Exhale)

Comment by Lyric 12.14.09 @

Yo I have every album from Eric B & Rakim, including The 18th Letter and the Master. I’m a Huge Rakim Fan! I was so Stoked when I heard the 7th Seal Dropped, especially after “Oh My God” was scrapped. I copped this joint blindly. I bumped this front to back and listened very hard. I can’t lie. I was very disapointed in this project. A few Joints, How to Emcee, Still in Love and Eupohoria was dope. But all them joints with the singing on it had me shaking my head. It is very apparent that this is his weakest project to date. But before yall get pissed at me just hear me out…..

Rakim’s Worst album is STILL better than most of these “Rappers” best efforts. I would bump the snot out of this album before I bump Gay ass Drake or lil Wayne. Even Em’s new album Sucks ass compared to the Seventh Seal. Rakim Allah STILL the G.O.A.T.

Comment by Soul the Interrogator 09.09.10 @

It was the summer of 1986 when I FIRST heard the emcee that would change the way I viewed emceeing & ACTUALLY make me pick up a pen & pad & start rhyming. I was 16 at the time & my favorite emcee back then was between Kool Mo Dee & MC Shan. Then this “guy” with a name representing a culture that I would come to embrace myself (5% NOI), changed my life forever.

I had to paint that mini background to let you know how DEEP of a fan I am (STILL), & how it PAINS me that this sub-par effort is like a knife in my stomach. Two songs…JUST TWO gave me “that old feeling” from 1986: “Holy Are You” & “I’m Back”. As for the rest of the album, I’m not even gonna make any excuse for it, its just garbage. I read above somebody said “well he’s 41…” Bull$hit! KRS-One is about the same age and is BETTER than he was back in the days!!! Listen to “Run It” on EPMD’s most recent album or “5%” by him & DJ Premiere. BANGERS!!! Rakim gives glimpses of his old self in those 2 songs, but for the rest of the album, it ain’t there. He shined on “Better than I Ever Been” & “Subway Surfin” by Talib Kweli so I thought maybe he’ll bring it this time. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Ra still has skills (he wouldn’t have shined with Talib or the “Better than…” joint), but he needs someone to SERIOUSLY sit with him & be honest when listening to his music. He’s an icon, but even icons stumble. A true fan NEVER looses hope in his hero, but a true fan will tell you what you NEED to hear & not what you WANT to hear. And I am STILL & FOREVER a fan!!! Peace to the God, Rakim Allah!!

I know I’m late to this party (reviewing this album), but I just discovered this site TODAY! LOL

Comment by B-Magnetic Allah 01.24.11 @

[...] “To be honest, he sounds pretty bored for the majority of the record, as he compares pushing his music to slinging dope, dedicates several songs to the special lady in his life, constantly reminds us of his legendary status and how much he loves hip-hop and tries to sound current by making a song with Maino. Not exactly ‘Follow The Leader’, is it?” – Unkut.com [...]

Pingback by Reviews of Rakim's Seventh Seal | TheUrbanDaily 04.19.12 @



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