Eric B & Rakim – Follow the Leader
So, I had long had Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full and liked it; Chris had mentioned that their next two albums were just as good, so I picked ’em up when I saw ’em cheap.
The song up top came up on shuffle while I was mowing the lawn.
Rakim regularly comes in at or near the top of any “Greatest MCs of All Time” poll. If that song doesn’t tell you why, nothing will. (Plus, no bad language! I wonder if when gangsta rap started to take over, Rakim seemed old-fashioned for that).
(And how awesome is it in that video, when he starts rhyming into that dude’s wire? And the turntables in the violin cases?!)
Eric B & Rakim – Microphone Fiend
Rakim’s subject matter tends towards various metaphors explaining Why He Is The Best MC, And All Those Other MCs Are Not The Best MC – but man, to these ears, it’s kinda justified.
I don’t know a lot about rapping, but I know a little about drums; the way Rakim uses his words percussively, varying tone and precisely placing each strike/syllable exactly around the beat where it will have maximum impact, is how you play drums (or presumably, box).
He makes each line weave and dance.
I don’t want to sell Eric B. short here – his productions, while still the kind of minimal-yet-massive jeep-rockers they were on PiF, seem to have gained a little more sonic detail (samples of flutes, horn stings, guitar, dark strings) and bottom-end depth.
Eric B & Rakim – Lyrics of Fury
(That track is almost certainly being nodded to in this one.)
The other thing is…these are just the first three tracks on Follow The Leader!
Any time an artist is able to drop three absolute classic tracks right up front – not holding anything back for use in an energy trough later on the album – they are working at the top of their game.