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View Full Version : Eric B. & Rakim - production mysteries and my take on it


claaa7
09-04-2010, 04:56 AM
i love all 4 of Eric B. & Rakim's albums, true school shit to the fullest. Groundbreaking lyricism and production but as Guru once stated (on a totally different topic) the ?uestion remains... who the fuck REALLY produced these joints? I did alot of study on this subject over the last year or so and here's what i came up with:


PAID IN FULL
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e1/RakimPIF.jpg
People believe Marley Marl produced the bulk of this and Eric B. did the cuts (remember there's even 3 instrumentals on here with just DJ wizardry on them). Eric B. outraged in an interview about Marley Marl getting the credit for being the producer on "My Melody" and "Eric B. is President" when according to him he was only the engineer. Something like "I knew what records i wanted to have and sounds in there but i didn't know how to work the technical shit so Marley and MC Shan did that but i brought the samples". In these days that would make Marley Marl and MC Shan the producer and Eric B. the co-producer. But if Eric. B didn't know how to work the technical shit who the hell "engineered" the rest of the album? The album sleeve says Patrick Adams but that sleeve also says that Marley was the "remixer" of those tracks mentioned above.

In Brian Coleman's book "Rakim Told Me", Rakim tells Coleman how in fact Eric didn't make most of the production on their debut. "While Marley Marl mixed down alot of it, most of the beats and scratches we hear on the album is actually courtesy of 'The R' himself!


FOLLOW THE LEADER
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/35/Eric_B_Rakim-Follow_the_Leader_%28album_cover%29.jpg
Their sophmore LP might not have been as groundbreaking but to me it sounds even better and more professional, it still says Written & Produced by Eric B. & Rakim but it also says "all music played by Stevie Blass Griffin" (which also is credited for playing the music on "Move the Crowd" from the debut). there's alot of samples on here so i guess that means the few live instruments used was played by him, anyone know who he is BTW? Once again Patrick Adams is the engineer, but just check how incredible the Jimmy Castor Bunch's "Just Begun" sample is utilized on "Musical Massacre" for example - that's definitely the work of an incredibly talented hip-hop producer.

I heard alot of rumours about Mark The 45 King actually ghost-producing alot of "Follow The Leader" and sound-wise it does make sense since he was one of the best producers of that era (plus he has a remix for "The R" and "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" so there definitely was a relationship, and the mixes both sound like F.T.L. material). Thing is i have never ever been able to find any concrete information about this ANYWHERE besides rumours so if anyone got a link to either Ra or 45 King or some studio session engineer saying so somewhere please let me know.


LET THE RHYTHM HIT 'EM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/53/Let_It_Hit_Em.png
This one is a little clearer since it's been revealed from several sources (including Large Professor, Nas, Rakim, people close to Paul C, etc.) that Paul C was contacted by Rakim to be the engineer of the "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em". As already stated most of those engineers in those days (especially Paul C from what i read about his work) would be credited as the main producer today. From an amazing and in depth article on Paul C i learned the following:

* Paul C produced "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" with Rakim,
(Paul hooked up the Commodore's loop as well as the drums while Rakim added the keyboards from a Bob James song).
* Paul C produced all of "Run For Cover"
* Paul C produced all of "In The Ghetto"

Paul C passed away during the making of the album, but his protogé who had attented most of the studio sessions continued the production on the rest of the album. An article in XXL on Large Pro claimed he ended up producing the bulk of "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em", so we can assume that the remaining 7 songs on the album was produced by Large Professor and Rakim (possibly with some input from Eric. B LOL).


DON'T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6a/Don%27t_Sweat_the_Technique.jpg
The final album from the duo is the hardest to find any concrete information on the production tip on from my experience. To me alot of it sounds like a continuation of "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" which makes me assume Large Professor played a large role in crafting the sound.

