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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Pay your respects

 
 

Though the two have not worked together since 1992’s “Don’t Sweat The Technique,” Eric B. and Rakim still stand as one of the greatest teams and Rakim as the greatest rapper, in all of hip-hop. Their place atop critics’ and fans’ polls for rap supremacy can be traced back to this album: 1986’s “Paid In Full.”
Who: Possibly the greatest pure emcee to ever bless a microphone, Rakim (born William Griffin), with the assistance of DJ and partner Eric B. ushered in a new era in the world of hip-hop. Rakim is an emcee’s emcee. With the introduction of his laidback monotone flow and focused multi-syllabic lyrics he signaled the end of the rudimentary nursery rhyme styles that were prevalent in the ’80s. Rakim’s effortless delivery over Eric B.’s choice of James Brown soul samples preempted the G-Funk and East Coast funk sounds of Dr. Dre and EPMD. They were the true leaders of the new school.
What: Their debut album was entitled “Paid In Full.” Chocked full of timeless old school hip-hop songs, its influence can still be heard to this day. It is easily one of the most sampled rap albums ever, be it one of Rakim’s endlessly quotable lyrics or Eric B.’s classic breaks. A few of the standout tracks: “I Ain’t No Joke,” “My Melody,” “I Know You Got Soul,” “Eric B. Is President,” and one of the most significant songs in all of rap, the title track “Paid In Full.” In case casual listeners don’t immediately pick up the references, here is a short-list:
-“My favorite rapper used to sing ‘Ch-check out my melody…'” – 50 Cent on “Hate It Or Love It”
-The bass line for “Paid In Full” was used by Tupac, among others, for his infamous diss song “Hit ‘Em Up”
-Rakim’s “Pump up the volume!” vocal sample was used in one of the biggest dance songs of the late ’80s by M/A/R/R/S.
When: 1987. It was somewhat of a bridge year for the world of hip-hop. The year after the release of Run-DMC’s monumental “Raising Hell” and a year before 1988 was widely considered the best years hip-hop has ever seen. Not only was it a transitional year musically, but more importantly, in terms of style and approach. There was a shift from the simplistic rhyme styles of a Kurtis Blow or the aforementioned Run-DMC towards more of the rapid-fire techniques of a Big Daddy Kane or Kool G. Rap. This change can be attributed to Rakim as he opened the door to rap music’s Golden Age.
Where: Eric B. was a native of Queens, N.Y. Rakim was a native of Long Island, N.Y. The two recorded their first single together, “Eric B. Is President,” in 1985 and it was released on the Zakia/4th and Broadway record label.
Why: Despite not attaining the mainstream notoriety as some of their contemporaries such as LL Cool J or the Beastie Boys, Eric B. and Rakim’s influence and legacy are nonetheless just as important, if not more so. “Paid In Full” marked the introduction of focused lyricism, funk/soul overtones, complex rhyme patterns and Islamic rhetoric, all of which are still widely employed by many of the top rap artists and producers today.

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