Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full

Written by Aaron. Posted in Reviews


Published on October 19, 2011 with 3 Comments

These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…


In 1987, Eric. B and Rakim released the revolutionary Paid in Full, complete with dope James Brown/J.B.’s samples and stunningly vivid imagery courtesy of Rakim’s groundbreaking complex rhyme schemes. Rather than tell you how ill he was, Ra showed you, painting pictures with words the way NaS, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, etc. would do in subsequent years as they followed in his footsteps. Ra got the party started with “I Know You Got Soul” and broke down the science of money making with the title track. Ra uses his voice as an instrument the way Miles Davis used the trumpet and Bob Dylan used the harmonica; just the sound of his voice was a hit. For his part, Eric B. provides some cutting edge samples and hard-hitting production.

Now that I’m done fawning over the brilliance, I’ll point out a few flaws people like to forget: the redudancy of the lyrical content and the instrumental tracks. While the instrumentals themselves aren’t bad, they run on too long and would be better suited for a live show. With three of these tracks on a ten-track album, the instrumental factor keeps Paid in Full from a state perfection. Also, while I’m not denying Rakim’s extraordinary lyrical ability (see above), there really are only so many ways you can say you’re the man on the mic. Still, these flaws are far from majors hindrances: the album retains an epic feel on the songs that really hit, and even the ones that don’t are dope. Nearly a quarter century later, Paid in Full can still move the crowd.



Aaron, by day, is a broke-college student and a journalism major with a deep passion for hip-hop culture and music. He hails from Erie, PA and loves all things Pittsburgh and the Sixers. By night, Aaron is the most-feared superhero prowling the streets, looking to apply justice wherever he sees fit. (Note: it is rumored that when Chuck Norris goes to bed at night, he checks his closet for Aaron)

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There are currently 3 Comments on Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. While I applaud you for showing respect, where respect is due, I wish you’ dig just a little bit deeper than just hearing record, and the write two short paragraphs.

    For instance it’s pretty well known by now, that Eric B pretty much didn’t do anything in the group, and it was Rakim himself and Marley Marl who did most of the production and sample finding.

    • No doubt. This one was definitely too brief; I wrote it as a mini-review. The next one will be much more thorough.

  2. i think what these guys are trying to do here shows a passion for their love about the industry.  They got the story line right and are on the right track to do what their are trying to accolmplish.  It takes a lot of effort to find all the right people and materials you need to produce somethin of your dreams.  Good luck to you guys

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