18th Letter (Always and Forever) - Rakim, Griffin, William
It's Been a Long Time - Rakim, Barrier, Eric
Remember That - Rakim, Franklin, Rodney
The Saga Begins - Rakim, Griffin, William
Guess Who's Back - Rakim, B., Eric
Stay a While - Rakim, Franklin, Rodney
New York (Ya Out There) - Rakim, Chandler, B.
Show Me Love - Rakim, Griffin, William
The Mystery (Who Is God?) - Rakim, Davis, J. 
When I'm Flowin - Rakim, Griffin, William
It's Been a Long Time [Suave House Mix] - Rakim, Griffin, William
Guess Who's Back [Alternative Mix] - Rakim,
Outro - Rakim,
Up 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" 1 billion times on t... more »he chalkboard. In a rap scene where it's hard enough to stick around and nearly impossible to come back, hip-hop's most legendary MC has returned 11 years after his brilliant debut (and five years since 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 The 18th Letter looks like a measured commercial success. The deluxe, double-CD version contains a retrospective of Rakim's career; also worth checking out is the reissue of Eric B. & Rakim's seminal Paid in Full. --Roni Sarig« less
Up 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" 1 billion times on the chalkboard. In a rap scene where it's hard enough to stick around and nearly impossible to come back, hip-hop's most legendary MC has returned 11 years after his brilliant debut (and five years since 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 The 18th Letter looks like a measured commercial success. The deluxe, double-CD version contains a retrospective of Rakim's career; also worth checking out is the reissue of Eric B. & Rakim's seminal Paid in Full. --Roni Sarig
"Aiyo, Rakim is the greatest rapper of all time, and best believe his rhymes penetrate the mind, his accurate word manipulation is superb/plus he has the capability to kill the mic with a verb/ his word is bond, so when he drops its always the bomb/ my first dope rhyme was inspired by the "R"/ he took me to a far elevated height/ he's raw, rough,cool, his knowledge is the light/ all y'all critics aint actually felt this man/ cos if ya really feelin him then you know he's the man/ ra should keep droppin those deep phrases/it makes us to get down and think before we make hits/
Thats my word for Rakim Allah. The Universal Lyrical God. Peace."
Its The R
Nuisance | Miami | 01/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rakim breaking up with Eric B might have been sad for some people to take but this album is far from weak. This album falls short of a classic but it's still a lot better than the tepid release that follows(The Master). How can you listen to tracks like The 18th Letter, It's Been A Long Time and Guess Who's Back and say that that's not vintage Rakim? So what Eric B is not producing a track. DJ Premier laces him with heat that he delivers on(It's Been A Long Time and New York). Pete Rock laces Rakim Allah with some dope beats on The Saga Begins and When I'm Flowin. Even the ever so underrated southern producer T-Mix hooks Rakim up with a tight beat on Its Been A Long Time(Suave House Mix). Rakim gets nostalgic on Remember That. New York(Ya Out There)is Rakim's anthem for NYC. Rakim still finds time to deliver a gem in the form of The Mystery(Who Is God?). The only two songs that are skippable is Stay A While and Show Me Love. These two tracks are chick records that should have never been attempted. Bottom Line: The 18th Letter is the last great release that Rakim has given you. Even without Eric B, Rakim proved with this album that he can make a great album without him. The production was on point and so was Rakim's rhymes. So what's the fuss about? Exactly. Nostalgia strikes again! Standouts: THE 18TH LETTER, IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME(original and Suave House records version), THE SAGA BEGINS, GUESS WHO'S BACK, THE MYSTERY(WHO IS GOD?) and WHEN I'M FLOWIN."
Timeless Apparition | Somewhere | 09/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"He is known as a rap god, legendary MC, one of the greats...ect ect...The 18th Letter proves this with a vengence...while he got powerful songs like The Mystery , there are romantic songs like Stay Awhile...whomever enjoys rap/hip-hop....put down the ham sandwich and get this album NOW! and for all you new hiphop heads... Think the Ying Yang Twins are great or Ludacris is the top of the game now...or ugh Jay-Z....then you folks need a good dose of Rakim to cure that bad taste in flow disease..."
All In All, its good
Timeless Apparition | 08/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My friend who hates rap gave this Cd to me. He was going to torch it but he remembered that I like rap, so he saved them for me. This was the first of four Cds I listened to because I was familiar with Rakim. I thought it was a good CD. I mean theres a few I don't really care for such as It's Been A Long Time. That songs OK, but its not the best. I also don't prefer the skits and this album is full of them. I just ignore those and listen to the songs. But Rakim is a great MC. So if your looking for a good rap CD, go ahead and pick it up. Youll like it. Again, not a perfect CD but it should hold ya for a while."
Rakim - The Microphone Wiz
Israeli MC | Israel | 11/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gangsta Rap has taken over the music scene since the early 90's, and Hip Hop faded since then. Rakim revolutionized the art of MCing, with puting raw and complex lyrics with more then one rhyming sylables. "Paid In Full" might be known as one of those records that set the bar way higher for emerging MC's. On this record, Rakim delivers what he is known for - skills. The production ranges from amazing to OK to boring. But Rakim's lyrics keeps the listener's attention. A problem with this album is that there are five skits, and all of them seem to be useless. I would recomened this album to the lovers of Hip Hop and for the people who can appreciate skills. 1. Intro - The intro is pretty cool, its 11 seconds and has a person asking Rakim: "What are you giving them?" and Rakim replies, "Skillz". 5/52. The 18th Letter - Rakim's lyrics are simply stunning, as he never looses his creativity and rhymes with multiple sylables. The production is tight, and this is definatly one of those joints that you can't resist listening to, once the Cd is in. 5/53. Skit - Another few seconds of an interview. I think that this was sort of useless. 1/54. Its Been A Long Time - Hot, hot, hot. Rakim murders the mic. The beat is mad tight. 4.5/55. Remember That - The beat is sort of messed up, there is no orginized melodic line, so production is OK. The lyrics is as usual, nice! 3/56. The Saga Begins - Hot scratches and moody-dark type of beat. The lyrics are amazing. Definatly a stand out track. 5/57. Skit - Another useless interview piece, but has a message. 2/58. Guess Who's Back - The absoulute best track on this album. The production is amazing, the lyrics is amazing, flow is like the Nile. 5/59. Stay A While - Has a fat bassline. A club song with no commercial appeal. Its refreshing for this type of album. The lyrics go down a knotch, I guess Rakim was getting a little lazy with this one. The Hook is hot though. 4/510. New York - The beat is horrible. The scratching is worthless, but Rakim helps to redeem the track. 3/511. Show Me Love - Echoing vocals of a female singer and a laid back type of beat. Rakim's lyrics are very intellegent and creative. 4.5/512. Skit - ANOTHER piece of interview, has a message, but quite usless. 2/513. The Mystery (Who Is God) - The best beat on this album. Very thoughtful and intelegent lyrics. This joint is like a fresh breath for Hip Hop. Creativity and originality on this one. 5/514. When I'm Flowin - The beat is on point, and Rakim MURDERS it NEW YORK style...crazy ish. 4/515. Its Been A Long Time (Remix) - The original is better, this has a west coast type of feel to it with a new york twist. 3/516. Guess Who's Back (Remix) - Not too different from the original. See original17. Outro - A peice of an interview, but very powerful! 5/5Overall: 4/5."