Last Friday night in Harlem, New York dozens of hip-hop artists joined together on stage to give respect to the legendary duo Eric B. & Rakim.
Artists like Flavor Flav, DJ Kool Herc, Mase, Ice T, Fat Joe and dozens more performed at the Apollo Theater for the 30th anniversary of the duo’s first album, “Paid in Full“, an album that helped mold hip-hop.
The sounds of Eric B (realtime Eric Barrier, now 51) and the lyricism and rhyme of Rakim (real name William Michael Griffin, Jr., now 49) was captured in 1987 when the album was released.
The show wasn’t just to pay homage to the duo, but the first time the pair had united, performed or anything in more than 20 years.
“People have been trying to get me and Eric together for a long time,” Rakim told The Post in an exclusively. “It’s something that I didn’t think would even happen, but to have our peers and fans embrace us like that made it all worth it.”
After the duo released “Paid in Full“, they released three more albums and even hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1992 with their song “Know the Ledge,” the song that was also featured in the movie “Juice.”
The two had a dispute in the mid-’90’s regarding proposed solo albums. “The business part of it wen bad,’ said Rakim. “Back in the day, I felt that [Eric] didn’t keep it 100 [honest] with me. It wasn’t handled right from a friend or a business standpoint, so I went my separate way and convinced myself I would never look back. But eventually, I came to realize that it was bigger than just me and Eric.”
Even thought the two were on the outs, they still managed to inspire many many others and even reached legendary status.
Rakim is referred as “the God MC” for his lyric abilities. Rakim touched on the time that Kanye West quoted Rakim when he appeared on the Ellen show saying, ““I Ain’t No Joke, I used to let the mic smoke. Now I slam it… “
He said, “When I saw that, it definitely put a smile on my face.”
The Apollo show will eventually be released in a full version as a documentary and concert film. They also plan to reissue “Paid in Full” this year too.
“I want to maintain the name of Eric B & Rakim and keep it on a pedestal, not drive [it] into the ground,” he says. “You have to handle it with care. I want us to exist in hip-hop for another 30 years.”
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