Search - Eric B & Rakim :: Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader
Eric B & Rakim
Follow the Leader
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

After getting paid in full on their near-perfect 1987 debut, success didn't spoil the legendary Eric B. and Rakim on their 1988 follow-up. A more complete "album" than their previous singles-dominated release, Follow the L...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Eric B & Rakim
Title: Follow the Leader
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Mca
Original Release Date: 7/25/1988
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: East Coast, Gangsta & Hardcore, Old School, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 039405000322, 0394050003129, 039405001312

After getting paid in full on their near-perfect 1987 debut, success didn't spoil the legendary Eric B. and Rakim on their 1988 follow-up. A more complete "album" than their previous singles-dominated release, Follow the Leader still stands as one of the definitive documents of hip-hop's fabled golden age. Though Eric B contributes strong production and two early turntablist blueprints ("Eric B. Never Scared" and "Just a Beat"), this was clearly Rakim's time to shine. His smooth baritone flow never tires, even when the album's energy wanes in the second half. Rakim's verses on the album's first three tracks ("Follow the Leader," "Microphone Fiend," and "Lyrics of Fury") are the stuff of hip-hop legend, and the subject matter rarely strays from the swaggering, chest-thumping template of these three classics. On "Follow the Leader," he confidently boasts "I can take a phrase that's rarely heard / Flip it / Now it's a daily word." He ain't no joke. --Hua Hsu

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CD Reviews

A must for Hip Hop history - Rakim shines
1bigkid | Sherman Oaks, CA United States | 01/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've been listening to Rakim ever since his first album - meaning I bought it when it first came out, not 5 years ago and calling myself a Rakim/Hip Hop fan. Anyone who enjoys Hip Hop and tries to appreciate it for its entirety must get this album. While "Paid in Full" is their most well-known achievement, it is "Follow the Leader" that is Rakim's crowning achievement of lyrical mastery. You won't be able to tell until you listen to other hip hop albums of the same date to appreciate Rakim's style and mastery that were years beyond other artists in his industry compared to the weak lyrics of his peers. The songs "Lyrics of Fury" and "Microphone Fiend" are amongst the most powerful freestyles to have been written, EVER. Look at all the wannabe cartel/Capone gangster rappers there are now. All the rappers claiming to "sip Mo'". It was Rakim who hit it first in his videos, but was smart enough not to keep it for so long to make it a gimmick.While the album does run out of steam towards the end, if you're an old school lover to the fullest, or who enjoys that old Moog, electro-beat sound, then you may enjoy the end just as much as the beginning. Nevertheless, this album is a fantastic bargain and worth the first few songs where Rakim will never be imitated. Listen to "Lyrics of Fury" and think of any other lyricists who might even be able to match him without letting the beats ever overrun him. You'll realize why Rakim is revered as much as he is. If you want something "cool" to listen to, get "Paid in Full" (which you should own already) - but if you're ready to study lyrical mastery, this is it."
Jimmy Garcia | SLC, UT | 08/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rakim is the greatest MC of all time!(my opinion of course) This is one of the dopest Eric B & him ever put together. Rakim's smooth and powerful raps go hand in hand to the insane tracks Eric B. lays down. Overall, its Nothing less than PERFECT!"
Rakim Allah - Mic God
Mike J | Central Coast, CA United States | 03/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The biggest mistake made with people who review albums from Rakim is that they compare them to all his other albums. The idea that any true hip-hopper should "have to" like one Rakim album more than another is foolish. Did Follow the Leader have as big an impact on hip-hop as Paid in Full? Of course not - no one had heard anyone flow like Rakim before or use funk samples as effectively before Paid in Full. Is Paid in Full better than Follow the Leader? Who cares? They are different!!

A better idea would be to compare any Rakim album, take Follow the Leader as example, against any other hip hop album out there. Even albums considered classics in their own right like, say, Straight Outta Compton. As groundbreaking and different as Straight Outta Compton was, it is clearly inferior in terms of lyrical content. Rakim's content takes you deep into the world of street crime, 5% Nation dogma and Divine Mathematics, science, art, history, philosophy, and sociology in a single verse, (see "Follow the Leader"). His meanings are double and triple layered and can literally years of repeated listenings to discipher an entire album. He could spit the most violent and menacing verse in the history of hip-hop and never use a single curse, (see "Lyrics of Fury"). M.C. Ren even admitted that he listened to Rakim when writting his own lyrics for inspiration.

As far as production is concerned, the use of funk samples was pioneered by Eric B and Rakim. Average White Band, Parliament, Funkadelic in addition to the foundational James Brown were used here. But also the influence of jazz musicians like Bob James was clearly visible. This sound was more mature than anything prior to Eric and Ra and does not sound dated by any stretch even today.

Finally you have consistancy. This statement may be blasphemy in the eyes of many but the second half of Straight Outta Compton slipped off. It was more radio friendly and formulaic than the first half. Follow the Leader may have had its hits up front but the content is thick throughout.

Am I jockin Rakim? Yup. You should be too. Grab ahold and start swingin."