(FinalCall.com) – Once it was announced that he would be present at Saviours’ Day 2009, everybody wanted to get a glimpse of the hip hop lyrical legend Rakim. The Final Call’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad sat down with him for an exclusive interview after Minister Farrakhan’s Saviours’ Day keynote message on March1.
The Final Call (FC): This weekend, there was a panel where many hip-hop artists and fans discussed the role of Islam and the influence of Minister Farrakhan on the culture. Your name came up several times as being an influential artist, leading many to explore different aspects of Islam through your lyrics and by describing your experiences. How do you feel about that?
Rakim Allah (RA): Since I came out, I have felt a strong responsibility because I had knowledge of self and–I think the end of 1985–then the first record came out in 1986 so, to me that was like the gift that I needed for my travels. I applied it and I love what I live and I live Islam so I applied it to everything I do. I applied it to my rhymes and I felt that I wanted the people to know what I knew. I felt that I was put here for that purpose and I just want to fulfill my legacy as far as being a conscious rapper and putting the word that I felt the streets needed to hear out there.
FC: Now before when I talked to you at the Rock the Bells concert in the Summer of 2008, you were a supporter of Barack Obama. He was in the mix, he was running for President, now, he is the President of the United States. What are your thoughts?
RA: It is a beautiful thing. Everybody is feeling the sense of awareness that the neighborhood has now. It seems like everybody wants to get on their horse and do what they are supposed to do. It is a long time coming, but I think the time is at hand. I think most of all we have to stand up and take care of our responsibility; we cannot do it by ourselves. It’s an opportunity, but at the same time we are in a recession right now but you know what he is trying to do, he is trying to make equal opportunity. With the masses understanding that, I think it is a new way of thinking. People that didn’t care about politics care about politics now. People that didn’t really have too much hope about anything, have hope now. So I am looking forward to seeing what takes place. I have big support for Barack and another reason I am here. ’09 is a big year.
FC: And your thoughts on Min. Farrakhan’s influence and the reason for being here at Saviours’ Day?
RA: I want to come full circle, I want to come speak to the Minister and ask a few things related to my future endeavors and get his feedback on it and ask him if it’s anything that he needs me to do from here on. It is like whenever I have a question or something that I have a problem with understanding, Farrakhan has the greatest understanding that I have ever witnessed that a human being can have. His insight on history, his insight on Islam, his insight on life itself, is so overwhelming. Sometimes when we have something so great in our midst we take it for granted a little bit. We know its greatness but we do not really understand. After him, it will be none! So we should understand that and make sure that we work for the cause.
FC: Thank you.
RA: Thank you my brother.