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New videos from Truth By Design, The Doppelgangaz and Masta Ace... Continue>

'In the Ghetto

Artist: Eric B and Rakim:

Year: 1990

By Andrew Kay | 02 November 2009

Arguably the greatest lyricist in rap, Rakim penned this beautiful, autobiographical narrative, weaving in elements of black pride and Diaspora, over a 24-Carat Black sample ('Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth'). Obviously not designed for the clubs, this track nevertheless showed the power of rap to tap into the consciousness of its audience - those weaned on Public Enemy, X-Clan and Brand Nubian to name but a few.

What can’t be underestimated is the humanism behind every haunting line. Rakim shows the historical genesis of black people and the power of the mind as he takes a journey that encompasses his birth, a trip to Medina and Mecca, taking things right up to his career as an MC, all reflected from the seemingly despairing bedroom window of his austere projects.

Eric B. & Rakim made many excellent tracks, but none with so much poignancy.  As Rakim famously wrote, “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Indeed. But you should always remember and respect the past, and 'In the Ghetto' does just that with vivid and poetic brilliance. The video’s stark and sparse lightning provides an excellent counterpoint to the science Rakim drops on every line.

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