What broke up Eric B and Rakim?
(Credit: Eric B & Rakim)

Old School Archives

What broke up Eric B and Rakim?

Eric B & Rakim are known for their legendary 1987 album Paid In Full, which changed the way rappers rhymed and producers made beats moving forward. Rakim is said to be a lyrical pioneer and broke out of hip-hop’s rigid mould concerning rhyme schemes.

Eric B produced catchy beats with fantastic production. His instrumentals made waves with his production style and, along with the likes of Rick Rubin and Man Parrish, encouraged hip-hop producers to widen their search for unique and compelling music to sample. 

The ‘Paid In Full’ duo changed the hip-hop scene with and set a precedent for both lyricism and production. Rakim lyrically attacked the beat with flawless flows and compelling rhyme schemes.

Not only that, but the songs he released were catchy, with amazing production matching the fantastic and ground-breaking lyricism he and Eric B brought to the table.

The duo’s 1987 single ‘Paid In Full’ was one of their most successful singles and was undoubtedly the one that put them on the map, but by 1992, when they released ‘Know The Ledge’, the duo were no longer front and centre of the culture. Many believe that the two split in an angry set of circumstances. However, in an interview with NPR, Rakim explained how the two parted ways.

When asked about what happened to their music relationship, Rakim explained, “I can’t beat around the bush because it would sound stupid. We had three more albums left on the contract, and Eric B. came up with an idea. He said if he’d do a solo joint, I’d do a solo joint, then we get together and do the last joint. Then our contracts would be up, we could negotiate new contracts.”

He continued, “Meanwhile, when he’d do the solo joint, he’d take all the money for that; when I’d do my solo joint, I take all the money for that, get back together new album, new deal. You know, it was money signs. Long story short, Eric B. did his, I signed off and when it was time for me to do mine, he didn’t want to sign off. So that caused a lot of problems.”

He then admitted that he has since matured, stating, “I ain’t gonna front, man, bitter taste in my mouth for a long time. But like I said, I finally matured on that situation and realized it was bigger than us, so we here right now.”

You can watch Rakim’s performance at NPR in the video below.