The greatest rapper of all time? It used to be an easy call. A prodigiously gifted rhymer from way out in Wyandanch, Long Island, Rakim introduced himself in 1986 alongside DJ Eric B with the double-sided "Eric B Is President/My Melody" 12-inch and helped inaugurate hip-hop's ballyhooed Golden Era. Decked out in custom-made Dapper Dan suits scored from 125th Street, he hung with the original 50 Cent (a/k/a Kelvin Martin, a stick-up kid who terrorized Fort Greene) and befriended Mike Tyson, yet he also flaunted lyrics that made him sound philosophically deeper than any rapper who dared to pick up a mic before or after him. Each syllable sounded preordained—there's barely a line from Eric B and... More >>>