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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

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My n**gas ol school still rule the r an his dj ok wit me lol
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MY ERA OF HIP HOP......AND THEY WERE THE BEST......19 6 8 . . . . . H O L L I S QUEENS
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True classic...ai n t never gonna hear cuts like this...ever! ! !
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vtorres324
Da best 1 in old school,,����
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So called(hip-h o p ) music nowadays is no comparison to tha old school!
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Paid in Full was truly too smooth
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Da God MC need I say more also Eric B was flawless then peace to da God's
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The hardest music back in them days. Face reality in keep it, together share somethin with me are u still on line?
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Paid in full .. Yes i am
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Get paid in full an count ur moneyget it up love yall ol school wont die
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This station rocks
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fdny728
What about "know the ledge". That sing was the bomb back in the day.
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dope
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ERIC B. IS ON THE CUT!!#
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main stream can't even ... and will never!!!
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Eric B & RAKIM hip hops best
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Kids today who know nothing of the baddest mutha funkin MC to pic up a mic. Rakim is still tops.

Check out my station boombox, nuthin but old school hip hop. From Tribe al the way back...
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Spanish or de even globales how in ecuator .in has and chat can come cheer

Unless favor flow tastes sweet general beat burst like pop rocks some use . Escort for view pink tremendous fact tongue as history for her legs trbule
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TODAY'S. HIP HOP. REALLY. CAN'T. COMPARE. TO. ERIC B. AND. RAKIM. PERIOD
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One of the greatest duel's in hip-hop!
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karl_elliott 4 1
And on the radio "The R's requested"!!
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Check out my melody
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The R serving up lyrical plates of fish for whack MCs back in the day. He got Paid in Full.
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I used to roll, this is a hold up, ain't nuthin funny-stop smilin, be still don't nuthin move but the money.. The GOD
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Theroux. But dude. Reach. Between. In Missouri. Lost so due soul
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Pioneers, legends and captured the imagination of hip hop fans worldwide. Rakim's lyrics were before his time and the beats were and continue to be..... SO DOPE!!!
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Ch and artis
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The days when the supreme team ran an the real 50 from Brooklyn
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Dam i miss hip hop an rap.
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Juice
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No one flow like rakim
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Best mc ever
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Paid in full yup get money
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Childhood lil bro omg
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https://db.t t / o u h x m G M 2

This is our album Henn & Goo$e.. check us out coach city boyz on you tube.!!!

Please post it to your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You will be a believer after you listen to the album!
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Marley Marl is god
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What about peace?
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Time to go play handball and battle
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Hands down these them dudes lol ol school for real
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Eric B & Rakim hands down one of the dopest MC and DJ ever in Hip Hop!
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sizzzla2
No school like the old school!
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Thought I was a doughnut,you tried to glaze me!!!
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Damn. Pandora's got it goin' on. Found this on Madvillainy' s station.
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Alllll this was my cut back in my day got them downloaded into my cellphone Let's Go Pandora work it out what You say
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lavino22
This track never gets old...
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The best ever
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Love knocking boots
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Looking up under found
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One of the best songs of all time!!!
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The greatest. ...
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