Here's one for the ages: Daniel Quintana, who attended Wyandanch High School with Rakim in the early 1980s, posted a photo to Facebook yesterday evening of the young saxophone fiend Rakim playing baritone sax back when he was in high school. The caption read:
OOOHHHH LOOK WHO I FOUND THE GOD RAKIM ON THE BARITONE SAX. NOW HE IS ICONIC...SO GO FIGURE!!!!
In an interview published by Halftimeonline.net back in 2006, Rakim spoke directly about his experience playing saxophone, and how it had a major influence on his style as a rapper:
Halftimeonline: When I was 19, I heard you talking in an interview about how you messed around with jazz. You said one of your favorite artists was Thelonius Monk. He saw visions when he wrote songs so it’s funny how you just mentioned you see a whole song before you write it. So do you still mess with the saxophone?
Rakim: Oh no doubt. I ain’t played one in a couple of years but I think that had a lot to do with my rhyme flow. Playing the sax and then enjoying jazz music man. It’s like I learned how to find words inside of the beat. Back in the day rappers were bump bump bump ba bump ba bump. They was rhyming like that but I was like bababa bump bump babum ba babump bababa bump. The syncopation and the pauses is all from knowing music, playing the saxophone, listening to John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk and the crazy shit they were doing. I just tried to incorporate that into my rhyme flow. That played a big part in my flow.
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