Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Skool Review: Eric B. and Rakim

It just dawned on me that while there's been a fair amount of the hipping and the hopping here at LET of late, it's all been of a decidedly current bent. Seeing as this could well be the last post of the year and how much you damn kids love to hear about how things were back in my day ("Our mixtapes actually were mixtapes, so stay the hell off my lawn before you mess up the potholes, punk!"), i figured now was a damn fine time to break out another Old Skool Review if i damn well say so my damn self.

Today we're going to deal with one of the strongest MC/DJ combos of all times, Eric B. & Rakim. Back in the day, the Long Island duo essentially were IT. Credited rightly or wrongly with everything from the introduction of DJs sampling James Brown to creating gangsta rap (remember that Follow the Leader video?), it's hard to think of a stronger matching pair than these guys during their all-too-short six year run. In a time when a lot of players were trying desperately to define the genre, Eric B. and Rakim did so with such effortless style it's a wonder they don't get royalties from every single rap record made since then.

The two eventually disbanded, allegedly over label issues. They've both had a solo album or two, with Rakim receiving the lion's share of accolades since their dissolution. Isn't that always the way? Note to self: while DJ Terrible is making itself a household name, work on that lyrical fury if you want to have a better shelf life.

Eric had a smooth but spooky style, using numerous JB beats as previously mentioned. Rakim has a staccato style, slow, but forceful at the same time. Combined, the two formed some otherworldly Mecha-Beast of superior, yet sinister sounds.
And that, my friends, ain't no joke.

mp3: Paid in Full (Eric B. & Rakim from Paid in Full)

mp3: Microphone Fiend (Eric B. & Rakim from Follow the Leader)

mp3: Mahogany (Eric B & Rakim from Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em)

Oh, in case you did NOT remember that video:

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