It is written in the Great Book of Hip-Hop that any faithful fan of rap music, if he or she is able, must make the Pilgrimage at least once to a Rakim concert. Practically since the dawn of rap, the God MC has been among the very best at it, reliably turning promising talents into suckers with his sharp-witted lyricism for more than three decades. Classic albums with his DJ partner Eric B. such as Paid in Full and Follow the Leader made him a legend of hip-hop's first epoch, and by popular consensus, he's pretty much a first-ballot hall-of-famer.
That doesn't mean he's one of hip-hop's biggest stars, of course. The game doesn't work like that. You aren't likely to hear a lot of Rakim on 97.9 The Box, and he isn't pulling in hordes of young rap fans on this winter's tour, either. But you will most certainly hear his tunes on Houston's new classic rap station Boom 92.1, which made Saturday night's concert at Arena Theater an ideal even for the station to promote. It was a crowd of mostly middle-aged, mostly black hip-hop heads who turned out, with a few fresher-faced folks in the mix ready to study the master.More »