Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader 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.

Eric B & Rakim's second album, Follow The Leader, came out in 1988.  That's only a year after their debut, but from the very second the opening title track starts up, it's obvious that the production has taken a gigantic leap forward (the horns that creep in throughout the song are just incredible).  Not only that, but the lyrical dexterity that Rakim was revolutionizing hip hop with just a year earlier sounds almost quaint in comparison to the way he's tearing things up on this album.

I hadn't heard too many of these songs when I first got into hip hop.  My introduction to Eric B & Rakim was from the Juice soundtrack in 1991 and at the time, I didn't have the sort of budget to be able to backtrack as much as I would have liked (though I do wonder why I didn't try to get some of their albums when I was scamming CDs from Columbia House and BMG).  It wasn't until my early 20s that I was able to go back and start filling the gaps, and while I love these records now, I think they'd be even more embedded in my brain if I was able to have heard them in '91 or '92.

Can't do anything about that though, I'm just glad I got to them eventually and that they were all put out as part of a lovely vinyl box set.

Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader:

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