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18th Letter / Book of Life (Greatest Hits)
18th Letter / Book of Life (Greatest Hits)
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #2

Back in hip-hop heaven, once Lateef and Lyrics Born got finished kicking Puff Daddy's ass they'd send him to Rakim's cloud, where Rakim would have him write, "I am very sorry for impersonating a rapper" one billion times o...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Rakim
Title: 18th Letter / Book of Life (Greatest Hits)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Umvd Labels
Original Release Date: 11/4/1997
Release Date: 11/4/1997
Album Type: Limited Edition
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: East Coast, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 601215311129, 0601215311129

Back in hip-hop heaven, once Lateef and Lyrics Born got finished kicking Puff Daddy's ass they'd send him to Rakim's cloud, where Rakim would have him write, "I am very sorry for impersonating a rapper" one billion times on the chalkboard. In a rap scene where it's hard enough to stick around and nearly impossible to comeback, hip-hop's most legendary MC has returned eleven years since his brilliant debut (and five years he split from partner Eric B.). Amazingly, he's lost none of his skill and even gained wisdom with maturity. Even more amazing, 1997's 18th Letter, a double CD that's half new and half retrospective, looks like a measured commercial success. --Roni Sarig

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CD Reviews

4 on the strength of the greatest hits
MarvelousMarla | Way down in Dixie | 12/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have to admit that I don't much listen to the newer work "The 18th Letter" because I am too busy nodding to the greatest hits on the second CD. I was glad to see Rakim attempt a comeback, but alas the industry has changed. Wisdom isn't respected anymore. It's all about the ice and the loot now. In that sense, I am relieved to see that he does not fit in the current scene. Like one of the previous reviewers already said, Ra does not sound the same here as when he was young and hungry. I don't hear any instant classics on the new set, whereas the older stuff is still hot.As for those who claim that Rakim has not contributed anything to hip hop, you obviously have no knowledge of the art. When Ra came out in the mid 80's hip hop was still a fairly new phenomenon amd RunDMC were the hottest acts out. Now RunDMC had good beats and party lyrics, but they weren't really talking about anything substantial. They were middle class kids from Queens, indisputably talented, but Rakim came out from a whole other place, the streets. Rakim came out dropping the jewels -- knowledge laid over beats. For sure, he dabbled in some party music and gangersterism too -- spinning tales of street life that no doubt influenced Big and countless others -- but on the whole Rakim's contributions to hip hop were intelligent lyrics and a tight delivery. Ra is the greatest of all time, not because of record sales -- white kids in the burbs weren't buying his music back in the day -- but because he is a pioneer. This man had hit after hit. "Microphone Fiend," "Eric B for President" "My Melody" "Move the Crowd" "Paid in Full" and my favorite "I aint no joke." Asking what he has contributed to hip hop is like asking what Muhammad Ali contributed to boxing. If it were possible to pit Rakim in his prime against some of these so-called rappers, there would be no doubt. How many of these kids out here bobbing their heads to Lil Bow Wow even know that a verse from "Thank You" is a homage to "Paid in Full?" You can have love for the new stuff without disrespecting the veterans, the ones who paved the way in this rap game. Rap wasn't always on MTV. Rappers weren't always invited to perform at the Superbowl and on awards show. It was a whole different world 15 years ago.There is room for everyone for sure, but calling Tupac, Big and Jigga the greatest of all time is tantamount to praising the student over the teacher. Not real logical is it?"
The Greatest?
JayCoolbreeze2 | Lawton, OK | 07/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before multi million dollar contracts or public acceptance of rap,there were the pioneers. For a moment in time there were none greater than Rakim.
He is the master word smith whose undeniable influence upon hip hop shaped a generation of talented artist. A forefather to the likes of ;2pac,Nas,Canibus,Biggie,Big Pun, and even Eminem. Through ingenious word play and clever metaphor, Rakim built the bridge for all MC's to cross.
This double CD embodies Rakims greatest works and is a welcome add to any collective.
Disc one is "The 18th Letter", which showcases the masters maturity and still vibrant wisdom. His evident fondness for the past and personal reflections are displayed here with great effect. We reminisce along with the master on cuts such as "Remember That", and "Its Been A Long Time". Then journey with him on the spiritual ode "Mystery (Who Is God)". The production by Pete Rock and DJ Premier is subdued in contrast to Eric Bs hard breaks and samples. Which perfectly matches Rakims maturity and serves to illustrate how far he has come.
Disc two is "The Book Of Life", which is a collection of Rakims greatest hits. An apt title for a greatest hits collection for conceivably Rakim breathed life into the art for all new artist to prosper. Here we are rewarded with such stellar classics as "Microphone Fiend, I Aint No Joke, and the indelible "Eric B. Is President". This two disc set serves as an enduring testament to the greatest mc of all time. I highly recomend this album."
Yove got some nerve!
JayCoolbreeze2 | 03/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i saw that a reviewer a little bit below me on February 13, 2006 said that Rakim was awful! What is that about! He even has the nerve to say that Jeezy is a better rapper than Rakim! That is just a joke! Jeezy is one of the most generic and worst rappers out there today! Rakim was one of the first great rappers, and any rap expert would say that he is one of the top 5 easily. Every song on the compilation is a classic! Ive only heard a couple of songs on the 18th Letter disc, but they were great! That guy has no right to say that Rakim sucks, because he has amazing lyrics, great flow, songs that mean something, and eric b. gave him great beats when they were together. Its people like that guy that cause rap to be in the situation that it is in today. Oh, and by the way, he also gave the Black Star album 1 star (another classic). Just get this cd, and don't listen to people like him, because they have no idea what good music is!"