Nas Pays Tribute to Rakim at the First Hip-Hop Grandmaster Awards

65th GRAMMY Awards - Show
65th GRAMMY Awards - Show / Kevin Winter/GettyImages

The inaugural Hip-Hop Grandmaster Awards, held in Las Vegas, honoured two of the most influential MCs in the history of rap: Rakim and Scarface. The event, organized by the Paid in Full Foundation, aimed to recognize and support the original artists who never received the recognition they deserved for their contributions to hip-hop culture.

Among the attendees and performers were Nas, Steve Stoute, Fab 5 Freddy, Quincy Jones III, and DJ Premier, who also produced the remix of the song "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" featuring Kanye West, KRS-One, Nas, and Rakim.

Nas, who has often cited Rakim as his idol and inspiration, presented the award to the God MC and expressed his gratitude and admiration for him.

I'm forever in debt to you, Rakim. You are the reason why I rap. You are the reason why hip-hop is what it is today. You are the master of the craft, the lyricist of the century, the greatest of all time," Nas said"

Nas also performed his song "U.B.R. (Unauthorized Biography of Rakim)", which he released in 2004 as a tribute to Rakim's life and career. The song, however, did not please Rakim, who felt that Nas did not contact him or ask for his permission before revealing his personal information. Nas acknowledged the controversy and apologized to Rakim, saying that he meant no disrespect and that he only wanted to honour him

Rakim, who accepted the award with grace and humility, thanked Nas and the other artists who showed him love and respect. He also thanked the fans and the hip-hop community for supporting him and his music. He said that he was proud to be part of the culture and that he hoped to inspire the next generation of rappers

Scarface, who received the award from his fellow Geto Boys member Willie D, also gave an emotional speech, thanking his family, friends, and fans for their support. He said that he was honoured to be recognized by the foundation and that he felt blessed to be alive and healthy after battling COVID-19 last year.

The Hip-Hop Grandmaster Awards, which was sold out, will be an annual event, according to the organizers. They said that they hope to continue to celebrate and support the pioneers and legends of hip-hop who have shaped the culture and the industry.