Rakim, the god MC himself, has been at this rap game for over three decades now, cementing a discography as solid as the concrete streets of his New York birthplace. His serpentine flow laid the very groundwork upon which the house of hip-hop is built. His collaborations, though, hold their own special allure, often showcasing his unapologetic lyrical genius alongside other titans of the genre.

Among the mix, you’ve got tracks like “We’ll Never Stop” where Rakim and Connie McKendrick serve up a blend of razor sharp rhymes and smooth melodies. Or “It’s a Must” featuring Rahzel, a track that demonstrates Rakim’s command of storytelling over hard-hitting beats. “Walk These Streets” with Maino and Tracey Horton, on the other hand, is emblematic of Rakim’s ability to paint vivid pictures of street life with a sense of urgency and raw emotion. Not to forget his work with the likes of styles-legend, Styles P, the indomitable Jadakiss, and prolific producer, Adrian Younge, on tracks like “Euphoria”, “Finest Ones” and “King’s Paradise” respectively.

And it doesn’t end there. Imagine Rakim spitting bars over a Danny Saber beat on the track “Danny Phantom”, or teaming up with the legendary Buck Wild for the remix of “Guess Who’s Back”. Each collaboration is a testament to Rakim’s ability to hold his own amongst varied and diverse musical talents, while still staying true to his authentic, gritty hip-hop roots.

Rakim has collaborated with the following artists over the years:

  • Maino
  • Tracey Horton
  • Danny Saber
  • Jadakiss
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Cocoa Chanelle
  • Styles P
  • Buck Wild
  • BOYKLS
  • Rahzel
  • Nneka Morton
  • Connie McKendrick
  • Adrian Younge
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad
  • Clark Kent

So let’s get into the songs list. From “Walk These Streets” to “Finest Ones”, here are the best Rakim collaborations ranked.

10
Walk These Streets

The raw and gritty narrative is driven by the need to survive and thrive despite the systemic hurdles in place. The God MC doesn’t hold back while spotlighting the hustler’s mentality – the continual striving for financial success is portrayed as being akin to walking with a metaphorical gun in hand, always ready for the unexpected. The lyrics are a testament to a world where hate is an inherent human trait, and survival goes hand in hand with proactivity. Rakim is positioned as the man with the master plan. From being involved in the city’s drug trade, he transcends into making music, but that undercurrent of hustle remains ubiquitous. Ultimately, the song delivers a candid portrayal of the street grind, with Rakim’s rich lyricism challenging listeners to comprehend the intricate dynamics of street life.

9
Take The Train

As bizarre as this one is on this list, it was when Rakim was inspired by the zany exploits of the lovable Rugrats and embeds himself into the narrative, offering a sonic simulation of a high-speed train ride. Rakim’s flow, typically associated with profound urban realism, adapts brilliantly to the reel of the animated Rugrats adventure, keeping the kids on their toes with high-energy rhymes. The lyrics mirror the narratives of the film, evoking a sense of playfulness and camaraderie in their delivery. Rakim, revered for his magnetic wordplay, proves his versatility in the light-hearted bop, spinning a fast-paced tale of highjinks and adventures on a train, underscored by the overarching theme of team spirit and unity.

8
Euphoria

Our man is feeling that ‘Euphoria’, a natural high from the art form he helped shape. Rakim’s sharply honed penmanship contrasts life on the streets with the transcendent power of his craft. He conjures vivid images of New York City, the birthplace of hip-hop, and the grit and hustle that inspired his flow. Rakim acknowledges the struggle, the strife, and the triumph of the game, illustrating how his life would’ve taken a grim turn if it weren’t for the rhymes. The lyrics reveal an introspective Rakim showcasing gratitude for his career, acknowledging the struggles that come with it. Our rap godfather shows us that ‘Euphoria’ ain’t just about bliss, it’s about resilience, it’s about pushing on, and it’s about preserving the legacy of hip-hop.

7
Guess Who’s Back

Remixed by Buckwild, the beat brings a persistent energy that complements the dynamism of Rakim’s flow. Rakim explores themes of his unmistakable return to the rap game, reasserting his lingering presence in the industry. He infuses sass and jazz references, signifying his unique blend of musical influences, while proclaiming his ambition for his music to be globally renowned.

