Eric B. & Rakim’s Seminal “Paid In Full” Album Turns 30

Hip Hop doesn’t exist without “Paid In Full”.

There is no Hip Hop master plan that has ever been quite as unique or everlasting as the one formulated by two young brothers from Long Island 30 years ago. Through their imagination, heart, integrity, truthfulness and musical innovation that they gave us one of the most iconic albums of all time: the classic Eric B. & Rakim project “Paid In Full”.

WATCH: The Shadow League’s “Paid in Full” 30 Year Tribute:

[jwplayer 0W09bs43-Stkj2wzN]


Between the incorporation of some of the flyest looped samples on planet Earth and the visionary rhyme flow that would have Rakim literally changing the way rappers delivered a verse, Eric B. & Rakim would both find themselves on G.O.A.T. lists for generations to come as a result of the Paid In Full Album.

The Hip Hop miracle of an album was created in only one week. Eric B has been quoted as saying that if you go back and listen, you will see how short the bars actually are. The words and delivery were so on point that it seems no one ever really thought about the abbreviated lyrics in that way.

Rakim has backed up this claim by explaining that  he wrote the songs in about an hour and then went into the booth and read from the paper. The classic project that we all celebrate to this day may not even have been Rakim’s 100% effort. Imagine that!

Originality was the name of the game when it came to Paid In Full. Whether you are speaking of the cut up instrumentals or the incorporation of never before heard loops, the project wanted for nothing when it came to a fresh perspective and eclectic style. The incorporation of Rakim’s spiritual journey sent shock waves through the Hip Hop community. He wasn’t just rockin’ the party, he was educating hearts and minds. And a thirsty Hip Hop populace drank it all in.

Through spirituality, awe-inspiring scratching and instrumentation, looped awesomeness and verbal supremacy, Paid In Full raised the bar for future emcees. And its because of this that we still celebrate its utter excellence 30 years later.

Whether they were moving crowds, doing Chinese arithmetic, running for high office, thinking and planning masterfully or letting people know they weren’t a joke, Eric B. & Rakim changed the very way that Hip Hop was consumed and digested.

And we all are still coming back to the table for more.

Back to top