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Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity from the Lyrical Genius

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The musician and Hip Hop legend--hailed as "the greatest MC of all time" and compared to Thelonious Monk--reimagines the writing handbook in this memoir and guide that incorporates the soulful genius, confidence, and creativity of a master artist.

When he exploded on the music scene, musical genius Rakim was hailed for his brilliant artistic style, adding layers
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Amistad
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Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a ride !!!! I Felt like ra had Picked me up in his late 80's Benz and took me back to the very beginning . Everything from his young days in wyandanch to his recording his first official single in marley marl studio ( which was in the same ny projects in queens that mc shan , roxanne shante and others recorded in) I Loved to Read about Ra recounting these huge moments in his career. His take on islam and divine mathematics was also super interesting. Excellent read . Thanks rakim
Book Reviews By Tara
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book explains it all. In Sweat The Technique Rakim gives a very detailed, inspiring and thought provoking look into his journey as the greatest lyricist EVER...Not the greatest lyricist today...or the greatest lyricist over the last decade...but the GREATEST LYRICIST OF ALL TIME!

Rakim delivers this powerful book with the same intellectual storytelling skills that are displayed in his lyrics. With his signature laid back vibe, he blesses us with some very insightful moments, al
Brigham J.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best way I can describe this book is an old man on his rocking chair and the grandson asking him "how was it like in your day to become a rapper?" To which he responds with a blunt in his mouth "well grandson, let me tell ya what the Golden era was like!".

Truly this book has a lot of great insight for a genre I love dearly. This is probably the 2nd best book I've read all year (2019) and truly I loved every second of it. Had a tear roll down my eye on the last page for not just w
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
O. M. G. I'm excited for this. Rakim is legend.
Dustin Griffin
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Even at a little over 200 pages, he packs a lot in. Rakim’s musical history, autobiography, writing and rhyming technique. His thoughts on life, love and spirituality. And the backstories to things fans of his have wanted to know. Like why the Dr. Dre album fell apart and the reason for his breakup with Eric B. All that’s here. So much knowledge and education packed in. Can’t wait to read it again. Love live the God MC!
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book who is a true Hip Hop Fan, loves memoirs, and for creative people. What I love about this about this book is that its' written by someone who is a Pioneer and legendary Rapper who is well respected in the genre and globally known.

If you are looking for gossip, this isn't the book for you. The writing from Rakim gives you a view of growing up in Long Island, how R&B Legend Ruth Brown had helped inspired him to become one of the GOAT's (Greatest of All Time) MCs w
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not a memoir, so don't pick it up thinking you'll get all the dirt from tours with Run-DMC and The Beastie Boys.

