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Thursday, March 1, 2012

[Comp] RAKIM - "M.A.W. (Master @ Work)"

After putting on my previous Rakim compilation, "The Lost Album", I decided that we definitely needed to take a deeper look into the God MC's catalouge of inspiring guest spots, soundtrack work and unreleased material. Last time around I wanted to focus on records from the period between the break-up of Eric B. & Rakim as a duo in '93 up to the release of "The 18th Letter", Ra's '97 Universal debut. For "M.A.W. (Master @ Work)" I'm putting the spotlight on the artists greatest non-album material recorded between '98 and 2003, covering work around the release of "The Master" and his unfortunate stint at Aftermath. 

Although often hailed as the most influential rapper of all time, Ra has been the target of a lot of negative critique since the late '90s which became especially audible with "The Master", his sophomore album on Universal Records. The LP saw Rakim take steps further towards a commercialized club sound, according to himself a result of falling in to pushes from the label. While these records clearly wasn't a good look for this particular artist, who's always been an underground hero, the image of "The Master" as a horrible document of a fall-off that it's often given is an unfair one in my opinion. I've seen several writers give the two DJ Premier joints a pass while writing off the remaining fifteen songs. These guys are missing a whole bunch of heatrocks as Ra is still iller and chiller than the large majority of the rap game at this time. If you forgot about the high points of this LP, give another chance to his work with Ultramagnetic MC's TR Love ("I Know"), Big Jaz and Rahzel ("It's A Must"), The 45 King's intense "How I Get Down" and his own "Strong Island" just to name a few, but far from all, good moments here.

It would take an entire decade before the world to get a new Rakim album, a result of unlucky business decisions rather than any break from the music industry. Only a year after "The Master", the artist announced his move to Dr. Dre's succesful Aftermath imprint, a deal that unquestionably sounded promising considering it packed together one of The West's most praised producers with The East's most hailed lyricist. After promises of an album "changing the game again", and an outstanding cameo on the huge hit single "Addictive" by female singer Truth Hurts, Ra was dropped from the label in 2003. It turns out these heavyweights champion just were to different from eachother when it came to making music, as Rakim didn't want to compromise his style to fit into any given gangsta persona. The material that was recorded for an album to be titled "Oh My God!" (check this article for an interesting piece on the recording), including production work by Dre, Mel-Man and DJ Premier, will not be released according to either part. Listeners will get a view of how that LP might have sounded with the songs "Welcome to the Hood", "After U Die", "R.A.K.I.M.", "The Watcher II" and "Cold Feeling", all included on this compilation. Anyone feeling that Rakim fell off after he went solo will hopefuly realize he's the one being way off after getting through the 17 tracks presented below. Enjoy!

01. "Welcome 2 The Hood"
02. "Buffalo Gals (Back to School)" (Ft. Hasaan 7)
03. "The Militia Pt. 2" (w. Gang Starr & WC)
04. "I'll Buss 'Em, U Punish 'Em" (w. Canibus)
05. "Concrete Jungle" (w. Bob Marley)
06. "Man With A Gun"
07. "Cold Feeling"
08. "I Am..." (w. G. Dep & Kool G Rap)
09. "Metaforce" (w. Art Of Noise)
10. "R.A.K.I.M."
11. "Take the Train" (Ft. Danny Saber)
12. "Game Of Life" (w. Ice-T & Chilli Mac)
13. "Milk & Honey"
14. "Once Upon A Rhyme in Japan"
15. "Streets Of New York" (w. Alicia Keys & NaS)
16. "The Watcher II" (w. Dr. Dre & Jay-Z)
17´. "After U Die"

(mirror link)


  1. many thanks to Big Jaz over @ ColdRockDaSpot (peep the links to your right) for the excellent rip of the rare "Once Upon A Rhyme in Japan", Nigo Ft. Rakim.

  2. yo claaa7 da link is not workin' for some reason.

  3. just tried the link and it works fine for me, maybe it's the 4Shared site you're having problems with? i've been having some trouble uploading large sized files since Megaupload shut down, for some reason MediaFire won't let me upload files larger than 100 MB. any suggestions on good filesharing sites these days?

    easy to use, quick and it's especially important with links that hold up for as long as possible.

  4. claaa7 , salute for defending the other songs on the Master. Its A Must is one of my favorites along with Uplift. Rakim NEVER did no wack album solo or with Eric.

  5. chronwell - exactly, it pisses me off when i read statements of how unbeliavbly bad "The Seventh Seal" supposedly was. Eric B. & Rakim made four classic albums but Rakim has made three good solo albums with very few skippables and even in 2009 he's still better than the vast majority of emcees in the game.

    as i wrote it bugs me how "The Master" has turned into the equivallent to "Nastradamus" (my favorite artist but that album was BAD), sure "T.M." had a few weak songs - i absolutely hate "All Night Long" for example but if the two Pete Rock songs from "18th Letter" had instead been on "T.M." and you deleted the worst songs from it, making it 10 or 11 songs like "18th...", "Master" might very well be the better album. and in a way "Seventh Seal" is his best solo album ever, because it really showed his versatility as an emcee with songs like "Working For You", "Message to You", "Still in Love", "Dedicated", "Holy Are U", "Documentary of a Gangsta", "Man Above", etc.

    his work with Eric B. is classics on another level than these three but they are from another era, before everybody and their mother even tried to sound like Rakim plus they had cohessive production from one to three producers on each instead.

  6. mirror link @ MediaFire up now for those who couldn't download.. i had to cut one song though but you can download that separate here:

  7. links down. Could you please re-upload. Thanks!