Old School Rap Duo Taking Stage Once Again

Eric B., left, and Rakim featured on the cover of their 1987 album “Paid in Full.”   (Photo/Facebook/Eric B. and Rakim)

Eric B., left, and Rakim featured on the cover of their 1987 album “Paid in Full.” (Photo/Facebook/Eric B. and Rakim)

By Connor Beach

One of the most influential hip-hop duos of all time, Eric B. and Rakim, announced last year a reunion tour.

For the first time in 20 years Eric B. and Rakin will perform on stage together, and the tour’s stopping in Huntington tonight.

DJ Eric B., born Eric Barrier, and rapper Rakim, born William Griffin, released their first single “Eric B. is President” in 1986.

Eric B. built the track on a bass line sample from blues singer Fonda Rea’s “Over Like A Fat Rat.” Rakim added his style of methodical lyrics, and the single became a hit.

Born in Queens and Wyandanch, respectively, Eric B. and Rakim recorded their debut album “Paid in Full” in New York City. The album reached the top 10 in the U.S. Billboard Top Hip-Hop Album charts in the summer of 1987.

The album was different from the work of most hip-hop artists at the time because Rakim opted for short lyrics that he rapped with a slow flow and a blunt delivery.

Well-known contemporary rappers at the time were known for shouting with high energy, while Rakim delivered his lines with a more methodical and reserved approach.

In 1988 the duo released their second successful album “Follow the Leader,” which peaked at number 22 on the Billboard charts.

The pair collaborated for two more albums,”Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em” in 1990 and “Don’t Sweat the Technique” in 1992, before a legal battle involving the two musicians and their record label MCA resulted the duo dissolving completely.

The duo is credited with evolving hip-hop music in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Rakim expanded on the simple rhyme structures of early ‘80s rap, and implemented a free-rhyme style that often utilized internal rhymes as opposed to end rhymes.

Eric B. is often credited with reviving the art of live turntable mixing in hip-hop records.

For their musical achievements, the duo was named as finalists for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Tonight’s show at The Paramount in Huntington village starts at 8 p.m., with doors opening an hour before. Tickets are $34.50-$64.50 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.