No Where To Go For Rick Ross The Rapper

Photos of Rick Ross, I Am Still Music Tour 2011


This is what happens when you get in the game by lying. I talked to the Real Freeway Ricky Ross right after he got out of the federal pen and before he entered the halfway house on May 4, 2009 and real words were exchanged. It’s crazy to see things escalating to this. First it was about stealing the identity of one of America’s notorious kingpens “Freeway Rick”, then it went on to mocking Larry Hover & the Gangsta Disciples with the song “BMF”. After that it got more serious “MONEY”. Now, it’s all about paying dues. All through the media, you are gonna hear about what happened or what’s happening but most media outlets are gonna add false information and/or take out important information. This is deeper than rap music, all bosses connect while the fake desolve… If you haven’t heard by now, check out this video:

Now you know how’s it’s going down, Salute!



The Revolution of Liberty

New Issue Updates

As we put together everything, know that we are doing this for you “The World” and we really appreciate all of the support you been giving us from Day 1. We will be dropping the pre-issue before Issue #1. In meantime, you can listen to the music and submit your “Feature Response” HERE!

Be on the look out for the mixtape that will be included with the mag. If you need more information on Hip Hop Empire Magazine, then contact our Editorial Manager, Charlei J. Roze at:

The debut issue will be showing the world, what more to expect from our piece of History in a interactive literature form.

Again I can’t stress enough, thank you the support.Bless One….

Free Max B!!!

Its unfortunate that some of the hottest emcees are either locked up, dead, on drugs or in jail. It seems that all of the above are synonymous with hip hop culture as a whole.  Charles Wingate (born May 21, 1978), better known as Max B, is an American rapper from Harlem, New York City, New York. In 2009, Max B began serving a 75-year prison sentence for charges of conspiracy to armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and murder.

Max B was incarcerated on robbery charges from 1997 to 2005, He had come up with a second alias Biggaveli denoting his belief that he is a combination of rappers: The Notorious B.I.G. (“Biggie Smalls”), Jay-Z (“Jigga”) and Tupac Shakur (“Makaveli”).

Max B came to prominence through his affiliation with the Harlem collective The Diplomats, and with rappers Jim Jones and Cam’ron in particular. In 2006 Jones formed the collective ByrdGang with Max B as a starring member. Fellow ByrdGang member Stack Bundles was killed in 2007. Max B expressed the loss: “That was fucked up because the nigga Stacks was close to me, I ain’t even gonna front. I was in jail at the time, so a nigga was sitting. A nigga learned to cope with that thing pretty well though, R.I.P. to Stacks. Shout out to my nigga, he played me all the joints he had. Man, that was my nigga.”

Max B signed a 360 deal with Boston based label Amalgam Digital in 2008 and is still currently signed with the label. His debut album is entitled Vigilante Season.

He collaborated with Isaiah Toothtaker on Toothy Wavy in 2012. It was entirely produced by The Hood Internet.

Murder charges

According to authorities, Max sent his ex-girlfriend, Gina Conway, and his stepbrother Kelvin Leerdam, in 2006 to rob two men in a Holiday Inn, in Fort Lee, Northern New Jersey. On September 22, 2006, Conway and Leerdam ambushed Allan “Jay” Plowden in room 408 and restrained him with duct tape, while awaiting Plowden’s partner, David Taylor. Also in the room was Gissele Nieven. When Taylor arrived, he was immediately shot, point-blank, execution-style, in the head. He did not have any money on him.

The crew fled the scene, Plowden then alerted the hotel front desk of the murder. As police entered the room, Plowden was caught moving $30,000 out of the room. Plowden was later charged with money laundering and identity theft. One week later Conway, Leerdam and coordinator Max B were apprehended and charged.

On January 9, 2007 Max B was remanded to Bergen County Jail in New Jersey on a $2 million bail. Conway testified against Max B and Leerdam, in exchange for a 18 years sentence on armed robbery and manslaughter. Leerdam received a life term plus 35 years.

