Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full 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.

I am trying very hard to tackle some of the records that have been in my 'to write about' pile for an extended period of time.  There's a lot of them, some of which have been hanging around for a few years.  One of those that's been here for a while (a little under two years) is the Eric B & Rakim Box Set.  So, for the next few Ed Lover Wednesdays, I'm going to go through each of the records in this 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.

Paid In Full is a tremendously important record in the history of Hip Hop.  Rakim (and I would also put KRS-One along side of him) really changed the way lyricists in hip hop were viewed and upped the bar on what was expected of an MC.  There's a reason that many refer to Rakim as The God MC as he is ground zero for the style that took over the golden era of hip hop.

That influential style is on display throughout Paid In Full.  It's crazy to think about this record coming out in 1987 and flipping an entire genre on its head.  I was only ten in 1987 and was not listening to hip hop to see this change, but I felt the repercussions a few years later as I started getting interested.  Lyrically, the record is still pretty incredible all of these years later, but the production does sound a bit dated.

It took a minute for the production on Eric B & Rakim albums to catch up to the lyrics.  While it's a great record, I tend to find that I listen to it the least amongst their catalog.  If I want to listen to Rakim, I really want to hear him over a production style that's a bit more advanced.  They got there, and the production on Paid In Full helped move people in the right direction, but listening to it with today's ears, if feels more from another era than some of their other albums.  But still, you cannot argue it's importance in the pantheon of classic hip hop albums.

Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full:

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