HarperCollins Speakers Bureau


Hip-Hop Icon and Lyrical Genius


  • Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity from the Lyrical Genius
  • Hip-Hop History
  • The Entertainment Industry
  • Spirituality & Music


New York
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Rakim is an American rapper, widely regarded as one of the most influential and most skilled MCs of all time. Since his debut in 1987, he has released eight critically acclaimed albums including Paid in Full – the landmark recording with his partner Eric B. that MTV and many others have named "the greatest hip-hop album of all time." Rakim’s inimitable style has drawn comparisons to the musicianship of jazz icon Thelonious Monk and he is often cited as lyrical and cultural role model by a wide range of top-selling rappers including Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dog. A diverse list of artists ranging from Bob Marley to Linkin Park and brands including Disney, Coca Cola, Nike and LVMH have all sought collaboration with the artist they call “The God MC”. In his book Sweat the Technique: Revelations on creativity from the Lyrical Genius (Amistad), the cultural icon details his approach to writing and executing a Hip Hop style and lyrical flow that single handedly revolutionized the most widely consumed musical genre in the world.

Part memoir, part writing guide Sweat the Technique reimagines the writing handbook in this memoir and guide that incorporates the soulful genius, confidence, and creativity of a master artist. Filled with valuable lessons for every writer, Sweat the Technique reveals the heart and mind of an artist and his love for great storytelling, and always, the words.

Rakim is the recipient of countless awards and accolades including the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, The Source 360 Living Legend Award, BETs Icon Award and has been inducted into the LI Music Hall of Fame and nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Praise for Rakim:

“Hip-Hops Greatest All Time Lyricist”
--The Source Magazine

“The #1 Hip-Hop Album of All Time”

“The ICON Award for Lifetime Achievement”

“Visionary Hip-Hop Honor”

‘The Top 5 EmCees of All Time”
--Rolling Stone Magazine

“The John Coltrane of Rap”
– Dr. Cornell West

Praise for Sweat the Technique:

“Reflections on a life of artistic commitment during hop-hop’s golden age. . . insightful.”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Sweat the Technique is the hip-hop version of Stephen King’s On Writing.”

“Reading Sweat the Technique is like listening to a classic Rakim track with the same codification, spirituality, and simple-complexity that will make the reader press rewind and start at page one several times over.”
--East Bay Express

"Rakim and music journalist Bakari Kitwana offer a road map guiding readers to the source of his inspiration and the reason behind his career longevity: his unmatched skills on the mic. . . Their work reflects hip-hop's role as an innovative conduit of Black experiences."
--Literary Hub

“[Sweat the Technique] joins the best of rap history and criticism and has the potential to inspire a new age of rap lyricism.”