Conviction and appeal

Charles Wingate
Born Harlem, New York, United States
Penalty 8 years in prison (1997–2005)
Conviction status Incarcerated at New Jersey State Prison
By June 6, 2009, he had been found guilty on 9 of 11 counts in the ongoing trial.[14] On June 9, he was found guilty of murder conspiracy and robbery charges and faced up to 75 years. He was to be sentenced in Bergen County on July 30.
In a statement, Gerald Saluti said:

Max B would like to first thank all his family, friends and fans that have supported him throughout this trial. Please don’t give up on him at this point. Although the jury has spoken and Max has been convicted of felony murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy a swift and successful appeal shall follow. […] It is inconceivable that a jury could convict Max under the facts presented by the State. Even Gina Conway the State’s own witness testified that Max knew nothing of a robbery. […] Ms. Conway, a jilted lover and proven liar, said so at the trial itself. Max said after the verdict was read that he is confident that justice will eventually be served and he will be free. […] Max intends to continue putting out music for his fans while the appeal process grinds along. Although shocked by the verdict, Max remained grateful.

Max B was later sentenced to 75 years in prison on September 4, 2009.[15] His mother, Sharon Wingate, and fellow rap artist said he plans to appeal his conviction. On March 19, 2010, Max B was granted an appeal with a new trial and lawyer.

In February 2012, rumors spread that Max’s request for an appeal had been denied, but it since has been cleared up as an internet/blog/twitter rumor.

On August 30, 2012, Max’s appeal was denied and he is set to remain in prison to finish his 75 year incarceration. Max continues to seek a higher appeal, and has begun the Pardon The Wave movement to garner support for a pardon from either the NJ governor or President Barack Obama through an online petition. Rapper Jay-Z recently shouted out Max B in support in his Rick Ross and Dr. Dre collaboration “3 Kings.”

Kendrick Da Black Hippy

     I can’t help it people, it’s been a minute since we heard anything besides the norm in hip hop music. I must admit this dude got some serious skills when it comes to his craft.

     Kendrick Lamar, member of Black Hippy with West Coast rappers and label mates Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, first gained major attention after the release of his fourth mixtape, Overly Dedicated in 2010. The same year, he went on tour with Tech N9ne and Jay Rock on The Independent Grind tour. The year after, he released his first independent album, Section.80, through iTunes and instantly ranked as one of the top digital hip hop releases of 2011. “Ignorance Is Bliss” led him to working with Dre and Snoop Dogg on Dre’s Detox album and began his major career signed to Dre’s label Aftermath Entertainment.

Early in his career, before releasing good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar gained a large internet following, and had already worked along side today’s top artists. His major label debut studio album was released October 22, 2012 to universal acclaim, going gold in the billboard charts.  He has appeared on Game’s The R.E.D. Album, Tech N9ne’s All 6’s and 7’s, 9th Wonder’s The Wonder Years and Drake’s Take Care.

Born in Compton, California, to parents from the Chi.  At the age of 8, Kendrick witnessed his idols, Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre film the music video for “California Love”. At the age of 16, Lamar released his first mixtape entitled Youngest Head Nigga In Charge, which got him a record deal with Los Angeles-based independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment, under the alias K-Dot. He got more recognition after a video of a Charles Hamilton show surfaced, where Hamilton went in the crowd to battle rappers in attendance, which Kendrick didn’t hesitate to rap a verse over Miilkbone’s “Keep It Real” instrumental. After that, he featured on “West Coast Wu-Tang”.  Now it’s time to press the fast foward button to his current hit off that good kid, m.A.A.d city album flooding the airwaves worldwide….

Make sure y’all stay tuned in for upcoming reviews on the hottest emcees in the game right now!!!

Boxing With The Carters: Jay-Z vs Lil Wayne

     Str8 outta Marcy Projects with almost over 2 decades of platinum records after platinum records in the Black corner is the H to the Izzo, JAY-Z. In the red corner, weighing in with a little over a decade of Hollygrove anthems also hitting the Billboards with hit after hit is the ONE, the ONLY…. LIL’ WAYNE. This is a clean fight, no hitting below the belt. GENTLEMEN: POUND MICS…

Jay-Z aka Jigga aka HOV

     Shawn Corey Carter aka Jay-Z was abandoned by his father and raised by a single mother. He experienced the tough life on the streets of Marcy Project (located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn) in New York but that type of lifestyle was not the only thing on his mind as he briefly attended high school along with AZ until it was closed down, where he explored his rap skills. In 1982, Jay shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.  After that, he attended a career and technical education high school in Downtown Brooklyn with The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and his 3rd high school in Trenton, New Jersey but did not graduate.  In his music, he refers to selling illegal substances during the crack epidemic era.


    According to his momma dukes, he used to bang out drum patterns on the kitchen table waking up his siblings at night. Eventually, she bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music through freestyling, writing lyrics, and following the music of many popular artists at that time. In his neighborhood, Carter was known as “Jazzy”, a nickname that eventually developed into his showbiz/stage name, “Jay-Z”. This moniker is also an homage to his musical mentor, Jaz-O, as well as to the J/Z subway lines that stops at Marcy Avenue.

