Rakim Recalls Slap-Boxing Match With LL Cool J

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“We used to play basketball between shows and all that,” Rakim recalled to Touré. “[We] used to have courts set up in the arena. If we weren’t playing basketball, we were doing something [else] competitive. So [it was] maybe second week of the tour. Testosterone [is running] and everybody kind of getting tired of everybody [else] at this point…we play some ball that day—and I was kind of nice [at basketball]—so we did our thing on the court. And for some reason, we’re [all] standing around [afterwards]. The next thing [I notice is that] everybody throwing jabs now. ‘Yo Ra, you and L on slap-box.’ So L’s sitting there like…’Yeah, come on [and bring it].’ My man’s said, ‘Ra, if you can snatch LL’s hat off, I’m [going] to give you $1,000.’”

“Me and L set up, we rocking,” Ra describes of the playful-but-aggressive bout. “L’s swinging hard as crap [reenacts punches thrown], [I am] ducking under [the punches] like, ‘Yo L, listen man, and your hands is closed? Like, what are you doing, man?’ He was like, ‘Nah man, let’s just do it.’ I was like, ‘Aight.’ So we rockin’…he swinging, I’m ducking up under him, smacking him in the ribs, [and] you know he’s tall. I’m trying to figure out how to get the hat off…[The] first thing I did was reach down and untie his [shoelaces]. He got mad as hell. ‘Oh, you doing that?’ Like, nah, G. So we set back up…he swings, I duck up under him smack his knee, [and] buckle him a little bit. So I’m like, ‘Aight, if I can get him in the back of the knee, buckle him again I can get the hat off.’ So L gets mad again. He coming all fast at me, throwing hard. So I get mad now. I reached up, popped a bing and grabbed the hat but it just went [moves own hat on head] like that on his head. So he was like, ‘Oh, you trying to take my hat off?’ [I respond], ‘Nah man, it’s 52, I was just going to take the hat and give it back to you.’”


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