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Music / Eric B. & Rakim

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The classic debut. L-R: Eric, Rak.

RAKIM: "Cos I don't like to dream about gettin paid
So I dig into the books of the rhymes that I made
To now test to see if I got pull
Hit the studio, cos I'm paid in full"
Eric B. and Rakim, "Paid in Full"

Eric B. & Rakim, born, respectively, Eric Barrier and William Griffin, were a Rap duo from Long Island, NY who worked together from 1987 to 1992, and reunited again in 2016. They are best known for their songs "Paid in Full," "Microphone Fiend" and "I Ain't No Joke."

The Other Wiki has a good writeup about their career.


  • Paid in Full (1987)
  • Follow The Leader (1988)
  • Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em (1990)
  • Don't Sweat The Technique (1992)


The following tropes are paid in full:

  • Answer Song: "Eric B. is President" started as this toward Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately," with two lines standing out as The Artifact of this idea.
    But now it's out of hand cuz you told me you hate me
    And then you ask what have I done lately
  • Big Applesauce: From "I Know You Got Soul":
    Now if you're from Uptown, Brooklyn- bound,
    The Bronx, Queens, or Long Island Sound
  • Boastful Rap: "Pass the Hand Grenade," "No Competition"
  • A God Am I: Rakim was known as the lyrical God.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "Move The Crowd"
    All praises due to Allah
  • The Golden Age of Hip Hop
  • Hymn to Music: "Lyrics of Fury," "Microphone Fiend," "Keep 'Em Eager to Listen," etc. etc.
  • Listeners Are Geniuses: "To The Listeners"
  • The Leader: Rakim, on the song "Follow The Leader"
  • Money Song: "Paid In Full"
  • Advertisement:
  • Only Known by Initials: "The R"
  • Product Placement: From "Relax With Pep":
    Here come the right one baby and Dr. Pepper
  • Protest Song: "Casualties of War," rapped from the perspective of a soldier in The Gulf War, who had previously served in The Vietnam War.
  • Recycled Lyrics: "It ain't where you from it's where you're at," which first appeared in "I Know You Got Soul," turned up later in "In The Ghetto."
  • Sampling:
    • Famously used Ofra Haza's "Im Nin'alu" on "Paid in Full"
    • Also on "Paid in Full," the one-bar breakbeat from "Ashley's Roachclip" by the Soul Searchers that was eventually Sampled Up by countless artists later on. This song started the craze.
  • Serious Business: "I Ain't No Joke"
  • Silly Love Songs: "Mahogany", though Rakim's lyrics & delivery are less silly and more suave.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Paid in Full"
  • We Used to Be Friends: While recording Don't Sweat The Technique, both Eric B. and Rakim expressed interest in solo careers, but when the time came to leave MCA Records in 1992, Eric refused to sign the release contract, fearing Rakim would abandon him. The ensuing court battle lasted over five years, and essentially killed their friendship for the next 20+ years. Said lawsuit also derailed Rakim's solo career until 1997.