9 Jul 2012

Paid in Full 25


Many of the online articles about Paid in Full being 25 years old this week, have begun with the ‘this makes me feel old’ line of thought.

The fact is, I remember this album coming out but was too young to appreciate it fully. I did however wait in anticipation for – and buy Follow the Leader on the day of release, and by that time had absorbed the classic material on Paid in Full a thousand times over.

This isn’t the place to discuss Rakim’s obvious relevance or contribution to not only rap, but hip hop culture overall. There are countless message boards and sites dealing with the never-ending back and forth of ‘Nas is better than/Biggie is better than/Jay is better than...’. Hell - I'm not even going to link up a YouTube clip. I just wanted to post a dedication to this album and Eric B and Rakim, who were without doubt, a massive part of me discovering who I was throughout my teenage years.

Suffice to say, Paid in Full contains some of the best lines, best rhymes, cadence, flow and proliferation of ideas in the history of hip hop music. And along with the Bomb Squad production on early PE, remains quite literally fresh every time you listen to it. It's so hard to pick just one example – but:

‘I'm not a regular competitor, first rhyme editor, Melody arranger, poet etcetera, Extra events, the grand finale like bonus, I am the man they call the microphonist...’

...nothing that dope could make me feel old.