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CD Review: Rakim "The Archive: Live, Lost & Found"

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Artist: Rakim
Album: The Archive: Live, Lost & Found
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 03/04/08

There’s not much to say after mentioning that Rakim released a new album, The Archive Live, Lost & Found, which has live performances of some of Rakim’s biggest hits and new, unreleased tracks. Even the novice hip-hop fan will know that this album is a bona fide crowd pleaser, with nothing even coming close to being comparable, well, that is, unless Rakim and Eric B. decided to hook back up and drop a few albums or go on tour.

One of the greatest MCs of all times, if not the greatest, Rakim’s lyrical and delivery styles have helped to change hip hop, and are still unparalleled. Keeping the same lucid and smooth flows as he coined back in the 1980s, he laces his new tracks with real hip hop, reminding us all how it’s supposed to be done. The album brings back skill, talent, and lyrics, elements of hip hop that are commonly absent today. Starting the album off with four previously unreleased tracks, “Hip Hop” properly intro’s the album, followed with “Love 4 Sale,” Word on the Street,” and “It’s Nothing.”

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Rakim doesn't fail to keep it real in the new tracks, showing off his lyrical brilliance with lines like, "that's why the word on the block is hip hop is dead/.../artist pimped by their labels like slaves pick cotton/Pop charts killing underground hip hop /that's why the world is still lookin' for Ra like Bin Laden.." The album continues with a selection of the songs that made Rakim the great MC that he is, including "Paid in Full" and "Eric B. Is President." The live tracks take you back to your fist live Rakim performance, or, if you've never been lucky enough to see him, it gives you a taste of what you missed. Packed with history, nostalgia, and hip hop mastery, this is definitely an album every self-respecting hip hop fan must have.

Track Listing:

01. Hip Hop
02. Love 4 Sale
03. Word on the Street
04. It's Nothing
05. It's Been a Long Time
06. My Melody
07. Don't Sweat the Technique
08. Follow the Leader
09. Ghetto
10. Guess Who's Back?
11. What's on Your Mind?
12. Remember That
13. It's Nothing
14. Saga Begins
15. Move the Crowd
16. Paid in Full
17. I Know You Got Soul
18. I Ain't No Joke
19. Juice (Know the Ledge)
20. Mahogany
21. Eric B. Is President