     Jay-Z partnered up with Jaz-O during the late 1980s and early 1990s on collabos like “The Originators” and “Hawaiian Sophie”. He was also involved in and won several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 90s as part of a plan to get a career-breaking record deal. He first became known to a wide audience by being featured on Big Daddy Kane’s posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 album Daddy’s Home. Jay has been referred to as Big Daddy Kane’s hype man during this period, though Kane explains that he didn’t fill the traditional hype man role, instead Jay-Z made cameo appearances on stage.

     Big Daddy Kane stated “When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage”. He also made an appearance on Big L’s classic “Da Graveyard”, and on Mic Geronimo’s “Time to Build”, which featured appearances by DMX, and Ja Rule in 1995. Jay-Z’s first official rap single was called “In My Lifetime”. Around the same time he released his debut album Reasonable Doubt, he showed the world what he been through in the movie “The Streets Are Watching”, which was his first appearance on the big screen. Since ’97, Jigga has released over 13 studio albums and over hundreds of features. Hov is considered as one of the last of Vietnam War’s Baby Booming artists that has survived decades of dropping countless hits consistently to this date. Even though Jay-Z already created something bigger than a team known as the “Dynasty”, which was stated on his 5th solo album, he has developed/ governed multiple headlining acts over the years: Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Amil, “Philly” Freeway, Rihanna, Kanye West and many more… along with a whole record label (Def Jam) to remain holding the same position to the late legendary singer, Elvis Presley, having 10 of his albums opened at the top position.


Lil Wayne aka Weezy aka Tunechi

     Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. aka Lil Wayne was raised in the infamous New Orleans neighborhood of Hollygrove In school, he was a straight-A student but never felt his true intelligence was expressed through report cards. He found music was the best way to express himself, at this time he went by the name of Gangsta D writing rhymes. Combining a strong work ethic with aggressive self-promotion, the 11-year-old convinced the Cash Money label to take him on, even if it was just of odd jobs around the office. A year later, in-house producer Mannie Fresh partnered him with the 14-year-old B.G. and dubbed the duo the B.G.’z. Although only B.G.’s name appeared on the cover, the 1995 album True Story has since been accepted as the B.G.’z debut album both by fans and the Cash Money label. The 1997 album Chopper City was supposed to be the follow-up, but when Wayne accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .44, it became a solo B.G. release.  The media release consider Young Carter as a “Child Performer” in regards to the age that he started wrecking the microphone.

     That same year, he officially took on the alias of Lil Wayne, dropping the “D” from his first name in order to separate himself from his absent father. He joined B.G., Juvenile, and Young Turk for another Fresh project, the teen hardcore rap group the Hot Boy$, who released their debut album, Get It How U Live!, in 1997. Two years later, Cash Money signed a distribution deal with the major-label Universal. Mainstream distribution helped the Hot Boy$ album Guerrilla Warfare to reach the number one spot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart that year.

     In 1998, Lil Wayne appeared on Juvenile’s hit single “Back That Thing Up” or “Back That Azz Up” as it appeared on Juvie’s album 400 Degreez. Afterwards Wayne launch his solo career a year later with the album Tha Block Is Hot, featuring the hit single title track. It went double platinum but his artistry was still unknown to Middle America, since his hardcore rhymes and the rough Cash Money sound had not yet crossed over. Thirteen years into Wayne’s career, we have heard countless hits along with 9 studio albums, multiple compilations, over hundreds of mixtapes and features.  Wayne holds the title as the “King of Mixtapes”. As you may know, Lil Wayne has put on a whole team (Young Money aka YMCMB) of various talents such as: Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Lil Twist and many more…

The Battle Between 2 Empires
     Now lets put both empires (Roc Nation, formerly known as Roc-A-Fella and Young Money, son label to Cash Money) head up against each other in the forever ending bout, you will see that each ruler has extraordinary strengths and power in today’s Hip Hop culture/ music. Jay-Z holds the throne of New Age Hip Hop in the East Coast, while Lil Wayne holds the throne in the South.  After Wayne called Jigga on the phone stating “I’m coming for you”, this battle between thrones became more visible to the world. Unlike other rap battles, this one particularly is not violence driven instead it is to prove who will be the last King standing in the Hip Hop industry. Here is where these two musical genuses seperates at: Jay-Z is a master-lyricist but Lil Wayne is a stylistic-metaphor rapper. In certain songs, you will hear them throw shots at one another in this radiovized duo to the def jams. Even though both are highly competitive against each other, there’s really is no parallel with these two Greats. Let’s see as the match up start unraveling:


New Articles

Listen up Fam we about to raise the bar a couple notches!! Me and Vietnam would like to thank all of u visitors for showing live and coming through and showing love.. We are working hard and diligent towards improving and innovating in what we do on here so get ready cuz it’s about to blow ya Mindz next article is a game changer so keep ya eyes open and ya ears to the ground!! Peace love and respect!!

