Rakim Hilariously Details His High Stakes Slap-Boxing Match With LL Cool J (Video)
Being a legendary MC comes with a lot of praise, pressure, and stories. Rakim’s faced or experienced a lot of all three, and when it comes to interviews over the years, “the God MC” has treated Heads to a lot of great tales. For example, one of those stories was told to Touré recently. In a sit-down with the author and journalist for a multi-part interview posted by Vlad TV, Rakim remembered the time he slap-boxed with LL Cool J during 1987’s Dope Jam Tour.
At the time, LL was one of the reigning kings of Hip-Hop and Ra was a fresh face testing the MC monarchy through attention-getting skills. It was his success that had LL bringing him and partner Eric B. on the national tour with him and apparently, things got stressful two weeks in. Rakim says that instead of their usual basketball routine, they decided to clash in a little hand-to-hand combat.
“We used to play basketball between shows and all that,” Rakim recalled to Touré. “[We] used to have courts set up in the arena. If we weren’t playing basketball, we were doing something [else] competitive. So [it was] maybe second week of the tour. Testosterone [is running] and everybody kind of getting tired of everybody [else] at this point…we play some ball that day—and I was kind of nice [at basketball]—so we did our thing on the court. And for some reason, we’re [all] standing around [afterwards]. The next thing [I notice is that] everybody throwing jabs now. ‘Yo Ra, you and L on slap-box.’ So L’s sitting there like…’Yeah, come on [and bring it].’ My man’s said, ‘Ra, if you can snatch LL’s hat off, I’m [going] to give you $1,000.'”
Back in those days LL Cool J seemingly never took off his trademark Kangol hat. Apparently, the winning thousand-dollar-bet was enough for Rakim to put his well being in danger with a Rap giant.
“Me and L set up, we rocking,” Ra describes of the playful-but-aggressive bout. “L’s swinging hard as crap [reenacts punches thrown], [I am] ducking under [the punches] like, ‘Yo L, listen man, and your hands is closed? Like, what are you doing, man?’ He was like, ‘Nah man, let’s just do it.’ I was like, ‘Aight.’ So we rockin’…he swinging, I’m ducking up under him, smacking him in the ribs, [and] you know he’s tall. I’m trying to figure out how to get the hat off…[The] first thing I did was reach down and untie his [shoelaces]. He got mad as hell. ‘Oh, you doing that?’ Like, nah, G. So we set back up…he swings, I duck up under him smack his knee, [and] buckle him a little bit. So I’m like, ‘Aight, if I can get him in the back of the knee, buckle him again I can get the hat off.’ So L gets mad again. He coming all fast at me, throwing hard. So I get mad now. I reached up, popped a bing and grabbed the hat but it just went [moves own hat on head] like that on his head. So he was like, ‘Oh, you trying to take my hat off?’ [I respond], ‘Nah man, it’s 52, I was just going to take the hat and give it back to you.'”
While Rakim’s story is funny, it isn’t without precedent. Last year, while making an appearance on Drink Champs, LL Cool J described a different incident involving his competitiveness and ire for swinging at other entertainers hard. Joining N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, LL detailed his infamous scuffle with Jamie Foxx on the set of Oliver Stone’s film, Any Given Sunday. In short, Jamie reportedly did not care for LL’s aggressiveness during a scene where they were both in uniform and on the sideline of a football field. Subsequently, Jamie punched LL in the face. According to Uncle L, moments later, knocked Jamie Foxx out cold.
Rakim is currently working on an autobiography with Touré. The memoir, scheduled for a late 2018 release, is slated to be about his life as a legendary MC. Eric B. & Rakim are also taking their reunion show on the road in America.