The sleeve says "Produced by Eric. B & Rakim" and even "All programming by Eric. B & Rakim" but it also says "Production Coordinators: Large Professor, Kerwin Young and Richard Sims". It's possible that Rakim produced alot of this album, as he must have learned alot of production techniques working with Paul C, Large Professor, Marley Marl and The 45 King (later beats credited to him like "Long Island" on 'The Master' LP sounds great). Large Professor and Kerwin Young (who's an associate of The Bomb Squad who also produced for early Mobb Deep) definitely was involved in the production somehow tho, possibly sitting down with Ra and Eric B. and guide them for the programming but that's just a guessing. Long ass and nerdy post (haha) but this is something that's been bugging me and it'll be intersting to hear you're take on it.

fatboybrandon
09-04-2010, 06:26 AM
The Eric B & Rakim albums are interesting because they show a lineage of production duties and ideas passed down from one groundbreaking producer to another like none other series of Hip Hop albums from a group. Kool G Rap has said similar things about most the ideas of his 1st LP coming from him giving records to Marley to put together.

If you read magazines like Wax Poetics and enough golden era producer/engineer interviews you'll hear engineers say that an artist would come to a studio session with records to sample and the engineer would have a large hand in programming or putting the beat together based on the artist's vision. So the actual production credits became ambiguous due to the number of people involved.

Bob Power helped De La & Prince Paul assemble their samples from records they brought ot their sessions, here's an interview:

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/video-archive/lectures/bob_power__it_always_takes_longer

If you're the type to dream about who did what that's fine as a listener, I personally choose not to speculate unless I know someone within the circle of people from those sessions in real life, or there's an interview out where a participant gives specifics.

djskillz
09-04-2010, 07:49 AM
I think that's one of the great things about Eric B and Rakim albums is the mystery on the production side. Whatever the case, they're four of the best hip hop albums of all time. No matter who produced it.

CharlesJones
09-04-2010, 11:01 AM
DJskillz, nice picture of Goodie Mob. Only Eric B and Rakim albums i like is Paid In Full and Don't Sweat The Technique. Follow The Leader and Let The Rhythm Hit Em albums i didn't like that much. It trips me out that Rakim is such a ill mc but his beats aren't that good. That's why i don't like his solo albums and i'm kinda skeptical about hearing his last album The Seventh Seal because i got a feeling the beats aren't good.

djskillz
09-04-2010, 11:10 AM
^thanks.

beautifulrock
09-04-2010, 11:13 AM
Good stuff. A lot is 2 words.

pmack215
09-04-2010, 12:04 PM
claaa7, you ARE the fucking KING!!!!!!!!!!!

REAL hiphop heads appreciate your contributions!

claaa7
09-05-2010, 04:34 AM
The Eric B & Rakim albums are interesting because they show a lineage of production duties and ideas passed down from one groundbreaking producer to another like none other series of Hip Hop albums from a group. Kool G Rap has said similar things about most the ideas of his 1st LP coming from him giving records to Marley to put together.

If you read magazines like Wax Poetics and enough golden era producer/engineer interviews you'll hear engineers say that an artist would come to a studio session with records to sample and the engineer would have a large hand in programming or putting the beat together based on the artist's vision. So the actual production credits became ambiguous due to the number of people involved.

Bob Power helped De La & Prince Paul assemble their samples from records they brought ot their sessions, here's an interview:

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/video-archive/lectures/bob_power__it_always_takes_longer

If you're the type to dream about who did what that's fine as a listener, I personally choose not to speculate unless I know someone within the circle of people from those sessions in real life, or there's an interview out where a participant gives specifics.

i agree with you fully Brandon, all the Eric B. & Rakim albums are incredible and to me the production aspect of them are very interesting. Same with Kool G Rap's "Wanted Dead Or Alive" album where Large Pro was getting alot of co-production but according to alot of people involved he actually produced the majority of those songs. funny thing is that Kool G Rap is the sole one credited for "Talk Like Sex" if i remember right but on one song from Large Pro's '1st Class' album he says he produced that too.

