Sunday, July 4, 2010

Eric B. & Rakim - Follow The Leader (1988) (320)

The seminal work from hip hop's most important DJ/MC combination shows growth from their previous album, 1987's Paid in Full. Both are classics but Follow the Leader sees a a more developed and refined approach to lyrical delivery and production. The 18th letter, Rakim Allah, is untouchable. The standout track is "Microphone Fiend", pure hip hop passion. Rakim comparing his need for hip hop to heroin and nicotine addiction and explaining how William Michael Griffin, Jr. became the R. It's funny to picture a young Rakim denied a microphone and then throwing a tantrum:

"I was a fiend, before I became a teen
I melted microphones 'stead of cones of ice cream,
Music-orientated so when hip hop was originated
fitted like pieces of puzzle - complicated,
'Cause I grabbed the mic and tried to say "Yes Y'all"
they tried to take it and say that I'm too small,
Cool, 'cause I don't get upset
I kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug then I jet."

It has to be one of the best hip hop songs, period. This album speaks for itself, and so many Rakim stans can sing his praise better than I can. Rakim took MC'ing in a new direction that became the mold for every rapper after. You've probably heard this before, but if you don't know, now ya know.


1. Follow The Leader
2. Microphone Fiend
3. Lyrics Of Fury
4. Eric B. Never Scared
5. Just A Beat
6. Put Your Hands Together
7. To The Listeners
8. No Competition
9. The R
10. Musical Massacre
11. Beats For The Listeners
12. The R (Remix)
13. Microphone Fiend (Extended Remix)
14. Put Your Hands Together (Fon Force Mix)


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