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Lakim Shabazz

Affiliated throughout his career with DJ Mark "the 45 King," New Jersey's Lakim Shabazz -- a Five Percenter born Larry Welsh -- came up in the mid- to late '80s as a member of the 45 King's Flavor Unit, a crew that included Queen Latifah and Apache within its membership. Shabazz took part in the 45 King's notorious 900 Number EP, the Tuff City release that elevated the status of everyone involved, especially that of the 45 King. Signed with Tuff City himself, Shabazz released a pair of 45 King-produced LPs, 1988's Pure Righteousness and 1990's Lost Tribe of Shabazz -- both filled with Afrocentric and politically conscious rhymes that incorporated the Five Percent Nation's doctrine. The former included "Black Is Back," one of the truly great underground rap classics of the late '80s. Shabazz, who developed production skills of his own, has produced some of his own tracks, in addition to lending his talents to Diamond D. & the Psychotic Neurotics' Stunts, Blunts, and Hip Hop. ~ Andy Kellman

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