For fans of hip hop, Eric B and Rakim are two names that shouldn’t need any introduction. The two put out what most people consider one of the best hip hop albums of all time in the classic Paid in Full.
First formed in 1986, the duo came out of Long Island and quickly ascended to the top of the rap game, becoming what several described as the most influential DJ/MC team in all of hip hop. Eric B. was one of the most prolific and talented producers, especially when it came to sample-selection, and Rakim laid the groundwork for an MC should look, act, and most importantly, rap like. Without Rakimn, no Nas, no Pac, no Biggie or Jay Z.
As the two grew in talent and notoriety, both began wanting to spread their wings and record solo albums. When the group’s label presented him with a release contract, Eric B. refused to sign it, fearful that Rakim would leave him high and dry. Eventually, a court case came about involving the two and their label, however Eric. B has always stressed that any problems over money stemmed from the lables, not from disputes between Rakim and himsef. While breakups are never easy, by that point the duo’s legacy was already written, and that legacy was solidified when they were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Now, as the album turns a (modest) thirty-years-old, the duo is set to reunite for the first time in over 20 years. As part of the anniversary celebration, the two will be performing cuts from their entire catalogue. In addition to some amazing performances, fans will be able to “revel in the moment” with some “famous friends.” While you probably won’t find much of their music in any modern rap fan’s playlist, this will be a historic night for the genre as the two celebrate that history at the Apollo Theatre on July 7. Tickets will go on sale Friday.
Rakim will also be at this year’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest on July 16 along with DMX, The Lox and several others.