Rakim, who's usually tight-lipped when he's not behind the mic, had many words to share when accepting the I Am Hip Hop Icon award at Tuesday night's (Oct. 9) BET Hip Hop Awards. During his acceptance speech, the "I Ain't No Joke" rapper offered thanks and gave kudos.

God and his parents were first on his list of thank yous, in addition to his wife and kids. "It's hard in the business when your family got to share you with the world," said the MC, whose storied career dates back to 1986.

He also touched on DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaatta's contributions to hip-hop and famed business manager Bert Padell for keeping him "focused."

While the veteran rhymer has many albums under his belt as both a solo act and as a hip-hop duo with Eric B. & Rakim, he still looks to the youth for inspiration. "To all the artists keeping the torch lit, I'm a fan, man," he admitted. "It's y'all that I watch now and put the fuel back in me to do what I wanna do. So keep doing what y'all doing."

The Long Island, N.Y., native looked out into the audience and saw old friends, including Kool DJ Red Alert, who Ra noted was his "big brother." Before leaving the stage, he gave some lasting words for those following their dreams as an artist. "Represent from the heart and don't let nobody stop it," Rakim stated.


Watch Rakim Accept the I Am Hip Hop Icon Award



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