When I get sick of hip-hop’s gang banging, blunt puffing, gender dissing (mostly women and gays), jews blinging and all the ghetto fabulousnesses, I kick back to Rakim’s Book of Life—the retrospective side of The 18th Letter/The Book of Life‘s double album—for some nerve-calming, brain-messaging, and just pure rejuvenating hip-hop experiences. From “I Know You Got Soul,” “Follow the Leader,” “Microphone Fiend,” “My Melody,” “Move the Crowd” to “Let the Rhythm Hit Em,” the soul-controller Ra and cut-master Eric B. bring out the good old time without a word of profanity. With a raucous voice, perfectionist flow and waxed-poetic rhymes, Ra rips through “Lyrics of Fury” like John Coltrane erupted his sheets-of-sound lyricisms. Every time I bang, “Know the Ledge,” the chill image of Bishop played by 2pac in Juice, a film that revealed Pac’s acting talent, strikes my memory chord. I used to watch the movie almost everyday after school for about a month. I was able to recite very line Pac said in the film, and one particular narration stuck in my brain till this day, “I am crazy, and you know what else? I don’t give a fuck.” I could still visualize the cold, heartless look on his face. Besides the Juice‘s theme song, Ra’s “Casualty of War” and “The Punisher” were no less hardcore and crucial. Ra had laid down the foundation for hip-hop and I hope to see him takes her back to her positive vibe.