Rakim Arrested Before Show With Ghostface, Talib Kweli

Witnesses say plain-clothed officers took him away in handcuffs.

NEW YORK — Rap legend Rakim was arrested by plain-clothed officers around 11 p.m. as he was about to enter Roseland Ballroom to perform Tuesday night, according to numerous eyewitnesses.

The officers flashed their badges, told Rakim they had a warrant for his arrest and took him away in an unmarked car, witnesses said. Rakim reportedly was handcuffed and went willingly. A security guard at Roseland said he saw the officers staked out across the street from the venue as early as 6 p.m.

Sources close to Rakim later confirmed the arrest to MTV News, and NYPD officers at the venue said the arresting officers were members of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department. A sheriff's department spokesperson said no comment could be made about the arrest until Wednesday morning.

Slick Rick and others addressed the arrest onstage, and the concert, headlined by Ghostface and featuring Talib Kweli and Royce Da 5'9", otherwise continued as planned.

Rakim is one of the most respected MCs in the rap game, perhaps best known for the classic "Paid in Full" from the 1987 Eric B. & Rakim album of the same name. He recently spent several years on Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records but didn't release anything on the imprint (see "Despite Their Split, Rakim Wants Dr. Dre On His New LP").

Be sure to check back with MTVNews.com for more details as this story unfolds.

[This story was updated at 1:59 a.m. ET on 04.28.2004]