The late George Mikan, former Minneapolis Laker center was The Shit at one point. I’m assured this is a fact because all contemporary basketball analysts tell me so. He helped revolutionize basketball as a player helping pave the way for future superstars. This is how I see Rakim and a lot of these 80’s guys. Their contributions were valuable to the game but comparing their technical ability then to artists of now shows the huge difference in those eras.
Paid In Full is considered one of the best rap albums of all time but it tested rather poorly on the RapMETRICS system. He posted an average rhyme density score of 0.21 (the lowest of the 23 albums in our database so far) with a NWP score of 0.39. Classic albums don’t necessarily need to have high rhyme density scores (Illmatic and Blueprint are both around 0.30) but scores of 0.21 should be an album low, not an average. This reaffirms our position: Technically speaking, Rakim and other 80’s artists were using elementary rhyme schemes and in absolute terms, aren’t as good statistically as many of the artists who would come after them. We won’t ever know how Mikan would have produced in this era of basketball. However, we can calculate how each Rakim song tests next to artists of later geneartions. For now, this is just a simplistic approach that may need refining in the future with the introduction of era-adjusted rhyme density scores.
The simple truth is that rhyming as a technical skill was refined and re-refined in later generations and the artists to come later, although not as decorated or celebrated, are every bit as good as the legends of the past. This is my thesis, ya’ll,.