Eric B and Rakim‘s debut album, Paid in Full, was released on July 7, 1987, and is widely regarded as one of the most important hip-hop albums ever made.
Ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Paid in Full exhibits Rakim’s complex internal rhyme schemes and calm demeanour atop infectious James Brown samples. The MC’s style would prove to be game-changing.
In the mid-’80s the loud, boisterous vocal delivery pioneered by Run-D.M.C. — which favoured forceful, elongated syllable pronunciation — was the style du jour. However, the arrival of DJ Eric B and MC Rakim immediately changed everything on the hip-hop landscape, kicking off the genre’s golden age that built on the foundation of hip-hop’s pioneers with advanced sampling and lyrical techniques.