After months, if not years of Internet speculation and rumor, the man many call The God MC, Rakim Allah released his long awaited new album The Seventh Seal on November 17, 2009. Guest artists include Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Maino, Tracey Horton, IQ, Styles P, and others, including Destiny Griffin, Rakim’s own daughter. The artist’s Ra Records shares the imprint in a joint venture with Tuscan Villa and SMC Recordings and is distributed through Fontana/Universal Music Group. Since its release, the album’s lead single “Holy Are You” has won praise from critics and fans alike. USA Today states, “The God MC previews his long-awaitedThe Seventh Seal with a lyrically adept reminder of how he earned the name,” with Billboard proclaiming “Rakim is in top form, richly merging self-mythologizing reflections on his legacy with religious imagery.”
His first full album of new material in almost a decade, The Seventh Seal is Rakim’s contemporary observation of the Hip-Hop culture he helped define. While staying loyal to his New York roots, Rakim has created a body of work that encompasses the very best of regional, underground and mainstream styles that are reformed and delivered through his intricate lyricism and the seemingly effortless flow for which he is revered. He has enlisted a slew of production talent including Needlz, Nottz, Jake One, Nick Wiz, Ty Fiffe and more on the album’s well-rounded tracks.
The artist states, “The Seventh Seal is my own revelation…my way of taking the best of what Hip-Hop has to offer, what we as a culture and a community have to offer, putting my stamp on it and leading us forward while constantly respecting what we’ve already accomplished. When you’ve been blessed with a career like mine, you develop a deep relationship with the music, and that love is recognized by the true heads that share it with you. You’ll see us keep building as we break through each Seal…showing the best of what I can do in many forms, bringing the energy and having fun, but first I’m laying that foundation and give my longtime fans the conscious fire they expect.”
Experiencing a surge in digital sales, The Seventh Seal opened on the iTunes Hot Rap Albums chart at the #2 position above such noteworthy releases from Jay-Z and Eminem. Currently, iTunes is the number one retailer for this project with digital sales making up an astounding 28 percent of overall sales and anticipated to increase over the coming weeks as Rakim prepares to launch the second leg of his national tour. “We identified early on that digital retail, mainly iTunes, would be the leader on this project and with them, devised a great campaign that truly covered the gamut of Rakim’s fans,” said co-founder Will Bronson. “The Seventh Seal marks the second album we’ve released where iTunes was our #1 retailer.”
Rakim’s legacy as one of “The Greatest Rappers of All Time,” according to several sources, has ensured the success of The Seventh Seal. A strong sales history and iconic status among rap aficionados and critics alike propelled Rakim back to the top despite a near decade-long absence. “Rakim proves that a good brand is always valuable,” says CEO Ralph Tashjian. “He can still relate to his fans while creating new ones, securing his legacy for years to come. We are confident we made the best choice in partnering with Rakim and look forward to a successful future together.”