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Music / Paid in Full

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Check out my melody!

Paid in Full is the debut album by Hip-Hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, released on July 7, 1987.

It's seen as one of the best hip-hop albums ever made, and is historically important to the genre due to what both members of the duo did on the album. Rakim's lyrics were one of the first major showcases of internal and multisyllabic rhymes in rap, and he was credited with pioneering the techniques and generally raising the bar for MC lyricism in unprecedented fashion. It also upped the ante in terms of sampling through Eric B.'s production, which has been copied by countless rap albums ever since. In fact, James Brown even sued because of the unauthorized sampling of his music on the album.

"Eric B. Is President", "I Ain't No Joke", "I Know You Got Soul", "Move the Crowd" and "Paid in Full" became hits.


  1. "I Ain't No Joke" (3:54)
  2. "Eric B. Is on the Cut" (3:48)
  3. "My Melody" (6:46)
  4. "I Know You Got Soul" (4:46)
  5. "Move the Crowd" (3:49)
  6. "Paid in Full" (3:50)
  7. "As the Rhyme Goes On" (4:00)
  8. "Chinese Arithmetic" (4:07)
  9. "Eric B. Is President" (6:20)
  10. "Extended Beat" (3:49)

Troped In Full

  • Answer Song: "Eric B. Is President" is an answer song to Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"
    But now it's out of hand cause you told me you hate me
    And then you ask what have I done lately?
  • Big Applesauce: "I Know You Got Soul"
    Now if you're from Uptown, Brooklyn-bound
    The Bronx, Queens, or Long Island Sound
  • Continuity Nod: The line "it ain't where you from, it's where you're at" from "I Know You Got Soul" would later return in their song "In the Ghetto".
  • Face on the Cover: Eric B. and Rakim pose against a money background.
  • Glam Rap: This album is generally seen as the first rap album to glorify wealth and a glamorous lifestyle.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "Move the Crowd"
    All praises due to Allah
  • Heavy Meta: "Paid in Full"
    Rakim, check this out, yo!
    You go to your girl house and I'll go to mine
    Cause my girl is definitely mad
    Cause it took us too long to do this album
  • Instrumentals: "Eric B. Is on the Cut", "Chinese Arithmetic" and "Extended Beat".
  • Money Song: "Paid in Full", where the band sings that they want to get paid for their hard work.
  • National Stereotypes: "Chinese Arithmetic" is built around a Chinese sounding Regional Riff.
  • New Sound Album: This was one of the first rap album to use a style that was less improvised and put more emphasis on lines that were more thought out beforehand. Rakim rapped in a more relaxed, stoic style compared to his rapid fire predecessors.
  • Record Producer: Eric B. & Rakim.
  • Regional Riff: Heard several times in "Chinese Arithmetic".
  • Sampling:
    • "I Ain't No Joke" samples "Pass the Peas" by The J.B.'s and "Theme from the Planets" by Dexter Wansel.
    • "Eric. B. is On The Cut" borrows samples from "It's Great to Be Here" by The Jackson 5, "I Think I'd Do It" by ZZ Hill, "Eric B. Is President" by Eric B. & Rakim.
    • "My Melody" is a sample fest of "Change the Beat" by Fab 5 Freddy featuring Beeside, "I Can't Stop" by John Davis and the Monster Orchestra, "Do the Funk Penguin" by Rufus Thomas and "Scratchin'" by the Magic Disco Machine.
    • "I Know You Got Soul" has samples from "I Know You Got Soul" by Bobby Byrd, "You'll Like It Too" by Funkadelic from Connections And Disconnections.
    • "Move the Crowd" is a sample overdose of "Action Speaks Louder Than Words" by Chocolate Milk, "The Jam" by Graham Central Station, "Hot Pants Road" and "Pass the Peas" by The JB's, "Sofistifunk" and "Flight of the Newborn" by Return To Forever and "Eric B. Is President" by Eric B. & Rakim.
    • "Paid in Full" borrows its samples from "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards featuring Siedah Garrett, "Change the Beat" by Fab 5 Freddy featuring Beesie, "When Boys Talk" by Indeep and "Ashley's Roachclip" by The Soul Searchers.
    • "As the Rhyme Goes On" samples "Change the Beat" by Fab 5 Freddy featuring Beeside, "Hold It, Now Hit It" from Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys, "Love's Theme" by Fausto Papetti, "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby" by Barry White and "Funky President" by James Brown.
    • "Chinese Arithmetic" samples "Flick of the Switch" by DC.
    • "Eric B. Is President" goes sample overload thanks to "Funky President" and "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" by James Brown, "The Champ" by The Mohawks, "Over Like a Fat Rat" by Fonda Rae, "Long Red" by Mountain, "Impeach the President" by The Honey Drippers and "Can't Get Away (Special Club "Dub" Mix") by Carol Williams.
  • Shout-Out:
    Me and my guitar go back like the days of RMC's
    Check out my melody!
    If I wasn't then why would I say I am?
  • Serious Business: "I Ain't No Joke".
    Deep concentration, 'cause I'm no comedian
  • Singer Name Drop: "Eric B. Is President".
  • Single Stanza Song: "Paid in Full".
  • Spelling Song: "As the Rhyme Goes On"
    I'm the R the A to the K-I-M
  • Stock Sound Effects: Sounds of splashing water are heard throughout "Chinese Arithmetic".
  • Time Marches On: "Eric B. Is President"
    No tricks in '86!
  • Title Track: "Paid in Full"
    I'm trying to get paid in full