This track underscores Rakim’s introspection as he philosophizes about life. Telling tales of his personal evolution, he weaves intricate narratives laced with complex metaphors. At the same time, the lyrics show Rakim’s desire to stimulate minds, as he delves into intellectual analogies and employs thought-provoking, sometimes cryptic, wordplay. Captivating listeners with vivid storytelling and engaging rhymes, Rakim creates a musical journey that resonates, leaving the listener craving for more of his lyrical genius.

6
Danny Phantom

The song’s enigmatic vibe blends with the Rakim’s razor-sharp flow, creating a heady mix of raw street imagery and introspective lyricism. The words have a bit of everything; the adrenaline of the hustle, the thrill of the chase, and the relentless pursuit of success. This track offers a compelling look into Rakim’s psyche, peeling back layers of complexity to reveal an artist wrestling with his place in the world, drawing parallels between his own life and that of the fictional ghost-fighting character Danny Phantom. Overall, it’s a confident display of lyrical ability, layered with meaningful, coded hip-hop language, and riddled with enough ambiguity to keep listeners dissecting for days. The song solidifies Rakim’s legacy in the pantheon of hip-hop masters, revealing an artist hungry for success but wary of its pitfalls.

5
It’s A Must

The track revolves around Rakim’s assertion that he is obliged to “bust any mic” handed to him, a reflection of his lifelong commitment to hip hop and creating hard-hitting, impactful rhymes – a craft he insists, “runs in the family.”

The lyrics journey through Rakim’s experiences in the music industry, showcasing his global appeal and steadfast endurance. From performing internationally to navigating industry angst, Rakim presents himself as a steadfast figure in the rap game. He compares his verbal artistry to natural disasters, suggesting his words hold a powerful, transformative force.

Ultimately, “It’s A Must” is a testament to Rakim’s prowess and longevity in the hip-hop world. It’s a bold declaration of an MC’s love for his craft and a powerful assertion of his influential stance in the rap frontier.

4
I’ll Be There

The God MC delves deep, paving a vulnerable path through the intricate junctions of love and commitment. The narrative, laid out in three convincing verses, navigates the rapper’s struggle of maintaining a strong connection with his lady while being entangled in the hustle of the streets. Rakim’s candid confessions of taking his partner for granted and leading a tumultuous lifestyle yoke us into his world of inner turmoil. Yet, his sincere commitment to his lady shines through. Rakim assures her that, amidst the chaos and the street grind, his loyalty for her remains unshaken. This track showcases Rakim’s ability to juggle hard-hitting bars with a softer, introspective approach, offering an intimate look into his personal struggles and unwavering devotion.

3
We’ll Never Stop

Rakim, known for his profound lyricism, uses his signature introspective narrative to deliver a strong message about never giving up, regardless of the challenges and obstacles. From chasing the dreams to grinding on the streets, the song encapsulates the relentless drive of people who are constantly hustling for a better life.

The lyrics beautifully portray the grit and passion that fuel the ambitions of those in the community. Rakim’s verses flow with the rhythm, painting vivid images of urban scenes filled with aspirational youths, displaying their street intelligence and resourcefulness. The track concludes with a unifying assertion, emphasizing that whether it’s about pursuing personal aspirations or bringing positive change in the community, the hustle will never stop.

2
King’s Paradise

This track hits right at the core of hip-hop, cascading through the legacy of Harlem, nodding to the Renaissance, and shining a spotlight on a superhero story. The narrative revolves around the trials and tribulations of Luke Cage, a street-level superhero who’s strength is derived from adversity, not unlike the evolution of hip-hop itself. Rakim weaves a vivid portrayal of the fight for honor amidst a city riddled with crime, hinting at the realities of the Harlem streets. In a broader sense, the track lays bare the price of success in a perilous context, where everything, even survival, comes at a cost. Through the clever wordplay and rhythmic verses, Rakim explores the complexities of sacrifice, battle, and redemption, all wrapped up in the heart of a ‘King’s Paradise’.

1
Finest Ones

The joint is like a tribute to the ladies, a cross-section of Rakim’s world where he cherishes the aesthetic and inner beauty of women, comparing them to centerfolds. The track is imbued with Rakim’s undeniable lyricism, where he uses clever wordplay and complex metaphors to portray a level of sophistication in his approach towards women. He speaks about their ability to shake things up, their provocative nature, and their individuality, all in his distinctive, charismatic style. The song explores different themes central to femininity, ranging from voluptuousness and shyness, to boldness and lavishness. It’s a celebration of women across different cities, from New York to Philly, from L.A. to Houston, further emphasizing Rakim’s widespread appreciation.