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Page 1


 "I never heard a flow like his." ...



Page 2


 "They was calling me 'the young Rakim,' so my head got a little big." ...



Page 3


 "It's up to brothers like me and him to keep it going." ...





  Nas/ Rakim Collaboration In The Works



  The Greatest MCs Of All Time


  Jay, Nas, LL, More On Being The 'Greatest MCs Of All Time'


  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time





  MTV News RAW: Nas And Rakim






  Nas/ Rakim Collaboration In The Works



  The Greatest MCs Of All Time


  Jay, Nas, LL, More On Being The 'Greatest MCs Of All Time'


  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time





  MTV News RAW: Nas And Rakim






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Rakim and Nas are two of the greatest MCs of all time, not only according to MTV's "MTV's hip-hop brain trust" but also hip-hop fans universally, and with good reason. Each one achieved legendary status with the release of their respective debut LPs.

Rakim came onto the scene in 1987, and his lyrics forever changed the way an MC thought about putting words together, and the ways fans thought about listening to them. In 1994, Nas bowed with Illmatic and has constantly elevated his wordplay through the years by rapping from the perspective of a gun, rapping with deceased legends, rapping about heaven and hell and the concrete in between.

MTV News RAW:
Nas And Rakim
Watch history in the making as the legends reveal what it took to become two of the greatest MCs of all time.


Over the years, both Nas and Rakim have admired each other from afar through the press and in concerts. Last month, for the first time ever, the legends sat down together for an interview to discuss their similarities, their own inspirations and the future of their careers. The love is genuine — and at some points, both MCs actually seem to be a little shy.

MTV: This is really monumental to have both of you guys here at the same time. Nas, do you remember when you first heard Rakim?

Nas: I never heard a flow like his. You had a lot of dudes screaming in the mic [at the time]. So when he came, total opposite of that, it made everybody freeze. The way he flowed, it was like an added instrument inside the music. Then, what he's saying on top of that, it had never been done before ... I wanted to know, when I started [rapping], "What would Rakim think of my joint?"

Rakim: On my way here, I was thinking me and Nas got a lot in common. His pops was a jazz player, my moms was a jazz singer. That jazz influence, coming up, gave us a deeper responsibility or a deeper route that we were trying to take to try to get that poetry across.

The Best Hip-Hop
Albums Of All Time
Who tops the list? Jay-Z? Biggie? Nas? Dre? Find out here.


MTV: Another parallel is the first albums: Both of your first albums totally changed rap. We did "The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time" last year and Paid in Full and Illmatic were ranked #1 and #2. Those two albums really changed the game lyrically, musically and spiritually. Rakim, did it feel that way at the time?

Rakim: Nah. Not at all, bruh. The first album that we did, we just wanted to make a good hip-hop album. I never sat down and tried to write a single or reach for anything. At the end of the day, we sat down and picked a single.

MTV: In 1987, when Paid in Full was released, so many other MCs who went on to be legends were just coming out around that time: KRS-One, LL, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane. What was the competition level like?

Rakim: It was good. Everybody was a little bit more unique. Run-DMC was doing they thing. I was doing my thing. Kool G Rap and Kane doing they thing. You had Fresh Prince coming from Philly doing his thing. It was a little bit more original back then. It was enjoying what you do.


NEXT: 'They was calling me 'the young Rakim,' so my head got a little big.' ...
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Photo: MTV News/Getty

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