25/04/2019: “Guess Who’s Back” by Rakim

Like many hip hop hits, the instrumental is heavily based on another song. This one samples Bob James’ “Shamboozie”, released in 1982. The sample is immediately evident; it’s the infectious progression of horn stabs at the start of both songs.

The short and sharp nature of the hits composing that hook gives it a lot of impact, like jabs from Mike Tyson!

The lyrics are a celebration of the Hip Hop Golden age, and a reflection on Rakim’s own success. It’s a song which is enjoyable more than deep, but sometimes songs like that are needed.

Rakim shot to fame as the MC of MC/DJ duo Rakim and Eric B (usually the other way round!) in the late 80s. The fact that he still found success even as hip hop changed dramatically in the 90s is a testament to his ability.

“Guess Who’s Back” was released in 1997 on the album The 18th Letter, a reference to the letter R, and therefore Rakim.

Feel good vibes!

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