Amazing interview with the God, Rakim, the greatest rapper of all time, on Halftime Online:
"I’ve been writing rhymes for so long I got like five or six different ways I write a rhyme. It might be from the last word in the verse to the first or sometimes I sit there, toy with it and I might come up with sixteen of the illest words I can and write the rhyme to fit in. That’s just when I’m fucking around or when it’s a little slow for me and I’m not in the mood to write I know how to force it out. I’ve been writing for so long I got a lot of different ways to write. Everything becomes too normal after a while. I’ve been writing for so long it’s like how could I do this different. How can I make it seem like I’m not writing a rhyme today. Those are just some things I do. People bug out when they see me grab a paper and start writing from the bottom. People be like what are you doing? Just slow down. By the time I get to the top I’m done. They like done with what and I be like this is sixteen bars. I just wrote a rhyme nigga. It’s crazy man."
He just breaks down how he changed the hip-hop world forever in this question:
"Halftimeonline: When I was 19, I heard you talking in an interview about how you messed around with jazz. You said one of your favorite artists was Thelonius Monk. He saw visions when he wrote songs so it’s funny how you just mentioned you see a whole song before you write it. So do you still mess with the saxophone?
Rakim: Oh no doubt. I ain’t played one in a couple of years but I think that had a lot to do with my rhyme flow. Playing the sax and then enjoying jazz music man. It’s like I learned how to find words inside of the beat. Back in the day rappers were bump bump bump ba bump ba bump. They was rhyming like that but I was like bababa bump bump babum ba babump bababa bump. The syncopation and the pauses is all from knowing music, playing the saxophone, listening to John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk and the crazy shit they were doing. I just tried to incorporate that into my rhyme flow. That played a big part in my flow."