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Eric B & Rakim

They never had a mainstream hit of their own, but during rap's so-called golden age in the late '80s, Eric B. & Rakim were almost universally recognized as the premier DJ/MC team in all of hip-hop. Not only was their chemistry superb, but individually, each represented the absolute state of the art in their respective skills. Eric B. was a hugely influential DJ and beatmaker whose taste for hard-hitting James Brown samples touched off a stampede through the Godfather of Soul's back catalog that continues up to the present day. Rakim, meanwhile, still tops fan polls as the greatest MC of all time. He crafted his rhymes like poetry, filling his lines with elaborate metaphors and complex internal rhymes, and he played with the beat like a jazzman, earning a reputation as the smoothest-flowing MC ever to pick up a mic. His articulation was clear, his delivery seemingly effortless, and his influence on subsequent MCs incalculable. Together, their peerless technique on the microphone and turntables upped the ante for all who followed them, and their advancement of hip-hop as an art form has been acknowledged by everyone from Gang Starr to the Wu-Tang Clan to Eminem. While certain elements of their sound might come off as slightly dated today, it's also immediately clear how much of a hand Eric B. & Rakim had in leading hip-hop into the modern age.

Eric B. was born Eric Barrier in 1965 in Elmhurst, Queens; his future partner, William Griffin, Jr., was born in 1968 and also hailed from the suburbs of New York, specifically Wyandanch, Long Island. At age 16, Griffin converted to Islam and adopted the name Rakim Allah. Barrier played trumpet and guitar early on, but switched to the turntables in high school, and eventually landed a job as the mobile DJ for radio station WBLS. It was there that he met Rakim, and the two officially formed a partnership in 1985. Their first single -- "Eric B. Is President" (an ode to Barrier's DJ skills) b/w "My Melody" -- was released on the tiny Harlem-based indie label Zakia. It was a street-level sensation during the summer of 1986, and the duo was picked up by the larger 4th & Broadway imprint. The equally monumental singles "I Ain't No Joke" and "I Know You Got Soul" sampled James Brown and his cohort Bobby Byrd, respectively, and their utter funkiness began to revolutionize the sound of hip-hop. Moreover, Rakim's line "pump up the volume" on the latter track was in turn sampled itself, becoming the basis for M/A/R/R/S' hit of the same name.

In 1987, 4th & Broadway issued the duo's full-length debut, Paid in Full; accompanied by a mighty underground buzz, the record climbed into the Top Ten on the R&B LP charts (as would all of their subsequent albums). Additionally, the British DJ duo Coldcut remixed the title cut into a bona fide U.K. smash. The exposure helped make "Paid in Full"'s drum track one of the most sampled beats this side of James Brown's "Funky Drummer"; it provided the foundation for Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True," among many other, more credible hits. On the heels of Paid in Full, Eric B. & Rakim signed with MCA subsidiary Uni and consolidated their reputation with another landmark hip-hop album, 1988's Follow the Leader. The title cut took its place among the classic singles already in their canon, and Jody Watley soon tapped the duo for a guest spot on her 1989 single "Friends," which brought them into the pop Top Ten for the first and only time.

