Rakim Resurfaces, Common Drops 'People' At NYC Benefit
Rakim is preparing to release his third solo album, "The Seventh Seal," this summer, the rapper revealed last night (June 8) at fashion designer Mark Ecko's Save the Rhinos concert in New York's CentrRakim is preparing to release his third solo album, "The Seventh Seal," this summer, the rapper revealed last night (June 8) at fashion designer Mark Ecko's Save the Rhinos concert in New York's Central Park. The disc will be Rakim's first solo endeavor in seven years.
The new offering is expected to be released through his newly formed label Ra Records, though no distribution deal has been confirmed yet. The rapper's previous project was shelved after he split from Dr. Dre's Aftermath/Interscope imprint in 2003.
While performing on stage with Common, Rakim also said he hoped to hit the studio with the Chicago rapper. He is also rumored to be collaborating with Nas.
Rakim has released two solo albums -- 1997's "The 18th Letter/The Book Of Life" (Universal) and 1999's "The Master." The former disc bowed at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 648,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while the latter shifted just 144,000 units. Rakim partnered with Eric B. to release four albums, including the duo's classic 1987 debut "Paid in Full."
During his own set, Common previewed the new track "The People," from his seventh studio album, "Finding Forever," due in September via G.O.O.D Music. His set included songs from his Kanye West-helmed 2005 album, "Be" ("The Corner," "Go"), as well as older cuts like "I Used To Love H.E.R." and "The Light."
Sharing the stage with the hip-hop veterans were West proteges Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco. Rhymefest performed tracks from his Allido/J debut "Blue Collar," due July 11, while Lupe offered mixtape favorites (including his freestyle to West's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone") and the single "Kick, Push," from his upcoming Atlantic debut "Lupe Fiasco's Food And Liquor."
Other highlights included surprise sets by Styles P. of the Lox and Ras Kass ("I just came out to have fun, but I guess I'm gonna spit," he said). DJ Z-Trip and DJ Kid Capri also performed and hip-hop pioneer Kool Herc made a brief cameo, handing out free t-shirts to the crowd.
The Save the Rhinos concert was organized by Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd. The inaugural event feature the Roots, De La Soul and MF Doom, among others, and raised $150,000. Proceeds from this year's show will benefit the International Rhino Foundation.