What would happen when your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper says you elevated the game?
Would you be at a loss for words or would that make you work that much harder?
In light of their last two cards, Resolution and NOME 9, dominating the rap conversation for close to three months… Rakim Allah aka the 18th Letter has weighed in on how important Troy “SMACK” White and URL are to the Hip-Hop as a culture.
READ MORE: NOME9 Proves That There Are Levels To This Rapping Stuff
“I remember when URL was S.M.A.C.K. DVDs and it started hitting the streets back in the early 2000s. You used to [have to] pull up on 125th, and grab a copy or someone would hit you with it backstage at a show.” The Microphone Fiend reflects “Watching it brought me straight back to the parks and parties where we all started. I’m known as a lyricist but, like every great rapper I know, my lyricism was born trying to out rhyme the guy next to me in front of a handful of onlookers.”
The god-emcee has always noted that “iron sharpens iron.” Many have heard Rakim give praises to other emcees in the past. Most notably he has given props to Nasir Jones aka Nas as one of those who carry of the culture. But Nas is another rapper and depending on who you ask, it represents an older generation. And while he has revolutionized the game from a lyrical perspective… who has caused a paradigm shift for this new generation, ultimately saving the culture?
It seems like he is pointing to SMACK URL as an enterprise.
“The evolution URL [and battle rap] is like the evolution of Hip-Hop.” Rakim offers “It’s a little slicker now, it’s got the global reach of the internet, and the networks bringing it to the mass audiences.”
He continues, “So the rappers [on his platform] know the stakes have risen, and [one battle] can make or break a career overnight.” When Rakim used to battle in the park, your pride and maybe a couple of dollars were at the price you paid if you lost a battle. But what Smack White, Eric Beasley and their other partner Cheeko at the helm, their team Norbes, P, KD and NuNu as strong support systems, has done seems to have taken the tradition of battling and advanced it. Rakim sees what they are doing with this platform and appreciates him for keeping this energy alive.
Rakim states, “That core energy of two artists elevating each other, and trying to show the world that they are the biggest beast in the land… that’s always gonna be the real heart of what we do.”