Great interview with the front man for The Roots:

G Rap was not just using hip-hop slang and words that everyone knew and not just using big words just for the sake of using them—he would use them in their proper context. G Rap, if he was an instrument, he’d be like a drum, whereas Rakim was like brass, he was more melodic. I’d compare Rakim to a saxophone. But from Rakim I got the melodic influence and just repetition in my patterns. I got more of the subtleties, I saw someone perfectly marrying consciousness with musicality with street credibility and still gangster. And his tone was crazy. He had a very distinct delivery. Sometimes nasal meets guttural.

People ask me why I’ve never rapped myself (when I rhyme all the time in my plays).  It’s because there are cats like this who take the game way too seriously for me to even consider messing with.  Thought’s one of the best doing it today, and he should be doing it for a long, long time.