30 years ago a brand duo emerged in hip hop that changed the genre forever.
“I came in the door, I said it before, I never let the mic magnetize me no more.”
Performing as a DJ from WBLS back in 1985, Eric Barrier also known as Eric B. was looking for an MC to team up with. Eric searched for “New York’s top MC” and showed up to Rakim’s house in hopes to make a record. The MC with football dreams only wanted to be featured and that’s when Eric B. & Rakim was born.
With help from Marley Marl, the two went into PowerPlay studios and recorded their first track. That track was first released in 1986, and was given the name “Eric B. For President.”
“Thinkin’ of a master plan, ’cause ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand.”
Sampling Fonda Rae’s “Over Like A Fat Rat” Rakim’s style was something hip hop had never seen before at the time. Sure there were lyrical MC’s at the time, but there was no one that could ride the beat in the way that he did. His style wasn’t overpowering, but filled with swag and was more of an extra instrument over the produced beat than an overpowering voice.
Soon after hip hop changed forever. On July 7, 1987, they released the album titled Paid in Full.
The project beats with the hard sounds of the drums before the “God MC” begins the project with his first lines on the album.
“I ain’t no joke, I used to let the mic smoke, Now I slam it when I’m done and make sure it’s broke, When I’m gone no one gets on cause I won’t let, Nobody press up and mess up the scene I set”
With his cool demeanor, the track sent the message to those who did not take lyricism that seriously, that he is nothing to play with on the mic.
The project is undoubtedly an all-time classic. Singles such as “Paid In Full,” “My Melody,” and “As The Rhyme Goes On” keeps your head moving with its slick lyricism and timeless beats.
30 years later, you still hear remnants of the project in songs today through samples and hat tips in lyrics which help keep the legend of this project alive forever.
“Paid In Full” can be heard in singles such as Lloyd’s “Girls Around The World,” “Addictive” by Truth Hurts, and many more. “Eric B For President” was sampled by artists such as JAY-Z, KRS-One, Nas, Pras, and countless others.
The legend of Paid in Full doesn’t stay in the lyrics though.
Nowadays artists such as JAY-Z are giving his opinion on how artists flash money on Instagram.
“You’re on the Gram holding money to your ear, there’s a disconnect, we don’t call that money over here.”
Meanwhile, back in 1987 the artwork for the album included an iconic cover which showed the two artists standing in front a pile of money. It was all in your face as they flashed all of the gold, their money, were showered in jewelry in their Dapper Dan custom suits.
The group ended up recording four albums together before breaking up 1992. Tonight (July 7), they are reuniting to celebrate the classic album they named Paid In Full.
Listen to the full album below.