15 Years After Biggie’s Autopsy

     It’s crazy how it took 15 years to find out what really happened to cause The King of New York‘s demise. The autopsy report was released by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office on Friday, December 4th.  Fresh details about his death contained 23-pages. This tragic event is one of the city’s best-known unsolved homicides in Hip Hop history.
     Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls was only 24 years old when he was shot and killed early on March 9, 1997 as he was leaving a music industry party.  Biggie was riding in the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Suburban when another vehicle pulled up beside the vehicle fatally hitting him four times in his right hip ripping through several organs including his liver, heart and lung.  The other three (3) struck Wallace in his left forearm, back and left thigh.

     Biggie was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he arrived in full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly after 1am.  At the time of his death, drugs or alcohol were not found in his system. Wallace stood at 6′ 2″weighing at 395 pounds. On his right arm was a tattoo that read: “The Lord is My Light and my Salvation …”. The Los Angeles police and the FBI both looked into the case.   No arrests were made but they believe that it had to do with the most notorious rap war between East Coast and West Coast and their record companies (Death Row Records & Bad Boy Entertainment).
     As you already know 2Pac was gunned down in Las Vegas six months before Biggie was killed.  In all naturality, Pac and Big were not rivals instead they were homeboys that turned against each other because of the media and certain label executives.  It’s a shame that these two (2) talented black men had to depart away from us at a young age but they will always be in our memories.  All condolences goes out to the their mothers, Mrs. Shakur & Mrs. Wallace. We thank you for blessing us with both of your sons’ legacy and we shall always keep it living forever…. 
Here is the media coverage regarding to the aftermath of 
one of Hip Hop’s most greatest realyricists:

Therefore, Believe half of what you hear and none of what you see. The best way to put this statement in Hip Hop terms “DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!” – Public Enemy

Underground King

In the hallways of Port Arthur High School (TX), Pimp C started his first rap duo called Mission Impossible. Unlike a lot of high school rap acts, Pimp was the type of dude that was serious about his music, macking and money. Meanwhile, Bun B and his partner started a group called Black Ministers. In 1987, Pimp & Bun combined both of them together forming who we know as Underground Kingz (UGK). At this time, they saw how Scarface and the Geto Boys were doing it for the Lone Star State but they didn’t just want to rap.  Instead, they introduce the world to “Country Rap Tunes”. Pimp C first released a demo tape titled “Underground King” which didn’t feature Bun B on the track. Instead, it featured Pimp C’s friend Mitchell Queen. Bun B and friend Jalon Jackson had their own group called P.A. Militia. Both groups joined forces and formed group 4 Black Ministers. Queen and Jackson later left the group leaving Pimp C and Bun B so they decided to revert back to UGK. The demo Pimp C recorded with Mitchell Queen, Underground King, caught the attention of an independent label in Houston called Bigtyme Records. They then released an extended play titled The Southern Way. The release of this record caught the attention of Jive Records.

While recording their debut album, Too Hard to Swallow, many of the songs had content too explicit for the album.  Bigtyme Records released an EP titled Banned before the album was released, including all the songs that were too explicit for Too Hard to Swallow. While it featured several new recordings, it also featured several songs that had been culled from The Southern Way. A popular song from the album “Pocket Full of Stones” was also included on the Menace II Society soundtrack in 1993.

Their sophomore album, Super Tight, was released two years later, on August 30. Unlike their previous album, Super Tight managed to break into the Billboard Hot 200 and ultimately peaked at #95.  Ridin’ Dirty, their third album, reached the R&B Charts in 1996 peaking at #2 and the Billboard 200 chart peaking at #15. After releasing their fourth studio album, Dirty Money, Pimp C got sentenced to jail.  

