The greatest lyricist of all time? You make the call (5 stars)
, January 2, 2009
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When I ask myself questions like - Who's the best emcee on the planet? Who's flow is completely state-of-the-art? Which emcee has the most mic presence? Who's flow is so potent, that it makes your jaw drop in awe? Well, only two names come to mind, and those are KRS-One and Rakim. These two guys are arguably the most influential rappers in the golden age, influencing countless acts to following. Rakim's flow is absolute butter. His rhymes are so alluring, and addictive, that he will keep ALL of your attention on him. If you're looking for a first time purchase by this devastatingly affecting duo, look no further, "Paid In Full" reaches the vertex of their career (and arguably every rap album that came out in 1987). Rakim isn't all this duo has to offer. The just-as-influential DJ/producer, Eric B. possesses more skill on the turntables than any album that came out in 1987 (check out "Chinese Arithmetic"), and still sounds pretty fresh by today's standards (amazingly). That influence is very apparent on the second disc of this fantastic collection. All the remixes are tight as can be. And although Eric B. didn't remix all the tracks, his influence is felt by the number of musicians that did do the mixing.
It's almost impossible to describe how brilliant Rakim rhymes. I'm better off just quoting some of his flows (although that doesn't do much justice for him either, but I'll try). Here's some from "I Ain't No Joke" - "Write a rhyme in graffiti in / Every show you see me in / Deep concentration cuz I'm no comedian". Here's another, "But whatever you do, don't miss one / There'll be another rough rhyme after this one / Before you know it, you're following and fiending / Waiting for the punch-line, to get the meaning". Here's one from my favorite track, "My Melody" - "The rhyme is rugged, at the same time sharp / I can swing off anything, even a string of a harp". Here's one from their most well known "Paid In Full" - "Thinkin' of a master plan / Cuz it ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand / So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent / So I dig deeper but still comin' up with lint / So I start my mission, leave my residence / Thinkin', how could I get some dead presidents?". Here's one from "I Know You Got Soul" - "I start to think, and then I sink / Into the paper like I was ink / When I'm writing, I'm trapped in between the lines / I escape when I finish the rhyme". OK, one more from "Eric B. Is President" - "I came in the door, I said it before / I never let the mic magnetize me no more / But it's biting me, fighting me, inviting me to rhyme / I can't hold it back, I'm looking for the line / Taking off my coat, clearing my throat / My rhyme will be kickin' it until I hit my very last note". I can go on and on and on quoting my favorite lyrics and rhymes from Rakim, but I think I would hit the maximum word usage.
I'm not sure how much more I can tell you. Besides the fact that this is probably my favorite old-school rap album (and by far my favorite from 1987). I just wish I would've discovered it before last year. If you end up buying it, you will think the same. I personally guarantee it.