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Paid in Full (Platinum Edition)

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Album Review

One of the most influential rap albums of all time, Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full only continues to grow in stature as the record that ushered in hip-hop's modern era. The stripped-down production might seem a little bare to modern ears, but Rakim's technique on the mic still sounds utterly contemporary, even state-of-the-art — and that from a record released in 1987, just one year after Run-D.M.C. hit the mainstream. Rakim basically invents modern lyrical technique over the course of Paid in Full, with his complex internal rhymes, literate imagery, velvet-smooth flow, and unpredictable, off-the-beat rhythms. The key cuts here are some of the most legendary rap singles ever released, starting with the duo's debut sides, "Eric B. Is President" and "My Melody." "I Know You Got Soul" single-handedly kicked off hip-hop's infatuation with James Brown samples, and Eric B. & Rakim topped it with the similarly inclined "I Ain't No Joke," a stunning display of lyrical virtuosity. The title cut, meanwhile, planted the seeds of hip-hop's material obsessions over a monumental beat. There are also three DJ showcases for Eric B., who like Rakim was among the technical leaders in his field. If sampling is the sincerest form of admiration in hip-hop, Paid in Full is positively worshipped. Just to name a few: Rakim's tossed-off "pump up the volume," from "I Know You Got Soul," became the basis for M/A/R/R/S' groundbreaking dance track; Eminem, a devoted Rakim student, lifted lines from "As the Rhyme Goes On" for the chorus of his own "The Way I Am"; and the percussion track of "Paid in Full" has been sampled so many times it's almost impossible to believe it had a point of origin. Paid in Full is essential listening for anyone even remotely interested in the basic musical foundations of hip-hop — this is the form in its purest essence. [This album was also released in a "Platinum Edition" featuring a bonus disc of remixes.]

Customer Reviews


Ahh memories.... This was the second album i ever bought back in 1988, and it still gets a heavy rotation on my sound system. Rakim's lyrical ability is possibly the best of all MC's. I know some people will dispute that with me, but when you look and hear the content of what Rakims on about, it makes sense. Props to Eric B as well, one of the greatest turntablists of all time. If this album is in your collection, then you can sleep soundly. Paid in full, Move the Crowd, My Melody, I Know You Got Soul are all dope tunes.

DJ JSmyth

Most agreeable; absolute classic. Wi-wic-wi-wi-wi-wicked "Thinkin of a master plan, now check this out. Yo Eli! Turn up the bass man!"
;) Love it. Used to sing along and do the hand gestures to it as well, such as the ones other rappers do like the Peace sign, DJ scratch etc. now available on my iPod?! Brilliant!


Eric B. makes the hot beat and Rakim's lyrics are mind blowing. My Melody is one of the best songs I have heard and this is a must have Album from the powerful Hip-Hop Duo


Formed: 1985 in Queens, New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s

They never had a mainstream hit of their own, but during rap's so-called golden age in the late '80s, Eric B. & Rakim were almost universally recognized as the premier DJ/MC team in all of hip-hop. Not only was their chemistry superb, but individually, each represented the absolute state of the art in their respective skills. Eric B. was a hugely influential DJ and beatmaker whose taste for hard-hitting James Brown samples touched off a stampede through the Godfather of Soul's back catalog that continues...
Full Bio