This is a book on the art and serious craft of hip-hop, according to The Greatest MC of All Time. GOAT gets thrown around so often now as to render it a bit of a joke, but Rakim ain't no joke. He is That Dude, who earned every superlative laid on him over the decades. If anyone ever tries to say "Yeah, but" in any context regarding Rakim, *you* know they don't know
Carla Cherry
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real page-turner. Rakim takes us through the experiences with his family, spirituality, and the industry that made him the man and innovative master lyricist that he is today. So glad I bought this book, got to shake his hand, and have him personally autograph my copy.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great. I wish it were longer.
Andrea Roach
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
With Sweat the Technique, Rakim shows what more can be done with the Memoir form. True to his hip hip roots and the creativity that has earned him the reverence of fans who grew up right along with him in the culture, he blends a memoir, origins story with art and philosophical reflection. The language is simple and straightforward. It really made me nostalgic for the golden age of rap and the community of hip hop that once encapsulated and encouraged my generation's truth. (Peace!)
Mark Mulvey
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
“Once I owned being an artist, I started to focus on ways to become better. After I did that, everything I took for granted began to take on a new significance: life, a beautiful day, a day on the water, a view from the top of a building, a kind word from someone, something I didn’t believe I could do that I finally accomplished. Suddenly a blade of grass growing out of the ground was not so boring. Suddenly a bee pollinating a flower became more interesting. Babies being born. Existence. Studyi ...more
Andrew Brockelman
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Unbelievable MC, but highly disappointing when it comes to theology and/or philosophy departments. His entire belief system starts with a personal opinion and then he takes pieces of different belief systems and tries to manipulate them to fit his opinion. He had a elementary understanding of several belief systems or faiths and mistakenly thinks he's "mastered" that faith by reading half of the texts or dislocated, miscellaneous reading half a book and then saying you know all a ...more
Reading in Black & White
This was such a fun book to read. I use the word fun because it felt as if I was there in every studio session, while he was writing his rhymes, and just in everyday situations. The main takeaway was conveyed early in the book - we should always believe in ourselves and our vision. There will come a time, no matter our profession, when someone with more experience will attempt to steer us in another direction but we know the right path in our gut. Follow your gut! Rakim did and that is why he is ...more
Jason Weber
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I worked in a record store in 1988, and bought “Follow the Leader” on cassette!
To me Rakim is, was, and always has been The GOAT!
I loved this book, and recommend it to any rap, hip hop, or music fans.
I hate to sound like the “old guy” (I’m 46) but Rakim has more talent in his big toe than most “rappers” (I use that term loosely) today!
Read this book, then go listen to “Paid in Full”, “Microphone Fiend”, and “Know the Ledge”.
Christopher Pierznik
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is like Stephen King's On Writing for the hip-hop culture. I was fortunate enough to be asked to review this book, which you can read over at my website. 4.5 out of 5
Christopher Coleman
Inspiring with nuggets of wisdom and history about hip hop’s golden age. Rakim has always been in another Dimension before his time. Every young inspiring rapper should read this book and use it as an instruction Manual. It makes me proud to see the generals of rap share insight and valuable gems with the next generation. It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at!
Jacqui N
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended if you want to understand the songwriting process, or even the creative process in general. Rakim gets right into the heart of the matter, the meat of things.
One of the most genuinely moving books I have read in a long time. I feel this book is destined for the 'modern classics' category.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
As a fan of Rakim's music, I was looking forward to this "memoir." I find his insights and craft deeply refreshing. His views on creativity and motivation are especially useful.

If you're a fan of hip hop, you'll know Rakim. And you'll like this short read.

Worth the read.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I might be going out on a limb here, but I don't think any other rap memoir will teach you more about math and science than this one. Rakim is that dude.
Eric R. Coleman
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Supreme insight into the life and rhymes of the God Emcee, Rakim Allah. It's best in AudioBook.
Brandon Donnell
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Worth the read for any artist looking to be better at there craft. Well written and gives a wonderful feeling that there is so much more to come from this universal artist.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
“With wisdom which means wise words being spoken.“- My Melody

Part memoir, part de-construction of the genius behind the creative process that produced many of the greatest rap songs of the late eighties and early nineties. Rakim, The God MC, grants us entry into his inner sanctum where he reveals his methodology that is founded on five pillars of creativity: Purpose, Inspiration, Spirituality, Consciousness and Energy. Nobody beats the R when it comes to lyrical content and the proof is evide
Rick Hammond
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a Rakim fan for a long time. I wish he would have spent more time on his life after Eric B. & him became famous, but overall it was really good.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So well written. Loved that Rakim Allah narrated the book. Definitely touched on the era of the 80s and 90s, my generation. Gives a whole different meaning to his lyrics. Awesome read!!!
Colin Finan
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Rakim reigns as one of hip-hop’s most transformative artists. Along with his partner Eric B., he recorded 1987’s Paid in Full, the landmark recording that MTV named "the greatest hip-hop album of all time." Rakim’s inimitable style lyrics, which has drawn comparisons to jazz icon Thelonious Monk, have been cited as an influence on a wide range of top-selling musicians including Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, ...more