When anyone who respects and understands the culture of Hip-Hop refers to Rakim as “The God MC,” there’s never any real debate to challenge that bestowment. The reason? He literally is the greatest lyricist of all time and would have no problem proving that today in or out the booth, on or off the stage, at the wise age of 51 years old.

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However, if you still need a crash course on his legendary stature in the rap game, all you have to do is read his new memoir, Sweat The Technique: Revelations On Creativity From The Lyrical Genius, which The Source is exclusively unveiling the cover for today.

Amistad Press / HarperCollins Publishers
Photography: Michael Wong
Design: Dean Nicastro


As the official description states, Sweat the Technique is a “part memoir, part writing guide” penned by the rap pioneer alongside seasoned journalist Bakari Kitwana. The book details how Rakim influenced and even changed the way rappers actually rhymed, his intrinsic skills that helped make a certified classic debut album alongside Eric B. with their 1987 magnum opus Paid in Full and ultimately his journey from a young Black man hailing from Long Island with nothing but a dream and talent into the most respected MC of his era.

So, why now? Sure there’s a market for rap memoirs at the moment — JAY-Z’s classic Decoded, Common’s eye-opening Let Love Have the Last Word and My Famous Life by the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep are all gems — but what makes this moment so special for Rakim? We’ll leave it to the man himself to tell it via this exclusive quote he gave us to go with the cover reveal:

“Why now for ‘Sweat The Technique‘? There’s been a lot of points of reflection in my life over the last couple of years. I turned 50; my first album turned 30. I’ve welcomed some new editions to my family and lost some beloved ones. I got back together with my partner Eric to tour and release a box set and, while we were doing interviews, the same questions all seemed to come up. A lot of those questions were rehashes of some issues that I wanted to finally speak about and, more importantly, almost none of them covered what my fans and supporters are always asking….which is pretty much ‘How do you do it?’ It made sense to put a little focus on the craft and where I, and hopefully the readers, can search for inspiration. After over three decades of being an artist who mostly speaks through his music, the time felt right to pull back the curtain.”

— Rakim, The God MC

Get your reading glasses out — this one definitely sounds like it will make for a good read! Sweat The Technique: Revelations On Creativity From The Lyrical Genius, the prolific new memoir by Rakim, goes on sale starting September 24.

Take a #ThrowbackThursday moment with us by watching our Source TV interview with The God MC from 2010 below: