Born on this date in 1968, William Griffith Jr. aka Rakim Allah is considered the greatest emcee to ever touch the mic. His debut album along with DJ Eric B., Paid In Full, is a necessary piece of Hip-Hop’s creative history, used as an instructional tool to many up-and-coming emcees and deejays as a style and sound to emulate. There were a few emcees who cashed checks sounding like the “R”, so since it’s said that mockery is the best form of flattery, TheSource.com put together this list of Rakim soundalikes who owe the God some recognition for borrowing from his style.
Grand Daddy I.U.
The rapper known for his “Something New” fame dropped several albums with a voice, flow, and cadence that was identical to Rakim.
The 6’8″ emcee, whose raps were also saturated with Five Percent Nation vernacular, had a flow and vocal tone that was very similar to Rakim, and being that he came out after Ra, his music immediately drew many comparisons.
With all due respect, this guy was the epitome of what Hip-Hop considered a “biter.” Rell not only dressed exactly like Rakim on his Follow The Leader album cover but only true Rakim fans and Hip-Hop aficionados could tell the difference between this copycat and the 18th Letter. Needless to say, his career was very short-lived.
As the only female on this list, her voice couldn’t possibly sound like the God, but she tried extremely hard to mimic his flow in order to get recognition in the male-dominated field of emceeing. Needless to say, her nemesis and pioneer femcee MC Lyte, used that in her “Beat Biter” battle record, saying, “..you should win a prize as a Rakim soundalike..”
Will Smith on “Summertime”
In possibly one of his most celebrated singles, the lyrical funnyman borrowed Rakim’s slow flow and monotone voice instead of his regular, quirky octave that most fans of his TV sitcom, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, are familiar with.