Rare Photographs Of Rakim Show Why He’s Hip-Hop Royalty
Last summer, in conjunction with the theatrical release of Straight Outta Compton, Ambrosia For Heads spoke to Stephan Armleder (a/k/a The Genevan Heathen). A B-Boy to the core (who also DJs and produces), The Genevan Heathen has been documenting N.W.A. and its members through scanning photographs, advertisements, trading cards, and other print and photographic memorabilia.
While N.W.A. was especially topical to the summer of 2015, The Genevan Heathen’s work spans across the 1980s and early 1990s Rap landscape. This month, Stephan celebrated his 1,000th vintage Rap scan. On a site with a blog layout, the curator allows fans to navigate chronologically or with a number of artist-driven and thematic tags.
One MC that the scans follow closely is Rakim. For 30 years, Rakim’s style, demeanor, and sense of cool has embodied the Hip-Hop spirit. Notoriously reserved in interviews, photographs have been a key way of documenting one of the true songwriting greats. The Long Island, New York lyrical legend is captured extensively, especially with original band-mate Eric B.
The onetime MCA Records star is seen in rare photographs alongside Bronx, New York Gangsta Rap pioneer Just-Ice, in mafia (and money) themed ’90s Eric B. & Rakim photo-shoots, and with another technically advanced contemporary, Kool G Rap. Eric and Ra’ would notably take Kool G Rap & DJ Polo on tour with them, before the Queens, New Yorkers’ own debut LP.
Eric B. & Rakim recorded together between 1986 and 1993, releasing four albums to gold and platinum success. In the last 20 years, Rakim has released three solo LPs of his own—including his only Top 5 charting appearance in 1997’s gold-certified solo debut, The 18th Letter.
Click here to check out the full gallery of Rakim photos at genevanheathen.com.