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Meaning of ‘Guess Who’s Back’ by ‘Rakim’ feat. Jermaine Dupri

Released: 1997

Features: Jermaine Dupri

“Guess Who’s Back – So So Def Remix” by Rakim, featuring Jermaine Dupri, is a powerful assertion of Rakim’s legendary status in the hip-hop game. With his intricate rhymes and deep-seated wisdom, Rakim demonstrates his mastery of the hip-hop craft, reminding the listener of his long-standing influence on the genre and his continued drive to innovate.

The track kicks off with Rakim announcing his return “It’s the return of the Wild Style fashionist/ Smashin’ hits make it hard to adapt to this.” The “Wild Style” he refers to is often seen as the creative spirit of the hip-hop culture, harking back to the 1982 graffiti-documentary of the same name, which showcased the early days of hip-hop. The term “Fashionist” shows Rakim’s assertion of his innovative and trendsetting persona in the industry.

Throughout the track, Rakim portrays his prowess in his craft: “I knew I’d be forced to rock/ Dance floors just stop, the spot’s scorchin’ hot.” His confident and assertive bar delivery emphasizes the impact of his music. Rakim’s reference to opening seminars and smoking cigars indicates his status as a scholar and dignitary in the hip-hop culture.

He then drops science, highlighting his lyrical and intellectual prowess: “Hot science is smokin’ altitudes cause chokin’/ Product is hypnotic you’re soakin’ and still smokin’.” This refers to the depth and elevation of his rhymes causing listeners to “choke” or being left in awe.

His rhymes are so deep that he compares them to seances which “find spirits” and mentions his mind being filled with “three 7s”, a number often linked to divine perfection in biblical numerology. He also challenges philosophers, anthropologists, astrologers, and scholars to decipher his wisdom and revelations.

Rakim then pays homage to his heritage by stating: “When I die go bury me and my notebook in Cairo”, a city often associated with ancient knowledge, wisdom, and civilization. The line reinforces his status as a purveyor of profound knowledge and signal his alignment with the forefathers of wisdom and knowledge.

The chorus “I control the crowd, you know I hold it down/ When it drop you know it’s jiggy when you hear the sound” underscores Rakim’s ability to captivate audiences with his music, affirming his control over the crowd and his continued relevance in the hip-hop scene.

This track re-establishes Rakim’s god-emcee status, with a demonstration of his superior lyricism, deep wisdom, and enduring influence on the genre. The “Guess Who’s Back – So So Def Remix” isn’t just a comeback, it’s a reminder of Rakim’s indomitable presence in the universe of hip-hop.

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