Austin Music Minute

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June 28, 2022

Rakim and GZA at Empire Garage

By: Laurie Gallardo

Whittle it down to the basics, and here are the facts: Rakim stands out as a transformative figure in hip-hop, essentially known for expanding MC techniques and embracing complexity within rap lyrics, phrasing, and styles. Many proclaim Rakim as an innovator of “the flow” in rap, or it’s natural rhythms/cadence. Though today’s Austin Music Minute features “Guess Who’s Back” from The 18th Letter, several fans regard Paid In Full as Rakim’s number one work, if not one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.

Now direct your attention to the mastery of an equally transformative, extraordinary artist fearlessly embracing the wealth of knowledge. GZA, a founding member of Wu-Tang Clan and often cited as the group’s patriarchal leader – being one of its first members, is known for taking rap to another level through his deeply-rooted interests in philosophy studies and science. The complexity of his solo recordings stems from favoring a more cerebral, sometimes abstract lyricism over traditional rap arrangements or storytelling. Liquid Swords is often hailed as one of GZA’s best LP’s.

Now, just imagine these two OG’s co-headlining a show… Actually, this is really happening. Rakim and GZA take over the stage tonight, Tuesday June 28, at Empire Garage on E. 7th. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the line-up is ridiculously over-the-top badass: Tone Royal, Harry Edohoukwa, and Aux Cutter. Don’t miss a single performance.


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