Review Summary: Rakim proves, that even after 12 years, he still is "the Master".
The Independent: 4/5
Los Angeles Times: 2/4
Rolling Stone: 3/5
The Source: 3.5/5
USA Today: 3.5/5
As I have already said, Rakim is a legendary MC. This album follows up the album "The 18th Letter", which was the return from the 5 year hiatus that Rakim took from his last album with Eric B "Don't Sweat the Technique".
When you've been named the best, and most influential MC of all time, by many, you can't be blamed for being complacent, and Rakim was definitely that. Also, being that he has been around since about '85, the time when kangols were the thing, it would also be appropriate that he would make references to the people who made kangols the thing (you know who), and references to other things that were in style during his era. Now for the track by track review.
1. Intro: People talking about how good Rakim is.
2. Flow Forever: The song is self-explanatory, with him rhyming about how he "flows forever", and how he's so good. Amazing opener. Classic. 5/5
3. When I B On Tha Mic: This song has DJ Premier doing an excellent beat for it. Classic. This song samples "Peter Piper" by Run-D.M.C, "How About Some Hardcore" by M.O.P, and other songs. This song has been sampled in, "Hip Hop" by Mos Def, and other songs. 5/5
4. Finest Ones: Great song. 4/5
5. All Night Long: One of the love songs, and if you want to know how I feel about his love songs (solo), I was never a HUGE fan of his solo love songs, but they are great nontheless. 4/5
6. State of Hip-Hop Interlude: Rakim talking about hip hop at the time (1999).
7. Uplift: Great song. 4/5
8. I Know: Classic song, with Rakim talking about his lyrical prowess. 5/5
9. It's the R: Classic song, with more of his bragging. 5/5
10. I'll Be There: Another love song. Great song. 4/5
11. It's a Must: A great song. 4/5
12. Real ***: Classic song. This song samples the song "Survival of the Fittest" by Mobb Deep. 5/5
13. How I Get Down: Classic song. 5/5
14. L.I Interlude: More of Rakim talking.
15. Strong Island: Classic song. 5/5
16. Waiting For the World to End: A classic song, produced by DJ Premier. This song is about the whole Y2K thing that people (I assume) were talking about back in late '99. 5/5
17. We'll Never Stop: Classic song, but this album should have ended with Waiting For the World to End instead. 5/5
Overall, I give this album, 4.5/5, 9/10, 90/100, and my grade for it is "A-".
3 Best Songs:
1. When I B On tha Mic
2. Waiting For the World to End
3. Strong Island
3 Weakest Songs:
1. All Night Long
2. I'll Be There
3. Finest Ones