William Michael Griffin, Jr. AKA Rakim


Educational Background and Location

Wyandanch High SchoolWyandanch, NY

Brief Personal Bio

Rakim had a familial musical background as his aunt was the R&B singer Ruth Brown and his mother sang jazz and opera. At an early age he showed talent for music, by playing baritone sax for the Wyandanch High School band. He also joined a number of fledgling rap groups at school, where people praised his rhyming skills.

These are a Few of Their Favorite Things

  • Favorite rap track--'The Message’ by Melle Mel

  • Favorite song (he made)--"The Punisher”

Common Literary Elements/Structure/Themes in their Work

In Rakim's lyrics he uses shifting groups of two and three syllables and "he clusters on the 5th and 13th columns are particularly interesting, because this these correspond to the standard back-beat that pretty much all pop, rock, and rap songs are based on... as long as Rakim keeps hitting these hard with some kind of regularity, the rest of the rhythmic variety will sort of come out in the wash: it’ll sound hardcore, but not alienating".

Link to Matching PP Guides/Glossary Terms






What does it mean if you were matched to this artist? Why is it important?

When matched to Rakim, you are matched to an artist who includes many of the similar techinques you put in your piece. For example, your piece may include the alternation of different syllables combined with a certain system of rhyme and rhythm. This may be an element of your poem (or main element). It is important to recognize the similarity you have to this artist because it helps you understand more of the style of your literary work. In this instance, your work would most likely contain techniques that are similar to Rakim's and recognizing this could help to further develop your style and approach at writing poems.

Literary Value

Rakim uses shifting groups of two and three syllables in his music (which is often used by many other artists but him in a more unique way).

List of Albums / Artist Spotify Link

The 18th Letter, The Master, The Seventh Seal


Social Handles (Links)

twitter: @EricBandRakim