William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), known by his stage names Rakim (or simply Ra), Rakim Allah, R.A.K.I.M., and The Master, is an American rapper. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and most skilled emcees of all time. Eric B. & Rakim''s classic album Paid in Full was named the greatest hip hop album of all time by MTV, while Rakim himself was ranked #4 on MTV''s list of the Greatest MCs of All Time. Steve Huey of Allmusic stated that "Rakim is near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs -- perhaps the greatest -- of all time within the hip-hop community." The editors of About.com ranked him #1 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987â2007). Rakim began his career as the emcee of the rap duo Eric B. & Rakim, who in 2011 were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.