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Rakim: A Slideshow

Photos by Patrick Dodson / University at Albany

"I start to think and then I sink

Into the paper like I was ink
When I’m writing, I’m trapped in between the lines
I escape when I finish the rhyme...
I got soul!"
 -- Rakim


Influential Rap and Hip Hop music artist

4-5 p.m. Book signing and performance by the Mic Drop music program. Albany Public Library's Howe Branch, 105 Schuyler Street. More.
Monday, October 28
, 2019
7 p.m. A Creative Life conversation with WAMC’s Joe Donahue
Main Theatre, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany.
See map with parking info
Both events free and open to the public

William Michael Griffin Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is “near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs – perhaps the greatest – of all time within the hip-hop community” (Steve Huey,


His new memoir, Sweat The Technique: Revelations On Creativity From The Lyrical Genius, described as “part memoir, part writing guide,” follows his career from his beginnings as a teenage rapper in Wyandanch, Long Island and offers insight into how he thinks about words, music, writing and rhyming as it teaches writers of all levels how to hone their craft.


Rakim began his career as the emcee of the rap duo Eric B. & Rakim, “the most influential DJ/MC combo in contemporary pop music, period” (Tom Terrell, NPR). 

The Source, an American hip hop and entertainment website, ranked him #1 on its list of the "Top 50 Lyricists of All Time."

Times UnionRenowned rap lyricist Rakim talks creative process at UAlbany, Albany appearance includes meet-and-greet, interview

Philippe Petit at UAlbany Oct. 3, 2019
Rakim, Oct. 28, 2019, at the University at Albany

From the song "To The Listeners"

The rhymes is sportable,

microphone is portable.

For any immortal man,

swords is not affordable


At the speakers you'll stare,

if I was there your description is
Letters full of poetical messages,

this is for the listeners.

From the album "Follow The Leader" 

Written by Eric B. Eric Barrier, William Griffin

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

About "The Creative Life"

Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, The Creative Life features leading figures from a variety of artistic disciplines in conversation with WAMC host Joe Donahue about creative inspiration, craft, and career.

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation, The John D. Picotte Family Foundation and Stewart’s Shops/Dake Family. Additional support is provided from the College of Arts and Sciences,  Office of Intercultural Student Engagement and University Auxiliary Services. 

More information on the Creative Life Series.

The Creative Life Series at the University at Albany
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