Eric B. & Rakim Say They Never Broke Up, But Explain What Kept Them Apart
Back in March, Eric B. & Rakim announced their first tour together in 25 years, which is happening now. The news came after the legendary pair reunited on-stage in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Paid In Full last July and helped remind us how one of Hip-Hop’s greatest duos dominated the culture. For some, it also dug up questions as to how and why the Long Island, New York duo decided to split after four joint LPs in the first place. The answer? Well, Heads are learning a bit about that now.
During an interview with Rolling Stone‘s Christopher R. Weingarten (one of the pair’s first together in decades), Eric. B & Rakim explained how their split it wasn’t personal; rather it just ran its course. “It’s just like any band,” Eric B. said. “We started out as kids, so first and foremost, we’re family and brothers. I can go not talking to my brother for a year or two years and he’s still my brother. …Regardless to what you hear or what we go through, we’re still family.”
“Me and [Eric B.] didn’t have a problem. We had a business problem,” Rakim followed up, about his Queens counterpart. “The business, it went bad and that’s why the group broke up. We never had a fight before. I never swung at him; he never swung at me. … It was never, never that. But it was just the business went bad and there was a point, at our career and in our life where it was a lot of things going on and I think we just felt it was best to chill for a while. And then, you know, we men, we stubborn.” Neither of the two elaborated on the specific business that compromised the duo following 1992’s Don’t Sweat The Technique, released on their longtime label, MCA Records.
Interestingly, when asked about the original “My Melody” from Paid In Full, Eric B. said it lasted as long as a full Maxell cassette tape, and they had to cut it down (into the nearly seven minutes it ended up being) to fit into the 1987 album.
“I think it’s like one of the old 60-to-90-minute tapes,” Eric said about the classic song’s length. “And it was just the ‘Melody’ kept going on and we had to find a way to edit it to fit down on a record. Rakim rhymed all day on the tape.”
After Don’t Sweat The Technique, each artist went on to focus on their solo careers. Ra has since released three solo albums, including gold-certified The 18th Letter from 1997 while Eric released a solo LP and pursued outside ventures in music and film.
Read the full Rolling Stone Eric B. & Rakim Q&A feature.
#BonusBeat: Footage from the 2017 reunion show at The Apollo: