Throwback: Happy Belated 55th Birthday, Rakim!

January is a busy month for music history.

  • Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones celebrated his 77th birthday on January 3. 
  • R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe celebrated his 63rd birthday on January 4
  • Joy Division and New Order founder Bernard Sumner also celebrated his 67th birthday on January 4 
  • The 70th anniversary of AC/DC co-founder, rhythm guitarist, songwriter and backing vocalist Malcom Young’s birth was on January 6
  • The 76th anniversary of David Bowie‘s brith was on January 8
  • The Doors‘ Robby Krieger celebrated his 77th birthday on January 8
  • Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page celebrated his 79th birthday on January 9
  • Steely Dan co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Donald Fagen celebrated his 75th birthday on January 10. 
  • Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul celebrated her 52nd birthday on January 11
  • Raekwon celebrated his 52nd birthday on January 12. Raekwon’s work with Wu-Tangand as a solo artist have helped to cement his reputation among the cognoscenti as one of the most gifted and unique emcees in the history of hip-hop.
  • Dave Grohl celebrated his 54th birthday on January 14
  • Lisa Lisa and The Cult Jam’s frontwoman Lisa “Lisa Lisa” Velez celebrated her 56th birthday on January 15
  • The queen of Quiet Storm, Sade celebrated her 64th birthday on January 16
  • The Bangles’ co-founder and frontperson Susanna Hoffs celebrated her 64th birthday on January 17
  • The Temptations‘ former lead singer David Ruffin was born 82 years ago. He was the lead singer from 1963-1968, which may arguably be the soul act’s most legendary and pioneering period. He also had an impressive solo career — with some equally great songs for a period of time. 
  • The 80th anniversary of Janis Joplin‘s was on January 19
  • Dolly Parton celebrated her 77th birthday on January 19
  • Kevin Parker, the acclaimed Aussie singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as JOVM mainstay Tame Impala, celebrated his 37th birthday on January 20 
  • The 58th anniversary of the birth of Run DMC‘s DJ Jam Master Jay was on January 21 
  • The 85th anniversary of legendary soul singer/songwriter Sam Cooke‘s birth was on January 22
  • The 68th anniversary of Eddie Van Halen’s birth was on January 26
  • Phil Collins celebrated his 72nd birthday on January 30.

Somehow in this mix, I realized I neglected Rakim, one of the greatest emcees to ever spit bars on wax. Rakim celebrated his 55th birthday on January 28. So let’s celebrate the brother and his legendary work.

Happy birthday, brother!