Rakim discussed his career and his lack of pop crossover success since emerging as one of hip hop's most celebrated rhymers in the late 80s. The legendary emcee says that he was tempted to pursue more commercial tastes earlier in his career.
“It’s a game where you have so many people crossing over to get that paper,” Rakim explained. “Especially when I was at the height of my career, a lot of artists had to make a choice. Were they going to stay underground or was they gonna crossover? I choose to stay underground, and I used to question myself and ask if I made the right move.”
“When they hollered at me and said I won the greatest emcee—I think it was either The Source magazine or XXL—I ain’t gone front, that was like, ‘Alright. I did something right,’” he admitted.