William Griffin (born January 28, 1968), better known as "Rakim", is a legendary New York MC. During the 1980s, Eric B. and Rakim released a number of very influental songs to the hip hop scene. Their most famous is probably "Paid in Full", which has become a hip hop classic. It has been remixed by the British DJ collective Coldcut, sampled by Tupac's song "Hit 'Em Up", and covered by Snoop Dogg during a party scene in the Will Ferrell movie Old School. Another of Eric B. & Rakim's hits from this era is "Microphone Fiend"; which Rage Against the Machine covered many years later.
Albums made during this period, with Eric B:
- Paid in Full (1987)
- Follow the Leader (1988)
- Let the Rhythm Hit'em (1990)
- Don't Sweat the Technique (1992)
In 1992, the duo broke up and Rakim took a five-year-long hiatus from rapping. He returned in 1997 with the album The 18th Letter, which was hugely hyped. In 1999, he released The Master. Soon after, Rakim was signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment record label, for work on an album tentatively titled Oh My God, which was never released. Rakim was dropped from the label in 2003.
On April 27, 2004, Rakim was arrested regarding an outstanding paternity matter from 2001. The rapper said he was unaware of the warrant but agreed to pay $2000 in child support to his 14 year old son. He was released the next day but due to the warrant, that night's performance in Manhattan concert hall had to be canceled much to the chagrin of his fans.