In a lengthy interview with The Atlantic, celebrated rapper Rakim shared his perspective on mercurial rapper/producer Kanye West and West's history of outbursts and head-scratching behavior. Rakim supports Kanye's artistry and says that music needs more outspoken artists like West.
"At the end of the day, you've really got to appreciate an artist that's really outspoken and feels like his music can change the world. Don't even go to the studio if you don't think that your music's going to do something. You're wasting your time and my time," Ra said. "You feel that in the award shows stuff where Kanye has these episodes, right? It's because he's passionate. If a lot of us don't take it that serious, then it's not going to be serious no more. People say, "That was his opinion, but he was so passionate about it," like that's bad. You've got to say, "Well, really?" We need that. We need the media to know that some of us are really passionate about music."
"I think he's maturing, and I think he wants other people to see it, too. That kind of helps explain Kanye. I kind of hear in his rhymes. He's living hard, and he's maturing now, and I think he's seeing both sides of the fence. We need a few more Kanyes, people that's really passionate about hip-hop and who keep it alive," Ra added.