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Eric B And Rakim
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  • Paid In Full
  • Follow The Leader
  • Let The Rhythm Hit Em


    Eric B And Rakim
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  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Eric B And Rakim

    paid in full follow the leader let the rhythm hit em

    Paid In Full 9 ( 1987 ) more best albums...
    I Ain't No Joke / Eric B Is On The Cut / My Melody / I Know You Got Soul / Move The Crowd / Paid In Full / As The Rhyme Goes On / Chinese Arithmetic / Eric B Is President / Extended Beat

    I guess if you're turned off rap music, 'Paid In Full' will take awhile to settle comfortably in with you. Listening to this in preperation for a review, I got the classic exclamation from the person I was with, what IS that you're listening to?, you know, said incredulously and in such a way that it's more likely somebody would want to saw their genitals off than listen to such an unthinkably beastly noise? That it should be a twenty year old rap album getting such a response rather than some piece of alternative rock is interesting to me, though. Alternative rock is, well, no longer alternative. Listen longer though. 'Paid In Full' demonstrates a rare and fluid way with both melody and when to use it and when not to. Eric B shows impeccable taste and, to use a cliche, can really speak with his hands. For 1987, Rakim shows himself way ahead of the curve, such a fluid rapper completely in control of his language and voice. There's an intelligence to the usual rap boasts, there no niggas or whores or sexual acts anywhere within any of the ten tracks. On the otherhand, 'My Melody', stunning as it is, features six minutes of Rakim telling us how great he is, basically. Yet, does it get boring? Well, there's a deliberately monotonous beat he rhymes over in a deliberately monotonous way, forcing the words to come at you, 'his melody'. Later in the track, Eric B shows off his skills creating some alarmingly delightful sounds. The track becomes utterly hypnotic and does this every single time I hear it. 'I Ain't Joke' is a great opener and immediately surprise you by failing to remind you it's twenty years old. Yes, we've scratching sounds, yet Rakim sounds more like Nas than he does, I don't know, Ice-T or any of the older school.

    There's a brilliant sequence of tracks in the middle of this thing. 'I Know You Got Soul', 'Move The Crowd' and 'Paid In Full'. Each track is danceable, clever, boastful, soulful and funky. The James Brown samples invariably pop up, yet Eric B was one of, if not the first, in using them so liberally. Rakim is so smooth with his flow yet also utterly impressive. 'Move The Crowd' is addiction itself, 'Paid In Full' a literate wordflow. Moving on, 'Eric B Is President' is stupendous and the three instrumentals even worth listening to, especially 'Chinese Arithmetic' which may be quirky, yet it's no less impressive for it's chinese sounds mixed with tinkling water effects. DJ Shadow? Eric B got there first! Influential rapping? You've never heard this record? Think again. It seems dozens and dozens of other artists have borrowed parts of this record, even entire lines from Rakim have been lifted to provide the basis of other peoples hit records. The most obvious one is 'Pump Up The Volume', remember that tune? Rakim says it once on 'I Know You Got Soul'. It's the same line, taken exactly and turned into a monster hit for MARRS. Wonder if Rakim got paid in full? This album has soul, it's got party and dance and it's got life. Yes, a twenty year old rap album that stands right next to the best today has to offer.

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    Readers Comments

    Will muggwort@netzero.com
    Although I find it moderately illogical that you praise the raps on Paid in Full & diss those on 36 Chambers I must laud you on your excellent taste in rap. Paid in Full is a beautiful near perfect album crackling over with the dual geniusses of Eric B. & Rakim. Every song is a winner and some just enter into your subconscious and make you funky throughout the day. Uhhh, and oh yeah this is minimalism that totally trumps the fuck outta the Ramones. This crew's so tight they don't need 3 chords, or nuttin, Rakim only needs a looped beat. This album does so much with almost nothing. Absolutely magnificent. 10+
    peace

    Jude Bolton Australia
    Rakim was dropping densely packed, multi-syllibale rhymes five years before Dr. Dre (and countless others) reduced every line to "bitch" vs. "dick" vs. "shit".


