“I used to go hard working out for quarterbacks to reach the next level,” Raki explained. “I remember before the season started, like two or three weeks out, I would start running to the high school. You want everybody to see you running down the street, you feel important, like, ‘There goes Ra getting ready for the season.’ I remember getting my little workout on. I remember coming home and Pops would be in the kitchen. I’d be like, ‘Ah, I was just working out Dad.’ He’d say, ‘Did you run backwards?’
“Pops would give me half the story all the time. It was always trivia. I was trying to think of the answer first, because I didn’t want to sound dumb. ‘Nah, Dad, I didn’t.’ ‘Well, you are a quarterback right? After you take the snap, how are you gonna get back?’ Oooh, OK. So I became one of the illest straight drop back quarterbacks in the game. In the first year after my Pops said that to me, I didn’t get sacked the whole year.”
“Just trying to throw further, run faster, be better was my thing, but things happen for a reason,” he said. “Quarterbacks are 6’7, 280 pounds. I’m glad Eric B. knocked on the door because I’m only 5’8, buck-forty on a good day. “Things happen for a reason. I was in love with football, just like I love music. I really thought I was going to be in the NFL one day, but I wasn’t quite big enough. Eric B. knocked on the door and some better things happened.”
No doubt. Rakim went on to become the gold standard for hip-hop lyricism, a pioneer and iconic influencer of the world’s most popular art form.