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Hip-hop legend Rakim to discuss his life, craft at GRCC Diversity Lecture Series

March 29, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Famously known by the moniker the “God MC,” Rakim, will discuss his critically acclaimed book, “Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity from the Lyrical Genius” as part of Grand Rapids Community College’s Diversity Lecture Series.

The free virtual event is planned for 6:15 p.m. on April 6. The event is open to the community, and registration is available at

The New York native is one half of the golden era of hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential and most skilled MCs. The duo’s 1987 release “Paid in Full” was listed in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Albums of All Time.

Part memoir, part writing guide, the book offers insight into how Rakim thinks about words, music, writing, and rhyming as it teaches writers of all levels how to hone their craft. It is also a glimpse into Rakim’s private life, full of entertaining personal stories that celebrate the influences that shaped his development.

“The Diversity Lecture Series provides a broad platform to unpack current events,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “There is a concept in hip hop culture known as ‘freestyling,’ which is the ability to improvise a rhyme (rap), dance, or DJ set. For the last year, most of us had to pivot and improvise (or freestyle) our way through day-to-day interactions to make it work. Hearing from an artist who is the pantheon of rap lyricism and ad-lib artistic expression is the perfect crescendo to the lecture series.”

The discussion moderator is Bakari Kitwana, co-author of the book and 2020 Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

The evening will also include guest performances by PJ DA DJ and the Collec7ive, a Grand Rapids hip hop group powered by community partner, MuseGR.

The Diversity Lecture Series provides GRCC stakeholders and community members with tangible access to society’s most prolific scholars, thought-leaders, activists, and innovative artists.

Overseen by the college’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the series aims to connect members of the community with people that hold a compelling interest in shaping a culture of inclusion and social justice.

For more than 20 years, the diversity lecture series has helped attendees consider different perspectives through cultural engagement, critical thought, and civil discourse.

GRCC offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.



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