Year 2000 became a breakthrough year for UGK, while making high-profile guest appearances on Jay-Z’s smash hit “Big Pimpin'” and Three 6 Mafia’s classic “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”. Both of these collabs greatly increased their reputation as well as fanbase, and helped fuel anticipation for their next projects.
In 2002, Pimp C was incarcerated for an aggravated gun assault charge. Throughout the time of his incarceration, Bun B carried on the UGK name by making numerous guest appearances on songs by other artists, with every appearance either mentioning Pimp C or featuring a “Free Pimp C!” or “Free the Pimp” chant.

Many of the followers of UGK’s did the same, mentioning Pimp C in their own songs with or without Bun B. During this period, Jive Records released a Best of UGK album, as well as a Chopped & Screwed remix album. As a result of Pimp C’s incarceration, both members of UGK began solo careers out of necessity.

Rap-A-Lot Records released Pimp C’s solo debut, Sweet James Jones Stories, on March 1, 2005. Bun B later released his own solo foray, Trill, on October 18, 2005. It opened at #6 on the Billboard Hot 200, and also peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart. On December 30, 2005, Pimp C got out of jail and was on parole for 4 years. After the imprisonment, he released his first post-incarceration album titled Pimpalation on July 25, 2006.

On August 7, 2007 the group released their fifth studio album, the self-titled Underground Kingz. This album was a double disc containing 26 tracks featuring guests included Talib Kweli, Too Short, Rick Ross, Z-RO, Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug, OutKast, as well as hip-hop legends Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane. This album also featured British rapper Dizzee Rascal on the track “Two Types of Bitches”, following a guest appearance on Rascal’s album Maths + English. This album featured productions by DJ Paul & Juicy J, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, The Runners, Lil’ Jon, fellow Texas legend Scarface, and Pimp C. DJ Paul and Juicy J produced the second single from Underground Kingz, “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)” which featured Hip-Hop super rap duo, Outkast becaming the group’s only single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts, where it peaked at #70.

Last but not least, this current classic album received a 4-star rating from Allmusic, and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts.  On December 4, 2007, Pimp C was found dead at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California, after Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call. They arrived to his sixth-floor hotel room to find him dead in bed three days after he performed with Too Short at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.  RIP 2 THE PIMP, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US IN SPIRIT!

Paid In Full: The Real Story

Thinkin’ of a master plan….. Many rappers developed their technique through improvisation, Rakim is/was one of the first to demonstrate a writerly style, along with pioneering the use of internal rhyme. Rakim aka William Michael Griffin Jr aka 1/2 of Hip Hop’s most influential duo, Eric B. & Rakim, was born in Wyandanch, New York on January 28, 1968. With a musically inclined background, his aunt was Ruth Brown, an American R&B singer and actress.

Rakim became involved in the Hip Hop scene when he was fresh out of high school. Right after he responded to Eric B.’s search for “New York’s Top MC”, his friend and roommate, Marley Marl, allowed him to use his home studio.

The first track they recorded Eric B. Is President, which was released as a single on the independent Zakia Records in 1986. At the time Rakim was  on his way to college, but he decided to bypass institutional teachings to pursue his career with his partner in crime, Eric B.  Here is one ironic fact, Rakim wasn’t even the name he started out with. In fact, he was called Kid Wizard before he was introduced to the Nation of Islam in 1986 and joined The Nation of Gods and Earths (also known as the 5 Percent Nation). As Rakim gained supreme knowledge and wisdom, he took on the name Rakim Allah.

After Rush Management/ Def Jam Recordings’ CEO, Russell Simmons heard the cut, the duo were signed and began recording Paid In Full in Manhattan’s Power Play Studios in early 1987.  A couple months afterwards, the duo released their debut album on the Island-subsidiary label 4th & B’way Records.  The album peaked at #58 on the Billboard 200 Chart and produced five singles: Eric B. Is President, I Ain’t No JokeI Know You Got SoulMove the Crowd, and the cover song Paid in Full.

Following Up Paid In FullFollow the Leader was the duo’s second studio album released July 25, 1988 on MCA-subsidiary label Uni Records. The album was produced, arranged, and composed by the duo, with additional contributions from Rakim’s brother Stevie Blass Griffin.  This album performed better on music charts than Eric B. & Rakim’s debut album and reached #22 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums Chart. It made certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments in excess of 500,000 copies in the United States was well received by critics and has since been recognized by music writers as one of the most groundbreaking and influential hip hop albums of all time. This masterpiece saw Rakim at his most lyrically fierce, issuing deft and def threats on such tracks as Microphone Fiend, Lyrics of Fury, and the nearly felonious No Competition. The release marked the high point in the collaboration between the two and prefaced the long slide they experienced in the 90s.

