Select Page


The rapper and hip-hop pioneer-hailed as “the greatest MC of all time” and compared to Thelonious Monk-reimagines the handbook of writing in this autobiography and guide which combines a master artist’s soulful intellect, confidence, and imagination.

Rakim was hailed for his genius artistic style when he burst on the music scene, adding layers, nuance, scope, musicality, and soul to rap. Rakim has changed the way MCs rhyme more than anyone else. His words, calm on the mic, merge in a whirlwind of sound, using complex patterns based on multisyllabic rhythms and inner rhythms. Rakim could tell a story about a down-to-his-luck man looking for a job and turning it into an epic tale and a rhyme that is unforgettable. Not only is he a great songwriter-he is a great modern writer. 

Part memoir, part writing guide, Sweat the Technique provides insight into how Rakim thinks about words, music, writing and rhyming as he teaches writers of all levels how to fine-tune their skills. It is also a rare glimpse into Rakim’s private life, packed with humorous personal stories from his childhood on Long Island growing up in a home and family filled with musicians at New York Clubs and Los Angeles studios during his rise to the top of popular music. Rakim explores the influences that influenced his growth, including John Coltrane’s jazz music and street spirituality, and shares stories that highlight, among others, celebrities including LL Cool J and Dr. Dre.

Sweat the Technique, packed with valuable lessons for each author, shows an artist’s heart and mind and passion for great storytelling and, always, language.