Rakim Drops Timeless Wisdom In A Powerful New Collaboration With Stephen Marley (Video)

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Rakim verses are rare these days. But, when he speaks, he does so with intention and wisdom, and Hip-Hop listens. Rakim’s latest effort is a powerful contribution on Stephen Marley’s “So Unjust,” also featuring Kardinal Offishall, from Marley’s new album Revelation Pt. II: “The Fruit of Life.”

Marley and Rakim spoke with Complex at length in a video about the making of the song and its meaning. “‘So Unjust’ is speaking about [the world being] unjust, so you have to be careful of who you trust and who you put your trust in,” Marley said. “See things through, rather than bargaining for the fish that are still in the water. Wait till they catch a fish and then bargain,” he added. The themes Marley articulated resonated immediately with Rakim. “The song content and the conversation on the song was something that I love dealing with,” he shared. “Somewhat political, conscious record…something to wake up the masses, and that’s right up my alley.” From the outset of the song, Rakim embraces the concept, rapping “Since history, it’s been depression and misery, racism, greed, deception and bigotry. They make you choose. You a prisoner or a soldier, but once you fall victim to the system, then you over.”

The final version of “So Unjust” is a heavy Reggae groove that is true to the Marley family sound, however, it started off very differently. Marley plays the original beat saying “where it started was really kind of more straight Hip-Hop…The track evolved from where it initially started to where it is now.” Rakim adds that songs often go to a different level when two creative forces are brought together. “That’s what good artists do when you get a collaboration, the two artists respect each other and the two artists bring the best out of each other,” he says. The MC also shares a bit about his writing process, noting “usually it’s a slow process for me. I like to dissect the music first and see what the music wants me to do. So, when I pen it out, it kind of fits hand in hand.” Of the final result, Marley says “Doing a song with Rakim, I couldn’t do it lukewarm.”

Though the “making of” video only features Marley and Rakim, Kardinal Offishal’s contribution also is outstanding. As Marley says, the Canadian legend’s vocals “seal it.”