Ask any serious emcee who their influences are, and without a doubt, Rakim Allah will be high on the list. An intelligent and incredibly skilled microphone fiend, there are very few artists who have had the impact and influence as The R. The Queens native exploded on the scene in 1986 with the release of one of hip-hop's all-time classic singles, "Eric B. Is President." His baritone, wisdom-filled verses were the perfect accompaniment to Eric B's airtight drum programming and perfectly executed cuts. Rakim's nonstop flows, conceptual lyrics and deadly serious delivery revolutionized the art of emceeing. Their legendary union produced four solid albums and several timeless singles. After a five-year hiatus, he returned with his first solo album The R in 1997, followed by The Master in '99. One of the most important and esteemed emcees to ever grip a mic, Rakim will forever be credited for taking hip-hop lyricism to a higher level.