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Hip-hop legend Rakim is breaking new ground with his upcoming studio album, G.O.D.’S NETWORK (REB7RTH), by flexing his skills both on the mic and behind the boards. Widely lauded as the best lyricist of all time, The God MC himself is blessing the culture with the next step in his historic career.

 “I feel like the battery in my back has been reenergized,” Rakim said about his new album, which arrives nearly four decades after the release of his classic debut with Eric B., Paid In Full. Since then, he’s continued to shape the landscape and culture of hip-hop as we know it, inspiring rising artists with his hype live shows and incredible studio albums. And while he’s produced some of his previous work—notably “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” “Juice (Know The Ledge),” and “Paid In Full”—this feels like new territory for the 18th Letter, whose production and scratching talents are nothing short of remarkable.

G.O.D.’S NETWORK (REB7RTH) is proof that Rakim is truly one of the most special artists we’ve known not just in hip-hop, but all of music. You can tell he feels that level of praise when speaking about the genesis of the album. “Having the ability to showcase my talents behind the boards coupled with the elite lyricism the world already knows and gives me infinite praise for alongside some of the best talents to ever do it is truly a blessing and for that I am humbled,” he said.

Rakim is more than an official triple-threat as an artist, because he’s also showing off skills as a curator. On this album’s seven tracks, he enlists a who’s-who of top hip-hop talent, including the dearly departed Nipsey Hussle, Fred the Godson, DMX, and Prodigy (of Mobb Deep). Rakim also linked with many of his contemporaries, such as Snoop Dogg, Method Man, KXNG Crooked, B.G., and Kool G. Rap, among others.

The album’s first single, “Be Ill,” is the perfect introduction, as it pairs Rakim’s raw rhymes and head-nodding production with slick guest features from Kurupt and Masta Killa. Elsewhere, Rakim slows it down for the soulful “Love Is The Message,” which features Nipsey Hussle, Planet Asia, Louis King, Snoop Dogg, Sally Green, Kobe Honeycutt, and the LA Grand Choir. And then there’s the chest-thumping “International,” a straight-up slapper with hard-hitting rhymes from Kool G. Rap, Tristate, and Joell Ortiz.

For fans of hip-hop, and especially of Rakim’s storied discography, there is so much to love on this record. You can hear his hunger as an emcee and producer on every track, as well as his desire to collaborate with so many respected artists. Despite having decades in the game and many classics to his name, it feels like Rakim is just getting started.

While the world awaits the July 26th release date, fans can catch Rakim performing live throughout the US from now until the end of year in support of G.O.D.S Network (REB7RTH).

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