At the risk of sounding like an old git, although probably the term is quite correct, I never got gangster rap or gansta if you prefer. It never appealed, probably because I’m not from da hood. On the other hand this genre of hip-hop sells shit loads and a considerable amount over here in the UK so it must connect with a lot of people not just American inner city Afro-Americans.
I liked the occasional track by Tupac, Biggie Smalls and further back N.W.A but not in the way that I absorbed the hip-hop of the late 80’s and early nineties. I bought everything by Public Enemy, loved a lot of it. The anti-semitism I abhorred. I could understand why Chuck D and crew were angry but the military fatigues and Uzis concerned me. I never went to the show in the Barrowlands but I can’t imagine that there were many in the audience who fit the bill to join the S1W (Security Of The First World)
Even more than Public Enemy I loved the sound of Eric B & Rakim. Eric B’s beats were always sparse and Rakim has got to be the most laid back rapper ever. The first time I heard Paid In Full was Coldcut’s seminal remix of Paid In Full and I was blown away and decided that I had to own it. I went into Glasgow the following weekend and bought the 12″ single from Fopp.
When I got it home, I played the remix 2 or 3 times back to back. I eventually flipped over the record and was more than pleasantly surprised by the original album mix which if anything, is better than the Coldcut’s mix. Everything from the Dennis Edwards sample used as the bass line to the non flashy but amazingly effective scratching just fits together perfectly. Plus we also get to find out Rakim’s favourite food as a bonus.
The other great thing about Eric B & Rakim records were the great remixes to be found on the vinyl, with the hippest of mixers all adding something to the duo’s already class tracks. I think it is due to the sparseness of the originals that leaves a lot of space for remixers to put their stamp on it. Whether that be The Wild Bunch’s take on Move The Crowd or Double Trouble’s sample tastic I Know You Got Soul.
Included here is the late Derek B’s much over looked but none too shabby interpretation of Paid In Full which will always be in the shadow of Coldcut’s groundbreaking mix, which at the time Eric B was rather disparaging about until the “dead presidents” started rolling in.
Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full
Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full (Derek B’s Urban Respray)