By Brendan Burke
Rapper turned author Rakim will discuss his critically acclaimed book, “Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity from the Lyrical Genius” as part of Grand Rapids Community College’s Diversity Lecture Series.
The free virtual event is planned for 6:15 p.m. on April 6.
The book offers insight into Rakim’s process, shining a light on how he thinks about words, music, writing, and rhyming to teach writers of all levels how to hone their skills. It also provides a glimpse into Rakim’s private life.
“The Diversity Lecture Series provides a broad platform to unpack current events,” stated B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer in a press release. “There is a concept in hip hop culture known as ‘freestyling,’ which is the ability to improvise a rhyme (rap), dance, or DJ set. For the last year, most of us had to pivot and improvise (or freestyle) our way through day-to-day interactions to make it work. Hearing from an artist who is the pantheon of rap lyricism and ad-lib artistic expression is the perfect crescendo to the lecture series.”
The event will feature guest performances from local community groups, PJ DA DJ and the Collec7ive, a mini-documentary about Rakim’s contributions to Hip Hop culture and influence on the GR hip-hop community, and an engaged discussion about his memoir.
The discussion will be moderated by Bakari Kitwana, who co-authored the book, and recipient of the 2020 Nasir Jones Hip-hop Fellowship, named in honor of another legendary rapper, Nas, from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
The event is open to the community, and registration is available at tinyurl.com/rsvp-Rakim.