Rakim at Cervantes Otherside 9/18/13
Antonio Valenzuela Rakim on stage last night at Cervantes' Otherside in Denver.
RAKIM at CERVANTES OTHERSIDE | 9/18/13
Last night at the Otherside, Rakim stalked the stage like a lion on an African plain, controlling the mic with a swagger that hypnotized the room, which was filled with an audience that hung on his every word. The God MC showcased a presence that left everyone in awe, including local producer Kruza Kid, who said, "I feel like I was just in class." Rakim's ability has been well preserved over the years. "When I'm an old man twenty years from now," he pointed out to the enthralled crowd, strutting across the stage, "I'ma be the same."
The positive energy in the room was palpable after Rakim emerged from backstage to perform "Holy Are You." Then, head pointed to the sky, eyes closed, with the mic lifted to his lips, Rakim paused to soak the moment before launching into many of his classic hits, cuts like, "My Melody," and "I Know You Got Soul."
DJ 33, who held Rakim down on the tables and got the crowd hyped, asked The God MC where his favorite place was in town. Rakim said, "You know I was Downtown, and I was like 'Yo, this looks like Times Square,'" he said as the crowd broke into a frenzy of cheers. "And that's good when I'm a million miles from home, and I feel at home."
Rakim was graceful and humble but also powerful when he interacted with the crowd. He took time to shake hands with everyone in the front row and asked the crowd to join him and "Put one finger up for the people affected by the floods," as he himself bowed his head for a moment in acknowledgment.
The energy in the room skyrocketed when he performed "I Ain't No Joke," and it continued to soar as he rocked, "Don't Sweat the Technique." Observing several New York fitted hats, Rakim said, "I heard Denver is a melting pot right now, New Yorkers, New Jersey and a lot of people out here. But you know Brooklyn is everywhere. Is Brooklyn in the house?" His notion was confirmed by cheers from the crowd, at which point he said, "I'm going to do this for Denver."
During his set, Rakim professed his love for all aspects of hip-hop, calling for cheers for the four elements, saying, "I still write rhymes in graffiti. I breakdance," he said, before adding, "No, just kidding."
Rakim's personality was jovial and gravitational, as he pulled in everyone with songs from all over his collection, like "Move the Crowd," the Dr. Dre-produced, "Addictive," and "The Watcher 2." At the end of his set, every face seemed to be wearing a smile. It was a rare chance to see a legend, and as such the Otherside was packed with fans, including official Nuggets DJ Bedz, who toted his Paid in Full record with him to get signed.