Eric B. & Rakim’s 1987 masterpiece, Paid In Full, was one of the first truly progressive hip-hop albums, defining the domain of dense samples, dizzying production, and intricate quest raps. The duo parted ways in the early ’90s, but eminently innovative MC Rakim eventually re-established himself as a contender with both soul and substance—a “rapper’s rapper” whose command of the internal rhyme and casually allusive flow continues to be worshipped by acolytes like the Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z. These days, Rakim is one thing and one thing only: a legend. He appears here ahead of the long, long awaited release—almost 10 years—of his fourth solo album, The Seventh Seal, finally due in November.