Rakim's Second Coming

The God MC confronts a hip-hop landscape far different from the one he once ruled

Rakim says he wanted to "speak about the problems in the world today." But you suspect those who need to hear his message most are happy guffawing along to Gucci Mane, while those who remember his peak will balk at Seventh Seal's attempts to sweeten the sentiment. Still, he vows that there's another album coming next year, and that it will mark "a return to what raw hip-hop is." Drop the coterie of crooners on chorus duties, and he might already be there.

Rakim plays B.B. King's November 19

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