Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full vs. Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It. Which Is Better?
One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?
“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.
In tracing the current Hip-Hop landscape back to the late 1980s, two of the most influential, archetype albums are Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full and Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It. These LPs presented attitudes, styles, and techniques that are deeply at play now. Rakim and Eric B. blended advanced lyricism and production with demands of upward mobility, and material riches. Across the country, Eazy flexed charming, vice-informed rhymes over Dre and Yella beats, in a way that presented seemingly-authentic Gangsta Rap that refused to take itself too seriously. After each had large Round 1 wins against strong peers, which is supreme? (Click one then click “vote”).
Paid In Full by Eric B. & Rakim
– First Round Winner (against Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary, 75% to 25%)
In mid-1987, Eric B. & Rakim changed the Hip-Hop landscape seismically through their Paid In Full debut. In an era when single syllabic rhymes in 4-4 time were still commonplace, Rakim stepped forth with a complex, but seemingly effortless flow. The Long Island, New York MC took on topics from his DJ, to his financial status, to his skyrocketing career, and made instant-certified dope. Calm and seemingly unaffected, Rakim was an entirely different MC than Run-D.M.C, Boogie Down Productions, or LL Cool J. However, he packed the same A-level of confidence. Meanwhile, DJ Eric B. (with reported help from Ra’ and Marley Marl) laced an album that took ’60s and ’70s records and seamlessly wove them against Rakim’s rhymes. “I Know You Got You Soul” pipe-lined the excitement of James Brown into the late ’80s, with a raw freshness. “I Ain’t No Joke” combined hard, panned drums with horn riffs—bridged together with scratching. Although the duo was using emerging technology, their organic rawness made the universe their studio.
While Eric B. & Rakim knew how to travel backwards musically, they were also trailblazing. “Paid In Full” used drums as effectively as any song in its day, while Rakim took listeners on a journey, accented by effects under Eric. “My Melody” relied on synth-and-scratch in a way that bridged the gap between Hip-Hop, Pop, and New Wave. An eventual platinum album, this 10-track effort was a capsule of soulful Hip-Hop for 1987. Moreover, this LP all but closed the book on new MCs using simple rhymes and metronome flows. As LL Cool J, KRS-One, Kool Moe Dee, Run, DMC, and others wielded supreme status as MCs, Rakim instantly threw his hat in the ring. “Eric is president,” but Ra’ stood tall as crowd commander-in-chief.
Album Number: 1
Released: August 25, 1987
Label: 4th & B’way/Island Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #58 (certified gold, December 1987, certified platinum, July 1995)
Song Guests: N/A
Song Producers: (self), Marley Marl
Eazy-Duz-It by Eazy-E
– First Round Winner (against 2 Live Crew’s 2 Live Crew Is What They Are, 85% to 15%)
Perhaps the P.T. Barnum of Gangsta Rap, it took Eazy-E just over three months to follow N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton with his solo vehicle, Eazy-Duz-It. A spillover from the incredible chemistry between he and producer Dr. Dre, Eric Wright involved his band-mates in varying capacities in his statement introduction. Decades before seemingly all Hip-Hop group members strategically (i.e. immediately) stepped into solos, Eazy helped establish the archetype with a vice-driven thrill ride through Compton. As expected, the trip was filled with violence (“Nobody Move”) and lewdness (“2 Hard Muthas”), but also catchy anthems (“Eazy-er Said Than Dunn”) that the group, up until then, had avoided. N.W.A. might have waved off pop, but Eazy would embrace it.
In his group, Eazy-E—like Flavor Flav, was often a hype-man, to the excitement and distinctiveness of N.W.A. On his own, Eazy proved to be a commanding, energetic and incredibly likable MC. While Ice Cube and The D.O.C. may have penned the rhymes, as MC Ren appeared to rile up the lyrics in a few assisting roles, Eazy knew how to play to the expanding crowd. With his smooth dialect and unmistakable cadence, this debut album presented a self-assured mogul with the world at his fingertips—a South Central James Bond. Politics and sociology were seemingly set aside as compared to Straight Outta Compton, making Eazy-Duz-It the carefree capsule to crossover. This late 1988 album would be an introductory influence to Snoop Dogg and Eminem, the perfect balance of humor, character, and just enough sinister to afford the host to be taken all the way seriously.
Album Number: 1 (solo)
Released: November 22, 1988
Label: Ruthless/Priority Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #32 (certified gold, February 1989; certified platinum, June 1989; certified 2 x platinum September 1992)
Song Guests: N.W.A (MC Ren, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre), MC Ren, The D.O.C.
Song Producers: Dr. Dre, DJ Yella
So what’s the better album? Make sure you vote above.