Thanks to songs with Bun B and Scarface, publicized notoriety in the local media, and the buzz surrounding his 2022 EP, IllDallas, conscious recording artist Rakim Al-Jabbaar has steadily become one of the metroplex’s artist-to-watch of 2023. On March 20, he released his anticipated third album Big Baby Thanos, inspired by the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe villain, whom Al-Jabbaar believes was merely misunderstood.
“Thanos just wanted to bring balance back to the universe, and I feel like that’s what I want to bring to Dallas hip-hop,” Rakim said in a recent interview.
Across the album’s 11 tracks, Rakim snaps with significant and immensely impactful lyrics tied together by versatile storytelling created by personal situations. He reflects on early ambitions in standout “Elementary Dreams,” metaphorically analyzes the beauty of the female anatomy in “Sunkissed,” and over golden-age hip-hop replicated production, he channels his inner Jay-Z with slick-talking lyricism on must-hear “Reasonable Doubt.”
“I probably listened to Hov more than any other rapper in my life,” he explained. “I probably listened to the Reasonable Doubt album more than any other album too. And I could just relate to the scenario as far as him being in that spot, being as good as he was in 96, 97, but still being considered the underdog. And then you got the death of Biggie. So that creates the void even though you had them, other kings, at the time. You could say you had Wu-Tang, and you could say you had Nas. It’s other niggas, just like the niggas you just named in Dallas. But still was, Biggie’s death left a big void. And he just so happened to be the one to come in at that time.”
While known for his aggression on the mic, he wants the album to snap away previous stereotypes and proves there is more than what meets the ear. “I don’t like that people look at me like that,” he clarified. “So I got to intentionally show them all of me. So hopefully, they can gain a better perspective of who I truly am.”
Upon review, Ruben of Check The Rhyme says: “His catchy, assertive brand of conscious leaning street commentary commands attention. Adding content about relationships, rooted in loyalty and trust, he proves he has range while doubling down on themes like loyalty and being genuine.”
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