"Working on a master plan"
All praise Kid Wizard aka Rakim Allah - the king of spiritual hip hop.
Born in 1968 and raised on Long Island, New York - William Michael Griffin Jr. otherwise known as 'Rakim' is one of the most gifted lyricists in the history of hip hop and one of the founders of the genre itself. In 1986 he was introduced to the Nation of Islam.
A year later his first album "Paid in Full (1987)" alongside producer Eric B. was released, the first of four albums made together until 1992 when the duo decided to split. It is now regarded as one of the greatest rap albums of all time, essentially the first of it's kind in the late eighties, influencing the history of the genre forever with a new style and word play that changed the game.
This level of groundbreaking artistry would be repeated in his debut solo album "The 18th Letter / The Book Of Life (1997)" with Rakim in his prime essentially elevated to legendary status, reflecting in It's Been A Long Time (video below) on how - "They said I changed the times from the rhymes that I thought of, So I made some more to put the New World in Order".
Below are lyrics from his song "The Mystery" in which Rakim adresses the theme of God. Reading the lyrics as a poem enables you to fully appreciate the genius of his intellect and understand why his nickname is GOD MC:
"In eternal blackness, in the midst of the darkest night
Proteins and minerals, exist within specks of light
Solids liquids and gases, and sparks of light within
Infinite lengths and widths and depths and heights
No beginning or ending, the seven dimensions
Enough space for more than a million words and inventions
To travel through time within enough room to be the womb
Of the most high's great mind which he will soon make shine
With intelligent elements in sight that he will gather
In the realms of relativity electricity struck matter
Energies explode he reload to keep releasing
Atoms by the millions, til the numbers increasing
'Til it was burning he kept returning itself to the source
The hotter his thoughts it gave the center more force
He gave birth to the sun which would follow his laws
All caused by his mental intercourse, who is God?
He began to explain his craft, the master in the attic
His theoretical wisdom of the numerical system
He gave birth to all planets, inorganic, and organic
So you wouldn't take it for granted
To the East, and each speak the motion of peace
And harmony, and each show devotion to teach
The universe is to come, the whole world must go according
Know your galaxies and mirages stars start fallin
So stay in your orbit maintain safe and sound
Like the planets each cipher remains perfectly round
From unconciousness, to conciousness
By knowledging his wisdom his response is this
A understanding, which is the best part
He picked the third planet where new forms of life would start
He pursued show and prove every move in order
Back to the source he let off his resources in the water
Climb his climax, where the climate is at, high degrees
See he start to breathe deep in the darkest seas
And the plan is, to lay in the clays to form land
And expand, usin the same clays to born man
In his own image our origin begins in the East
Culture rise to breed, with the powers of peace
Deal in equality nature's policy is to be God
Build or destroy positively born life like Allah
And each one was given everlasting perfection
If each one keep living in the same direction
And life was life, and love was love
We went according by the laws of the world above
They showed us physically, we could reach infinity
But mentally, through the century we lost our identity
Life start and ending, we got trife and started sinning
Lost touch with the beginning now ciphers stop spinnin
And what was once easy became confused and hard
Which brings us back, to the mystic question, who is God?
Sixty-six trillion years since his face was shown
When the seventh angel appears, the mystery will be known
Check Revelations and Genesis, St. Luke and John
It even tells us we are Gods in the Holy Qu'ran
Wisdom Strength and Beauty, one of the meanings of God
G.O.D. you and me ? Gomars O Dubar?
Knowledge Wisdom Understanding Sun Moon and Star
Man Woman and Child, and so is Allah
And the universe has always existed
And existance was life
And Allah had no beginning because he is, what always was
Rakim Allah, peace
Now who is God?"
Following The Eighteenth Letter, Rakim would go onto release 2 more solo albums, The Master (1999) & The Seventh Seal (2009). In 2018 a 50 year old Rakim graced NPR Tiny Desk Studios in 2018 with a memorable performance of some classics and a reminder of why he is one of the greats.
"If you can see if you can solve the mystery
The answer revolves around your history
So carefully, I drop this degree
Scientifically, and realistically (Who is God?)"
- Psychic Garden