UpNorthTrips Presents The 10s | Thinking of a Master Plan: Paying Homage In Full
In the Summer of 1987, the sounds of Eric B. & Rakim ‘s Paid In Full blasted out of boomboxes on front stoops to the trunks of every boxed-out Beemer or tricked-out Benz from Westchester to Wyandanch. Without a doubt, Ra’s magical visual wordplay and machine gun cadence in unison with Eric B’s cuts helped further hip-hop’s growing reputation as a legit art form. In addition to the music, the trendsetting duo’s fresh fashion styles ushered in a new look of backwards Kangol hat-wearing, truck jewel-rockin’, flashy Dapper Dan-designed outfits. Through time, their influence reached other levels, from inspiring film titles to providing namesakes to the next generation of rappers (A$AP Rocky’s real name is Rakim, named after the God MC).
Today marks the 25th anniversary of Paid In Full ‘s release. To celebrate this quarter century milestone , UpNorthTrips has created this mix composed of 10 tracks by other artists that utilize some element of PIF — whether it be a sample or a Rakim quotable — to show hip-hop’s gratitude towards such a classic album.
Buckshot — “No Joke/Follow Me”
Album: Funkmaster Flex – 60 Minutes of Funk: The Mix Tape Volume II
Breakdown: The BDI MC pays homage by performing a cover of a E and Ra classic, but adds his own Boot Camp Click twist by coming with his own lyrics, referencing The R’s OG lines only in spots.
Sample Source: The beat from “I Ain’t No Joke.”
Nine — “Any Emcee”
Album: Nine Lives
Breakdown: Any true ’90s head can easily tell you about Nine’s breakthrough hit, “Wutcha Want?” However, I’d bet that only real true hip-hop fiends could name this follow-up single. This slept-on joint by the Bronx-bred, rugged voiced MC features Rakim’s vocal snippet over a sample of The Spinner’s “I’ll Be Around.”
Sample Source: “Any MC that disagree with me wave your arm” from “My Melody.”
Big Pun ft. Prodigy & Inspectah Deck — “Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)”
Album: Capital Punishment
Breakdown: On Pun’s debut album, the Bronx representative recruited boro reps from both Q-U and Shaolin to round out his Triboro trilogy. The RZA-produced track opens with a classic R sample and sets a sinister tone right away. Each MC crushes their respective verses, making it hard to truly pick a favorite one.
Sample Source: “Wake you up, and as I stare in your face you seem stunned” from “I Ain’t No Joke.”
Common ft. Canibus — “Making a Name For Ourselves”
Album: One Day It’ll All Make Sense
Quotable: In ’97 everyone and their mother wanted a Canibus verse. (Yes, this is pre-rapper-turnt-actor, Common, teamed up with pre-alien abduction Canibus .) Now, if memory serves correctly, Com was one of the first to secure ‘Bis as a feature on their album. The result was this reasonably dope, now rarely-spoken-about No ID-laced gem in which the duo trade verses back and forth.
Sample: “Catch another sucker duck MC out there” from “My Melody.”
Cormega — “Therapy”
Album: The True Meaning
Quotable: The last cut on Cormega’s sophomore album is a combined element of a Chaka Khan sample and a Rakim sample. Wait…what? Yep, Mega Montana gets busy over a beat constructed from Chaka’s “Stronger Than Before,” while the hook is crafted around scratched Rakim vocals.
Sample: “Just listen to the man on the mic” from “As The Rhyme Goes On.”
Mos Def — “Hip Hop”
Album: Black on Both Sides
Breadown: Mos’ debut album featured a collection of first-rate producers. This Diamond D-produced banger contains an ill horn sample, a crazy bassline and dope drums. The hook is made up of cuts that include vocals by Ra, as well as MC Shan, OC and a bunch of other rappers, proving what a criminally underrated producer Diamond D is.
Sample Source: “Inside my hand” from “Paid In Full.”
Mic Geronimo ft. Ja-Rule, DMX, & Jay-Z — “Time To Build”
Album: The Natural
Quotable: Before any of them were household names, Mic Geronimo grabbed up a young trio of new jack MCs from NYC and threw ’em on his debut release. The track, also produced by a young up-and-comer, is credited to DJ Irv (later known as Irv Gotti). Seventeen years later, it would be interesting to hear what these four cats would sound like together on a reunion record. However, I’m sure Jay-Z would return none of their calls.
Sample Source: “Its Time To Build” from “Eric B. Is President.”
Ice T — “Lifestyles of The Rich and Infamous” (DJ Premier Remix)
Album : O.G. Original Gangster
Breakdown: On this rare DJ Premier remix, Primo flips up Ice-T’s original song like only he can and then drops the drums to an Eric B. & Rakim classic for four bars for Ice to rip over.
Sample Source: The beat from “I Ain’t No Joke.”
Lord Finesse ft. Sadat X, Large Professor & Grand Puba — “Actual Facts”
Album: The Awakening
Breakdown: Lord Finesse’s credentials as an MC and a producer are unfuckwitable. Whether it’s solo joints or guest verses, The Funky Man never disappoints. He has been featured on some excellent posse cuts, but this one is easily one of my personal favorites as Finesse and crew murk the Jesse West-produced cut (which was featured as a hidden track).
Sample Source: “This is actual fact, it’s not an act, it’s been proven” from “Move The Crowd.”
DJ Shadow ft. Gift of Gab — “Entropy”
Album: Send Them/Entropy (Hip Hop Reconstruction from the Ground Up)
Breakdown: “Entropy” is described as an 18-minute “sound collage,” divided into seven parts. The section highlighted here is the third part, titled “Count and Estimate.” This is the only part with lyrics as Shadow is joined by Bay Area MC and Quannum Projects representer, Gift of Gab.
Sample Source: The beat from “Eric B Is President.”