One of the icons of the 21st-century hip hop world, 50 Cent is rightly revered as one of rap’s best. A brutal assassin on the mic, 50 was able to deliver rhymes that felt as visceral ad violent as his perceived real life. It was a style of his own and made 50 one of the hottest properties around.
From thereafter, 50 Cent became a huge focal point of hip hop. However, despite his legendary status, the rapper has never been afraid to pay tribute to the pioneers of hip hop who came before him. Whether that’s a doff of the cap to Biggie Smalls or his one-time mentor Eminem, 50 Cent isn’t afraid of giving icons their flowers. When asked about the song that made him want to become a rapper, he was equally happy to heap praise on a star, or should we say stars.
When speaking with NME about the songs which have soundtracked his life, 50made some startling revelations. However, one song on the list was to be expected as 50 picked out the icons Eric B & Rakim as two of his biggest influences, naming their song ‘Juice (Know The Ledge)’ as the one track that motivated him to pick up the mic.
There has never been a more perfect partnership than Eric B and Rakim. The rapping duo were the perfect meeting of man and machine as MC Rakim’s innate talent for rhyming met its match in Eric B’s dizzying DJ skills. It not only made for some killer records like Paid in Full and Follow The Leader but offered some inspiration for the finest rappers of the modern-day.
Often regarded as the crown jewels of the golden generation, the group wouldn’t last long but their mark on hip-hop will be burned on the genre forever. If some duos rely on one half more than the other, Eric B and Rakim is certainly the most balanced act on the list of hip hop’s greatest groups. Smooth as butter and twice as rich, Eric B and Rakim should offer every listener, either first time or seasoned, the kind of emulsifying hip hop fats that only make speakers smile.
About the song ‘The Ledge’, 50 recalled: “It was a song that made me feel like it represented my neighbourhood. Listening to it, I felt like they were painting a picture of where I lived and all the moves you needed to make in order to live on the streets there. The law of the jungle out there. It’s like: ‘Where’s the ledge?’ Where’s the edge of what you can get away with in the hood?”
Listen below to the song that made 50 Cent want to be a rapper, Eric B and Rakim’s ‘Juice (Know The Ledge)’.