Rakim, considered by many to be hip hop’s greatest MC, came home to his native New York earlier this week, to headline a Legends of Hip Hop concert at a Farmingdale nightclub, just minutes away from Wyandanch, the Long Island town where he grew up.
It was a homecoming feeling as Rakim took time during his show to point to and acknowledge individuals in the crowd that he knew personally, some from school, some from a kid’s football league, some from “the block”. Rakim even flustered event security by leaping down from the stage to take a few pictures with members of the audience, mid-show.
The event wasn’t all a lovefest however, as a scuffle broke out on stage, among photographers jockeying for position. In a move that exemplified Rakim’s approachable nature, he immediately stopped performing and dove right into the melee, and while security handled the offending photogs, Ra emerged from the group mockingly dusting off his shoulders and fixing his lapel. Though he exudes an aura of ghetto living, his charm and charisma born from two decades of performing was often present throughout the night.
Once the show was over, the God MC sat toward the front right corner of the stage, and received fans and friends, signing autographs, chopping it up with acquaintances and laughing with family members. There he sat, hennesey straight in one hand, sharpie marker in the other, reveling in the hometown love. A man responsible for evolving hip hop into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today, seemed proud and humble to be back where it all began for him, the invincible, microphone fiend Rakim. Spread the word. He is still in E-F-F-E-C-T.