Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 14: Eric B. & Rakim - Follow The Leader (1988)

After releasing the groundbreaking classic "Paid In Full" in 1987, Eric B. & Rakim returned one year later with ANOTHER classic in the form of "Follow The Leader". So without further delay, let's begin today's session!


Release date- July 25, 1988




All tracks were produced by Eric B. & Rakim


1. Follow The Leader

Sample check


Sample check #2


Sample check #3
 

Words cannot describe this EXCELLENT song, one of the greatest album openers in hip hop history. It's also my #1 favorite video of all time. You can't do anything BUT follow the leader (Rakim) on this one.
Grade- A+




2. Microphone Fiend

Sample check
 
We follow this up with ANOTHER classic, as Rakim smoothly and expertly professes his love (and need) for the microphone in his hand. Simply amazing.
Grade- A+



3. Lyrics of Fury

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Sample check #2

 
Look at the title of that song and say it to yourself. Then ask yourself, "wow, is that what I get on this song?" The answer is an astounding "yes indeed", and more. 
Grade- A+
 
4. Eric B. Never Scared

Sample check
 


Sample check #2

 
The first of a few breakbeat "intermissions" on this album.
Grade- A+




5. Just A Beat

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It may be just a beat, but it's a DAMN good, old school one.
Grade- A+




6. Put Your Hands Together
  
Rakim's lyrics and this beat makes you do just that, put your hands together. 
Grade- A+

7. To The Listeners

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Although it's to the listeners, it's not as effective as the previous songs. Still very good though.
Grade- B+



8. No Competition

Sample check
 
I respect Rakim for what he was going for here, but there definitely WAS competition at that point in 88. There's NO competition nowadays, but that's another story. Dope song though. 
Grade- A

  
9. The R

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About what you would expect from the "18th letter", forever. "You doin it wit the R!" 
Grade- A+



10. Musical Massacre

Sample check
 
I love the beat to this. It definitely is a musical massacre and Rakim does a good job by keeping up with the beat. 
Grade- A+



11. Beats for the Listeners
We close this great album with an instrumental reprise, if you will, of "To The Listeners".
Grade- A

This is NO sophomore jinx, and while it's nowhere near better than "Paid In Full", it still features Rakim at his very best on the mic, plus it was successful, reaching certified Gold status. You can't ask for more than that. Timeless


Final grade- A+

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