Released: 1987

Features: Marley Marl

Ayo, turn the volume up in your deck and get ready for a lyrical masterclass, ’cause what Rakim and Marley Marl cook up in “My Melody” ain’t nothing short of hip-hop royalty schooling the new jacks on the block. This joint is what happens when you mix Rakim’s smooth yet complex flow with Marley Marl’s production prowess. The God MC hits the booth to educate and elevate, spittin’ bars that thread the needle between science, art, and street savvy.

The track opens up with Rakim commanding the listener to pay attention—’Turn up the bass, check out my melody, hand out a cigar’—he’s about to drop knowledge, and it ain’t for the faint-hearted. He proudly spells out his name, not to be listed amongst the average, but to highlight his distinctiveness. The Wizard of Wordplay makes it clear from the jump: he’s got the formula, cooking up rhymes with precision like a scientist. Rakim’s “melody” isn’t just a tune, it’s encoded wisdom, an intricate lyrical lattice, always ready to blow the listener’s mind like a too-tight bassline.

He’s a microphone fiend, a junkie for the beat, and once Rakim’s got hold of the mic, the transformation is immediate—an explosion of power that remains calm in the eye of the storm. The God MC warns other emcees to step back or be broken by his finesse. This is a duel of words where the weak-hearted can’t contend; Rakim stands alone, absorbing energy like the sun itself. He’s the heart of the streets—whether he’s dropping dimes on the court or tagging up the block, his name rings out. His declaration, swapping letters in his name to illustrate his preeminence, is pure Rakim: lyrical dexterity with a confident edge.

Verse after verse, Rakim asserts his dominance. He’s not just any rapper; he’s an editor, an arranger—a craftsman with his material, meticulous with his metaphors. And when he delivers, it’s with a sage’s wisdom, a flow so potent that mics catch fire. Before the heat even cools, he’s already setting up the next sucker MC; crafting verses like fine wine, with a sharpness to cut through the noise.

‘My Melody’ is braggadocio with a purpose—Rakim teaches while he boasts, setting the bar high for emcees coming up. He doesn’t just rhyme; he conjures poetry in motion, insisting that his contemporaries step their game up or step off. He dismantles lines of would-be competitors with ease, never breaking a sweat, keeping it smooth like jazz but hard like street knowledge.

And let’s not forget: Eric B and Marley Marl are intrinsic to the symphony. Marl’s got the synthesizer on lock, and when Eric B scratches, it’s not just to make the track hot; it’s another degree of communication. Rakim acknowledges the team effort in slaying beats, showing you can’t ascend to the lyrical Olympus solo.

As the track fades out, Rakim’s repetitive insistence on checking out his melody is both a command and a victory lap. He’s secure, ensconced in hip-hop’s pantheon and challenging anyone to dispute it. This track is an artifact, a testament to the blend of raw skill and honed craft that defines not just a dope emcee, but a legend. In ‘My Melody’, Rakim doesn’t just spit bars; he ushers in the realms of possibility for hip-hop as an art form, and Marley Marl’s production underscores that legacy with every beat.