Album Review: Rakim’s “The Seventh Seal”

25 Nov

Better late than never is the vibe that Rakim is putting off with his third studio album, The Seventh Seal. This album has gone through many name changes and many release dates. Ten years since his last solo effort, Rakim is here. It has been a while, but Rakim wants to prove that he has still got it.

Throughout fourteen tracks, Rakim is trying to rid himself of the old and welcome in the new. Initially, he was signed to Aftermath Entertainment. He was signed to Aftermath when he first began working on the album. A lot of the early tracks featured work from Dr. Dre. After his album went unreleased on the label, he parted ways with Dre. He has since worked with Maino.

The rapper described exactly what he wanted to do with this album. He said that he wanted to attract the new generation of hip hop fans. Rakim said that they are just like any other hip hop fans, they want to rock their heads and they want songs where they can sit back and chill. Despite the title, the album’s focus is not the apocalypse.

Track listing:

  1. “How to Emcee”
  2. “Walk These Streets” featuring Maino
  3. “Documentary of a Gangsta” featuring IQ
  4. “Man Above” featuring Tracey Horton
  5. “You and I” featuring Samuel Christian
  6. “Won’t Be Long” featuring Tracey Horton
  7. “Holy Are U”
  8. “Satisfaction Guaranteed”
  9. “Working for You”
  10. “Message in the Song” featuring Destiny Griffin
  11. “Put it all to Music”
  12. “Psychic Love”
  13. “Still in Love”
  14. “Dedicated”

With The Seventh Seal, Rakim is able to capture the old school feel of his music with this new school vibe. There have been plenty of old school artists that come back with albums that are either too old school-oriented, or they come back with albums that are too new school and out of their element. Rakim is successfully able to tread that middle ground with this album.

This album has a great placement of guests, as Maino comes in right on time for “Walk These Streets.” Also recruited for the album are Rakim’s own daughter, Destiny Griffin, Tracey Horton, Samuel Christian, and IQ. With this album, he did a great job at recruiting new and underground acts.

The overall sound of The Seventh Seal makes it a great album. There is not any subject that goes untouched. In a hardcore rap album, he is able to talk about the quality of hip hop music, the themes of hip hop and love. He does all of this without going over the top as other, less talented storytellers may do. From start to finish, this is a great album.

Throughout this entire album, one would be hard-pressed to find a spot where Rakim slips up. A lot of people are going to try and credit releases from 50 Cent or Lil Wayne as the best releases of 2009, but Before I Self Destruct does not touch this and Lil Wayne is going to dig very deep to even come close to this album.

Rakim’s The Seventh Seal may not sell many copies, but it is probably one of the best rap albums to be released in 2009. From Hip Hop Vibe, it receives (9/10).

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