In Rakim’s world, he is considered a legend. His career as a rapper has spanned four decades, making him a role model to all aspiring MCs. But Rakim would be the first to admit that all legacies pale in comparison with that of Nelson Mandela, the first black, democratically elected president of South Africa, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 95. To celebrate the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the feature film opening everywhere on Christmas Day that tells the story of Mandela’s journey from outlaw to leader of his nation, Rakim created a custom track honoring this amazing life.

The interview above provides insight into Rakim’s inspiration and process putting the new song together. He was inspired by Mandela’s incredible sacrifice, and was actually in the studio when he heard that Mandela had passed away. This really hit home for Rakim, and added a new layer to his creative process. In Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom we see a young, rebellious Mandela (played by Golden Globe nominee Idris Elba) transform into a world leader, and this was another key point of inspiration for Rakim. Watching Mandela endure his struggle and emerge as the president of his nation and a Nobel Peace Prize winner had a major impact on the veteran rapper.

To hear more from Rakim, click above. You can listen to the complete track by clicking here.