That's interesting about Bob Power, i'm gonna listen to that interview later, if i remember right he was at least given additional production credits on some of the De La albums besides mixing/engineering. Large Professor said in an audio interview that the engineer hooked up alot of the beats on A Tribe Called Quest's first two albums (and Bob Power was the engineer there too) but on "Midnight Mauraders" Q-Tip and Ali fully programmed by themeselves. Dres from Black Sheep said that Mista Lawnge produced uncredited tracks on "Peoples Instinctive Travels...." as well:

interview (http://www.unkut.com/2010/07/dres-attempts-to-remember-the-scenario-session/)

actually i'm like you in that case, i don't like dreaming about who produced what or whatever, it doesn't matter that much altho it is interesting. everything i wrote about "Paid in Full" and "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" is from sources of interviews and quotes from people that was around those sessions.

THE MASON
09-05-2010, 08:41 AM
some good shit Claaa7, being a bit younger it took me a while to read up on this but once i did i came to a similar conclusion.

although, when i listen to one of the Eric B and Rakim albums it never really hits me until after im done listen, then i start thinking "damn, who really put this shit together".

but i figure back in those days, everyone was still learning techniques on production, arranging, recording, mixing/mastering, and what not. imo thats why a lot of albums from the 90s sound as dope as they do, cause everyone was tryin new shit with production or vocal mixing/recording.

also, cosign about Follow the Leader. and according to Wikipedia(which i dont trust at all) Stevie Blass Griffin is Rakims brother? and brought a lot of the records to the recording sessions. also says he is Rakims brother here

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Steve+Griffin

Tecknowledgist
09-05-2010, 06:25 PM
I can't believe I voted Eric B for President!

He didn't even do shit!

fatboybrandon
09-05-2010, 07:09 PM
Good points made claaa7, and thanks for the Dres interview, I know about unkut but I missed that interview. Dres was on WKCR recently and revealed a few more secrets behind their production work like the ones in that interview.

This is a good thread to think about because it's kinda tragic to look around today at a bunch of albums that don't have near that level of intrigue or mystique around them that Eric B and Ra or other Golden Era albums had. I remember daydreaming about albums was the best part of Hip Hop lifestyle, now I feel alota times I'm just being served fast food as music..

billyanalogue
09-05-2010, 08:27 PM
I'm the Alpha with no Omega


Dope

claaa7
11-08-2010, 03:50 AM
so i've been revisiting all these classic albums again the last few days and i happened to stumble upon some new information about "Don't Sweat The Technique". i was looking for some reviews off it on wikipedia when i noticed the producers was said to be Rashad Smith for Tumblin' Dice and DJ Hot Day amongst the ones who's credited for Production Coordination. I never heard about this before and Wikipedia is hardly a trustable source but it was worth doing a quick search... some guy on Youtube claimed Rashad Smith in fact produced half the album, hmmm, still not a trustworthy source tho but then i came across this article about VH1's Hip Hop Honours Tour 2007 featuring ?uestlove and Rashad Smith.


Another surprising part of the evening's festivities came when The Roots' drummer ?uestlove (Questlove) shed some light on one of Hip Hop's most influential producers, who happened to be on stage behind some turntables, the original Hitman from Bad Boy's famous Hitman crew, DJ Rashad "Tumbling Dice" Smith. "This man has a very impressive resume," ?uestlove explained to the crowd before giving them a small taste of his most famous "joints" like LL Cool J's "Doin It," and Eric B & Rakim's "Don't Sweat The Technique." "This cat is a student of the Large Professor and he's been making records since he was 15," continued ?uestlove before introducing Eric B and Rakim's "Juice," as one of the first beats Smith made. Each time the crowd got riled up with one of Smith's records ?uestlove would cut it in the middle, unleashing a tornado of boos from the audience. "I know it's blasphemous to cut The God (Rakim) off," answered ?uestlove. "But there's more," he continued as Smith's beat for Busta Rhymes' "Woo-Hah" bumped from Nokia's immense sound system. Both ?uestlove and Rashad Smith appeared to enjoy this record the most since they kept it running for the longest time while imitating Busta's funky dance rhythms. "This is the song that will put his grandchildren through college" were the words ?uestlove used to introduce The Notorious B.I.G.'s classic banger, "One More Chance." Later in the show MC Lyte returned to the stage and sang "Cold Rock The Party" which was followed by Kane's dance step pop quiz. "Do you remember the running man," Kane asked the audience. "How about the wop? Anybody remember the snake?" These dance demonstrations lead to serious gyrations by the "microphone lord" who then finished the show on a high note with a slew of fascinating rhymes from his timeless hit "Ain't No Half-Steppin'," off Long Live The Kane . "You know it's nothing that's trendy, or what [labels] feel the music is supposed to sound like," confesses Big Daddy Kane when asked about the longevity of his sound's success after being honored on VH-1's 2005 Hip Hop Honors program. "It's what I feel and what I believe. I think the audience accepted me for being me, and they want to keep hearing old songs I have done because of what I represent."


READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE (http://www.unratedmagazine.com/Articles/Archive/2007/VH1_HipHopHonors_071005.cfm)

i can't find anything about the claim DJ Hot Day had anything to do with the production tho.

angry!
11-08-2010, 08:27 AM
go check rakim live...

he routinely exposes eric b!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rakim was the one looping a lot of those records...

niggas werent killin themselves over credits...

daz was helping dre in the lab, nobody was really trippin about it until dre broke free from suge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but rakim is a capable DJ, eric b was muscle playing a part!!!!!!!!!!!!

eric b was the steam, that nigga got shit done...

but rakim was the man behind the music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

large pro played a huge part in the last 2... i remember LP talkin about it, he wasnt even sweatin it like that!!!!!!!!!!!!

large pro is a humble nigga, hes done a TON of classic shit, where hes not credited!!!!!!!!!!

like brandon said, it plays into the mystique...

nigga found some fly samples, hed give it to his man, let him loop it up, and rap...

publishing wasnt the headache it is now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but go check rakim live, and watch how he works the tables...

i remember eric b laying PHANTOM scratches on YO! MTV RAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rakim gets busy... eric was the nigga that made everything official, do this, do that, it gets you this!!!!!!!!!!!! visionary management...

thats what killed me about freddie foxxx trynna beef with rakim... sayin his shit had been off since eric b left... nigga... those albums were rakims vision, and 18th letter is better than any album foxxx ever dropped... bumpy is that dude but he came off like a jealous underling during that whole corny debacle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

claaa7
11-09-2010, 03:36 AM
^ true that angry, Large Pro seems like a very humble guy which can't be said about some producers that's not even half as good or contributed half as much as him. it's often other guys that was around that tell the stories about how Large produced almost all of "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" and "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" before he was even 18. i read a great interview with Dr. Butcher (G Rap's true DJ from the 2nd album) where he spoke his mind on the recording of "Wanted: Dead Or Alive", Main Source's debut and Large Professor's album for Geffen Records. really dope interview, check it out:

Dr. Butcher Interview Pt. 3 @ Unkut.com (http://www.unkut.com/2008/07/drbutcher-the-unkut-interview-pt-3/)


also as much as i dig both of them the beef Freddie Foxxx and Rakim had seemed really unnecessary and uncalled for. it's hard to know what really sparked it tho, i think there's been a rivalry between them for years - i know Foxxx said Eric B was originally meant to put him on first but i heard the album they did together was real wack. i gotta say "Industry Shakedown" is far better than the "18th Letter" LP tho.

claaa7
03-21-2011, 05:10 PM
more weird stuff that furthers the mysterious aspect of who the fuck produced those records lmfao.. as you can see above Rashid Smith of Tumblin' Dice seems to take credit for "Juice (Know The Ledge)" but i just found out that the Juice Soundtrack and all the single releases of the song (which are all the same as the one on the album) says Produced by Eric B. & Rakim but REMIXED BY HANK SHOCKLEE & GARY G-WIZ for The Bomb Squad. also as Kerwin Sleek is mentioned as a production co-ordinator on the D.S.T.T. album and he became a member of the Bomb Squad too. haha this shit is deep

Socrates92
03-21-2011, 06:28 PM
Top work claaa7.