Rakim On Letting The Love Flow At New "Great Day In Harlem" Photo Shoot

Rapper Rakim was one of the many contemporary hip-hop greats that turned out for yesterday's photo shoot updating Art Kane's famous jazz pictorial, "Great Day in Harlem."

Rakim, who returned to the music scene last year with a new solo album, "The 18th Letter" -- his first since Eric B & Rakim split up four years ago, told MTV that he was more than happy to take time out in order to be a part of the event.

"There's a lot of love out here, you know what I mean?," Rakim said, "and for a person like myself, [who] only goes to shows and events, to come here, and everybody's showin' me all this love ... I mean, I feel good about that."

"Then to see all the rappers together for a good cause," he continued, "and not to mention the jazz greats who did the same thing [ was special]. I grew up on that and I witnessed

it. I've seen footage of it and things of that nature, so when they said they was doin' it with the rappers, it's like I had to make sure I came down and was a part of this." [28.8 RealVideo]

The new photo was taken by Gordon Parks for an upcoming issue "XXL" magazine on the steps of the same brownstone on Harlem's 125th Street that Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and others sat on in 1958 for the shot that appeared on the cover of "Esquire" magazine.

As we previously reported (see "Jermaine Dupri, Salt N' Pepa, Wu Tang Clan, Others To Update "A Great Day In Harlem"), such urban artists as the Fugees, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jermaine Dupri, Canibus, Big Punisher, Run D.M.C., members of the Wu-Tang Clan and Goodie M.O.B. were among the artists that were on hand to take part in the new "Great Day" photograph.

In addition, some old school rappers, including Cold Crush Brothers, Luvbug Starski,

Fearless 4 and Funky 4 + 1 were asked to participate in the shoot. Also showing up was Deborah Harry, who as vocalist for Blondie helped bring rap to crossover audiences via the group's 1981 new wave hit, "Rapture."