Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Eric B. & Rakim – Don't Sweat The Technique 2xLP - (From The Complete Collection 1986-1992 Box Set)


Geffen / 4th & Broadway / UNI / MCA (2018, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for thirty plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

For the next few Ed Lover Wednesdays, I'm going to go through each of the records in this Eric B & Rakim box set.  I only had the album Don't Sweat The Technique in my vinyl collection when I decided I needed to get the others.  When I started poking around, it just made more sense to buy this box set as opposed to the other records individually.

Don't Sweat The Technique is the Eric B. & Rakim record I have always been the most familiar with as it's the one that came out in my hip hop heyday.  It's also the only one I had on vinyl prior to picking up this box set, so it's a bit of a double dip as I've already written about it before on this site.  But I'm happy to talk a bit more about it again.  I've mentioned before that "Know The Ledge" from the Juice soundtrack was my first introduction to Eric B. & Rakim.  To this day that's still my favorite song.  It was also the song that taught me to not buy hip hop soundtracks as those songs ALWAYS ended up on the next full length album of whatever group or rapper contributed it.

Weirdly, the opening track, "What's On Your Mind?," is pretty awful.  The production is sappy and smooth in an R&B influenced way that feels like a reach towards crossing over.  It first showed up on the House Party II soundtrack, and it really could have stayed there in my opinion.  But after that rare misstep, the rest of the album is flawless.

The production holds up so well and is on par with any golden era release that came out in 1992.  For me, it's the one that sounds current and modern, or at least whatever was current and modern in 1992, a year that I was just devouring any hip hop I could get my hands on.  Every song is incredible and Rakim once again showed why he was just next level in that era.  This was the last Eric B. & Rakim record and the last time we'd hear from Rakim for five years, but it was a hell of a way to go out.

Eric B. & Rakim – Don't Sweat The Technique:

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