Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rakim - Holy Are You

This new track was posted last night on all the hip hop sites. If anyone that cares has not heard it by now I'm surprised. So, the wait is coming to a close after I don't know how many years of false release dates, label changes, etc. Or, so it seems. All I saw posted was a "fall release". Not even a date this time. Meaning I'll believe it's coming out when I can actually go to a store and hold a copy in my hands (or maybe see it on Amazon as 'in-stock'...I rarely go to the store anymore).

But the song is out, and on every site I go to now, I'm looking at literally hundreds of people sharing their thoughts in the c-section. But, when first listening I stayed away from the comments already posted (probably around 20 on the site I was at). I don't want any hint of influence on my opinion. However, I couldn't avoid it completely - the poster shared his feelings saying "good lord this goes in". Well, goddamn...I'm pretty excited by now. This may be the Rakim I've been waiting for, not the one that disappointed with his last two releases.

So, I gave the song a listen...and then another. I think the production bangs pretty hard - I like it. But, it sounds kind of pretentious in my opinion. I would have preferred something more stripped down and raw. Drum-heavy, rather than synth and bass-heavy. I think that would have been a little more fitting. Rakim's flow is there, his voice and delivery are solid, but lyrically?? I don't know. I was bored. It sounds like he spit those verses before on The 18th Letter and/or The Master . Not literally - you know what I mean. That same kind of shit - gods and the earths...blah, King Tut, pyramids, blah, blah...alpha and omega, cosmos, genesis, hieroglyphics, blah, blah, blah. Not only does it sound like what he's been spitting on his previous lackluster projects, it sounds like the same shit people put Canibus down for spitting all the time. But, when The R does it, it's classic apparently.

I love Rakim's music as much as any other head out there, but I have no reason to be anything but honest. If something is not up to par, than it's not. I'm not saying that Rakim doesn't have it anymore, but in my opinion he missed the mark with this one. He's traded his descriptive lyrics based in current reality for the metaphysical and historical metaphors, which I can only take so much of. And when the entire song follows that theme, as have many others, it gets old. If this is the sound and tone of the upcoming project as a whole I'll probably be disappointed again.

But, for some reason, a lot of people seem to be scared to listen and comment objectively. Like because they know Rakim's place in hip hop they have to say they love it or they'll be shunned as an ignorant pop rap fan who knows nothing about true hip hop. In reality, if you do know your history, you know that this song is no comparison to the classic Rakim tracks of the past. Not at all. Everyone has their own opinion, and it may be different from mine. That's fine. But, when I read comments like "I love it. Hip Hop just got its pulse", "This might be the track of the year", and "this is the best song I've ever heard" I just have to call foul. Are you kidding me? The best song you've ever heard? It's clearly not even the best Rakim song ever. People can have their own opinion, and they should. It's clear that they don't though. Give me a credible sounding critique of why the song is great, classic, or whatever and I'd like to hear it. Until then, I'll just keep laughing at my 'peers' and hope that The R doesn't read their 'opinions' and get to thinking this is the best he has to do.

I'm still optimistic about the album though.

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