Eric B & Rakim’s third album, Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em released in 1990 demonstrated how the group’s sound develops further, with Rakim adopting a deeper, more aggressive tone of voice, and more mature and serious subject matters. The production work on this classic ranged from smoother soulful tracks such as In the Ghetto to the hard-edge assault of the title track Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em.  The album is one of a few that have received a “five-mic” rating when it was reviewed in The Source during this timeframe. In 1998, this album was selected as one of the 100th Best Rap Albums in The Source Magazine. The back cover features a dedication to the memories of Rakim’s father William and producer Paul C., who had worked on many of the album’s tracks before his murder in July 1989. Due to this tragedy, his protégé Large Professor chose to finish and complete the project.

The fourth album from Eric B. & Rakim, Don’t Sweat the Technique was released in 1992 which would be their last album together.  Singles such as Casualties of War contains some of Rakim’s most political lyrics.

Know the Ledge first appeared in the film Juice under the title “Juice (Know the Ledge)“. Shortly after this matter, Eric B. refused to sign the label’s release contract, for he knew that Rakim would dropped from the duo. This traumatic event in Hip Hop led to a long and messy court battle involving the two musicians and their former label MCA Records which led to the duo splitting apart completely.

From 1995 through 1996, Rakim ventured off solo and recorded several demos/songs by himself, then he eventually returned to recording The 18th Letter in 1997, which included collabs with DJ Premier and Pete Rock. This release was split into two versions: The first disc included an Eric B. & Rakim Greatest Hits Disc titled The Book of Life. This album was certified gold.

In 1999, Rakim released The Master, which received very good reviews but not like when the duo were in their prime. In 2000, Rakim signed to Aftermath Entertainment and started working on an album tentatively titled Oh, My God. The album underwent numerous changes in artistic direction and personnel and was delayed several times. While working on the album, Rakim made guest appearances on numerous Aftermath projects with Truth Hurts, Jay-Z, and Eminem.

After Rakim left Aftermath Entertainment in 2003, he stated that the reason he departed the label was because of creative differences with Dr. Dre. Rakim metaphorical emphasized how Dr. Dre wanted him to write about killing someone, while Rakim wanted to write about the resurrection of someone. Shortly Afterwards, Rakim signed with DreamWorks Records but the label closed its doors shortly after that which caused him to retreat to his Connecticut estate to work leisurely on music. By not releasing an album since ’99, he decided to go on tour in favor of infrequent gigs. Rakim was able to retain the tracks he had made with Dr. Dre, so he announced that he would drop a new studio album, The Seventh Seal in 2006. That album was delayed into 2009 and instead, he followed up with a live album titled The Archive: Live, Lost & Found, in 2008.

The Seventh Seal was finally released on November 17, 2009, after several delays on Rakim’s own Ra Records, TVM, and SMC Recordings but it was distributed through Fontana/ Universal Music Group.

Considered a comeback album after a ten-year gap between releases, the album features the two singles: Holy Are You, which was released on July 14, 2009, and Walk These Streets which was released on October 7, 2009. This album featured production from several renowned hip hop artists, including Nottz, Needlz, Jake One, and Nick Wiz. The album sold 12,000 copies in the United States by November 22, 2009, according to SoundScan.
In 2011, Rakim went in and moved the crowd with Paid In Full in its entirety while being backed by The Roots at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City, in honor of the album’s 25th anniversary.

In 2012, Rakim announced that both him and Eric B. will be releasing a 25th Anniversary Edition of their 1987 classic album Paid in Full, which will also contain new tracks recorded by Eric B. & Rakim, by the end of this year.  Rakim also announced he would release a new solo album around the same time period. To keep Hip-Hop alive, he also performed at the annual Roots’ Picnic in Philadelphia this past June.  Reports from The Detroit Free Press stated that he announced he was in the studio with Pharrell Williams working on the new album set to be released in 2013 also saying the first single will be released before the end of the year. 

In conclusion, some say “Rakim’s rhyming deviated from the simple rhyme patterns of early 80’s Hip Hop but his free-rhythm style ignored bar lines and had earned comparisons to the musical genus, Thelonious Monk.  Rakim’s calm and relaxed delivery resulted from his jazz influences, which he had played the saxophone and was a huge John Coltrane fan.  His subject matter often covered his own rapping skills and lyrical superiority over other rappers.
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