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    Follow The Leader ( 1988 )
    Follow the Leader / Microphone Fiend / Lyrics of Fury / Eric B. Never Scared / Just a Beat / Put Your Hands Together / To the Listeners / No Competition / The R / Musical Massacre / Beats for the Listeners

    Public Enemy were a four, if not five piece when their legendary production crew The Bomb Squad are also taken into consideration. Eric B had Rakim, Rakim had Eric B. That these two guys created a rap/hip-hop album so brilliant it more than stands up to scrutiny some nineteen years later has to be cause for consideration. True, Rakim raps ever more about how great a rapper Rakim is, but he has a point. Never has such wordflow, rhythm, rhyme and actual voice been put together so well in one rap album. Well, arguably Rakim was just as good on the debut. Eric B meanwhile takes us on a trip, this album sounds so bloody excellent. The music is as exciting now as it was then and sounds almost as cutting edge. Most of these tracks you could stick on as a new artist and most people who follow rap would be blown away by the music and flow. Hyperbole? Well, perhaps a little, but it's got me hooked. Not a major Rap fan, yet albums like this and 'Paid In Full' are enough to make anyone believe. This was even considered a mainstream rap release back in 1988. These days, nothing half as good could be considered mainstream. Well, the first three tunes here are easily the best. The rest of the album is merely good in comparison, but this is the stuff dreams were made of. This is the music that made others, Public Enemy included, raise their game and lead into the golden age of hip-hop. Well, so i'm told. Hit me with a wet flannel should I be wrong.

    So, having praised aspects of this album to the hilt, why only an 8.5? Surely i'm stupid? Well, I am stupid yet the front-loading of this album really does prevent this being a work of art. The lesser tracks, and they're are some here, are thrown into the spotlight by being all lumped together. Those first three tracks though? Wow. 'Microphone Fiend' is a long, lengthy and impressive rap from Mr Rakim accompanied by a little funk groove and what sounds like a sleighbell. The song isn't particularly festive, mind you. Rakim is the microphone fiend, he says. Towards the end of the tune, boom, BOOM, boom go the beats and it weaves in and out with the regular 'sleighbells/funk riff' section. Props to Eric B, he does some clever stuff and shows his way not only with rap but with music in general. 'Follow The Leader' I shall mention buy one word for. Perfect. No, seriously. Download this tune today, if you're in doubt. It's bound to be on I-Tunes. You won't regret it. 'Lyrics Of Fury' is the kind of thing Rage Against The Machine might have done. This is a 100% hip-hop version, heavier and more exciting than much rap music. Other highlights? Well, nothing is bad as such. Some tunes are just better than others. The best track that remains for my money, because I don't have anybody else's is. Rakim proves yet again what a rapper he is. Speedy, smooth, exciting. Like nobody else, no competition. Well, he may have a point.

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    top of page Let The Rhythm Hit Em' ( 1990 )
    Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em / No Omega / In the Ghetto / Step Back / Eric B. Made My Day / Run for Cover / Untouchables / Mahogany / Keep 'em Eager to Listen / Set 'em Straight

    After two classic hip-hop albums, the pressure was on for number three, especially with the emergence of numerous other rap talents eager to take Rakim's crown. Both Eric B and Rakim tried to step up their game here. The album is almost seamless and flows especially well for an album of this type. Eric B weaves a funky, intricate and sometimes claustrophobic spell and Rakim continues to absolutely astonish as the finest rapper of his and almost any generation. 'Let The Rhythm Hit Em', whilst not generally as lauded as the duo's first two LPs was the first to get a 5 mic award in source magazine and is hailed by some as their most consistent set. The title track opens things with an almost industrial musical backdrop as Rakim spills out what seems like thousands of words. It's exhilarating and flowing into 'No Omega', fairly stunning. Sure, there's the odd clumsy rhyme in the title track, but that's almost inevitable. 'No Omega' is so funky! Eric B mixes it up well with a classic tight soul groove and Rakim showcases his new deeper mature rapping style without losing any of the speed or flow in his delivery. 'Step Back' and the instrumental 'Eric B Made My Day' round out the first half with some crazy old skool scratching whilst 'In The Ghetto' sees Rakim made a few points in an intelligent way. It's an unsettling track both musically and lyrically as Eric B goes for the darker atmospheres to suit.

    After two speedy flowing Rakim showcases, 'Mahogany' intrigues with a much slower tempo than the majority of the album. Well, the gangsta scene was emerging and whilst never part of that, I guess Eric B and Rakim had to prove they could at least sound like something resembling that if they wanted to. Rounding out the highlights is the closing 'Set Em Straight'. Delicious funk grooves which are memorable in themselves and lines from Rakim that stick in the mind long after the record has finished playing.

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    Readers Comments

    Darryl Murrille Pennsylvania
    THEY NEED TO GET BACK TOGETHER AND MAKE THE WHOLE MUSIC INDUSTRY TURN AROUND,ITS A ACTION FACT , INDEED IM PROCEEDING TO MAKE THE CROWD KEEP MOVING,I DON'T FORGET WHAT MY RAPPERS SAID,COMPETITION IS NONE.


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    this page last updated 17/10/08


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