The 1990 follow-up Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em proved relatively disappointing from a creative standpoint, although 1992's slightly jazzier Don't Sweat the Technique was a more consistent affair that bolstered their legacy. As it turned out, the record also completed that legacy. The duo's contract with MCA was almost up, and they had discussed the possibility of each recording a solo album. Unfortunately, the resulting tension over the future of their partnership ultimately destroyed it. In the aftermath of the breakup, various legal issues prevented both parties from starting their solo careers for quite some time. The only recording to appear was Rakim's first solo cut, "Heat It Up," which was featured on the soundtrack of the 1993 film Gunmen. Finally, in 1995, Eric B. issued his self-titled solo debut on his own 95th Street label. Rakim, meanwhile, signed with Universal and delivered a pair of acclaimed comeback albums, 1997's The 18th Letter and 1999's The Master. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Like I said before one of the best who opened the doors for all these a$$ rapper today ok?????????? And don't worry the GOD'S WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
The BEST THAT'S ALL I GOT TO SSY
The "r" my man aint no joke follow the leader
One of the greatest rapper living
The r is the real mc and he does not quit 14/15 is your year mg
Lyrical f**kin genius!!!
Eric B.= MOVE THE CROWD
THE REAL ROOTS OF RAP!!!
Finally the God Rakim and his D.J. Eric B. Gets their proper respect for being innovaters of this art form. Can't deny their power! !!need I say more? ??Shakim aka Freedom. ..Heath St. Black Medina Boston Massacre! !!!!PEACE
Only the ones who know, know!
There the truth
They're golden age of hip hop we need that now
THEY NEED EACH-OTHER TO BE COMPLETE. RAKIM IS THE BEST RAPPER EVER..
This sucks I'm white
My favorite!
BEST EVER!!!!
The Punisher!! .....Push his eyes to the back of his head so he can see what hes gettin into!! Dope.
The dopest EVER! I just saw Rakim play and it was just amazing. The industry needs to show the hiphop greats more f****** RESPECT.
Of course like I already said H.O.F....but shout out to ilandr4vr on a bomb bio pic , peace!
REAL HIP HOP! F*?;! all that Lil wack a** Weezy bullish acting like he's the Beatles. I want EFX, you know what I mean ;-)
"ALL I NEED TO SAY ON THIS MIC IS YOU MO DAN A MAN YO TWO ALL I GOTTA MAN. HE CAN ROC MY WORLD ANY TIME ANY DAY ALL HELL ANY WHERE JUS KNOT THAIR. I CAN'T WHIPY HAIR BACK AND FORT NATURALLY, BUT THESE BOYZ RIPPED I LET IT WHIPP CREAM NEED 2 SWEETNESS DIS MOI MINT CHOCOLATE MELTED N ADD DIT TO MY FLAVOR BAYOU GOD FAVOR AND DUST 2 DAWN DIS IS MMUMM GOOD PASS'N THRU MY WATERS ON THE GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP GOES THE WESSEL. Y'ALL GODTIS!!! YEAH YEAH
This is rap !!
TRU Bro I'm thinking of a master plan right now let me know if you come up 1 for me
Man grew up off this...class i c legend
Supreme Mathematics. Supreme Alphabet. Twelve Jewels of Islam. knowledge, wisdom and understandin g . Sun, moon and star. Zig Zag Zig. "Swift wisdom which means wise words being spoken" Rakim. You all come get this knowledge of self and you to man, woman or child will have self esteem to make you to shine like jewelry.

Peace!
info491797
..and i do work wit' these
like Hercules
Such a bad a** remix.
Brings me back
Peace god and blessings
I didn't know the ledge a couple of times
This song was ahead of it's time
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.
Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started
reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your
lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
Rakim the GOD- best to ever do it. Period.
FISH, which is my favorite dish.

Rakim Allah. Who the hell else?
YOU DROP THE MIC,YOU SHOULD'NT BE HOLDING IT
Rakim the alpha and the omega.enough said!!!!!
One of Best Dj and McCain of all time. Lol Cash Money Anit got Shi* t on this track. Philly West. The Brook" 78. This track will never die. Yall Ni* *as fell me. New York. New York. Spark One lmao
Whoever writes these bio's is an idiot
Eric B. & Rakim...dyna m i c duo
Awww yeah.....bac k in the day in the 80's with the dooky rope chains.....
Juice Baby!!!!!!!! ! Yeaaaaah
nicko252008
The best in no order...Marl e y Marl, CHubb Rock, Big Daddy Kane. Rakim, Pete ROck
freeze your dome
the production of this joint is stupid
Rakim is the best lyricist and the second best rapper ever. Only behind Biggie. I need more followers from the hip hop community.
Rakim is the greatest mc of all time
Awwh, I love this song paid in full!
Rakim the GOD
Rakim tops my list
Rakim slays them all and that's why he's Number 1 on my list!!!! ♥♫
You've got to respect this kind of talent!!!
This is still one of the best tracks of all time
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