The entire hip hop landscape was changing as 1990 emerged. Did Eric B. & Rakim keep up with the times or did they get lost in the shuffle? Let's go back in time for their third album.
Release date- May 22, 1990
All songs were produced by Eric B. & Rakim
Let the Rhythm Hit Em
Rakim's streak of awesome, classic openers continue here. This is the first glimpse at a harder Rakim (on the opener no less) and it works. 5 out of 5
This is one of my favorite tracks on the album (probably #4 or #5, respectively) with one of my favorite lines from Rakim: "you won't strike cause you ain't no match". Wow. 5 out of 5
In The Ghetto
Rakim's classic about the ghetto in Brooklyn, New York over a smooth yet rugged beat. 5 out of 5
"See if you could step to this". Naw, you don't want to step to Rakim, especially after hearing this one. 4 out of 5
Eric B. Made My Day
A nice breakbeat with a memorable Run DMC sample included.
Run For Cover
Remember this classic was inexplicably played during Play's party on the movie "House Party"? So do I, and this is one song that was not made for playing at a party, lol, but it's all good. A more lyrically aggressive Rakim was on full display here. "The stage is stompin grounds, run for cover!" I agree. 5 out of 5
Lyrically, Rakim was untouchable and that's displayed on this track. 4 out of 5
Oh yes, another classic, this one a tribute of sorts to women, specifically the "brown skinned women" (which is an automatic thumbs up from me). It also included the line that was sampled in both parts of "NY State of Mind" by my boy Nas, and you know which line I'm referring to! 5 out of 5
Keep Em Eager to Listen
Well Ra, you certainly knew how to keep the people eager to listen, and you did a fine job at it, no question. Dope song. 4 out of 5
Set Em Straight
Good song here, nothing more. 3.5 of out 5
Let the Rhythm Hit Em (12'' vocal version remix)
The lyrics are still the same as the original, but the beat is different, up-tempo, and party ready. Still great. 4.5 out of 5
Not only was this album the darkest (and hardest) thing that Rakim ever made, but it's also the most underrated album of the four albums with Eric B. In my view, it's on par with, but not better, the first two albums. They clearly kept up with the times and this album was definitely not passe in 1990.
Rating- 5 stars