Thursday, July 25, 2013

follow the leader

Eric B. & Rakim stepped up their game and blazed a trail with expanded samples, deep and heavy sound effects, and an increased intensity to the furified freestyle rhythm and poetry of this hip hop landmark.  After their groundbreaking debut 'Paid in Full'the duo of DJ Eric B. (Eric Barrier) and kid wizard MC Rakim (William Michael Griffin Jr.) Allah moved from 4th & B'way Records to the Uni subsidiary of MCA Records.  'Follow the Leader' was recorded at New York City's Power Play Studios and produced, arranged, and composed by Eric B. & Rakim.   Rakim's brother Stevie Blass Griffin was brought in to add live musical flourishes to the extensive layers of samples.  

Rakim reveals:  "Most of the tracks on the first and second albums, I done those myself, no question. Back then, Eric B. wanted to be a businessman so I said 'Okay, you can take care of the business, I'm going to stick with this notebook right here'. So by not getting involved, he was right there telling them to print whatever he wanted them to print on the album cover. That was my mistake. If we did ten tracks on the album, I did like seven of the beats myself. A lot of times they were just old park records. I had a record collection, I had turntables, I had all the breakbeats"

'Follow the Leader' marched to number forty-six in New Zealand, forty-three in the Netherlands, thirty-five in Sweden, twenty-five in the UK, twenty-two on the US pop album chart and number seven on the US R&B album chart.  The album cemented the duo as one of the most influential in hip hop.

The title track samples "Nautilus" by Bob James; "Listen To Me" by Baby Huey; "I Wouldn't Change a Thing" by Coke Escovedo; and their own classic "I Know You Got Soul" from 'Paid in Full'.

Follow me into a solo, get in the flow
And you can picture like a photo
Music mix, mellow maintains to make
Melodies for emcees, motivates the breaks
I'm everlasting, I can go on for days and days
With rhyme displays that engrave deep as x-rays
I can take a phrase that's rarely heard
Flip it - now it's a daily word
I can get iller than 'Nam, I kill and bomb
But no alarm - Rakim'll remain calm
Self-esteem makes me super, superb and supreme
But for a microphone, still I fiend
This was a tape, I wasn't supposed to break
I was supposed to wait, but let's motivate
I want to see you keep following and swallowing
Taking and making, biting and borrowing
Brothers tried and others died to get the formula
But I'mma let you sweat, you still ain't formed
You a step away from frozen, stiff as if you're posing
Dig into my brain as the rhyme gets chosen
So follow me and while you're thinking you were first
Let's travel at magnificent speeds around the universe
What could you say as the earth gets further and further away
Planets as small as balls of clay
Astray into the milky way, worlds out of sight
Far as the eye can see not even a satellite
Now stop and turn around and look
As you stare in the darkness, your knowledge is took
So keep staring, soon you suddenly see a star
You better follow it, cause it's the R
This is a lesson if you're guessing and if you're borrowing
Hurry hurry step right up and keep following the leader

This is a lifetime mission, vision a prison
Aight, listen
In this journey you're the journal, I'm the journalist
Am I eternal? Or an eternalist?
I'm about to flow long as I can possibly go
Keep you moving cause the crowd said so
Dance! Cuts rip your pants
Eric B on the blades bleeding to death, call the ambulance
Pull out my weapon and start to squeeze
A magnum as a microphone, murdering emcees
Let's quote, a rhyme from a record I wrote
(Follow the leader) Yeah, dope
Cause every time I stop it seems you're stuck
As soon as you try to step off you self-destruct
I came to overcome before I'm gone
By showing and proving and letting knowledge be born
Then after that I live forever. You disagree?
You say never? Then follow me
From century to century, you'll remember me
In history, not a mystery or a memory
God by nature, mind raised in Asia
Since you was tricked, I have to raise ya
From the cradle to the grave
But remember - you're not a slave
Cause we was put here to be much more than that
But we couldn't see because our mind was trapped
But I'm here to break away the chains, take away the pains
Remake the brains, rebuild my name
I guess somebody told you a little knowledge is dangerous
It can't be mixed, diluted, it can't be changed or switched
Here's a lesson if you're guessing and borrowing
Hurry, hurry step right up and keep following the leader

A furified freestyle - lyrics of fury
My third eye make me shine like jewelry
You're just a rent-a-rapper, your rhymes are minute-maid
I'll be here when it fade, I'll watch you flip like a renegade
I can't wait, to break and eliminate
On every traitor or snake, so stay awake
And follow and follow because the tempo's a trail
The stage is a cage, the mic is a third rail
I'm Rakim, the fiend of a microphone
I'm not him, so leave my mic alone
Soon as the beat is felt, I'm ready to go
So fasten your seatbelt, cause I'm about to flow
No need to speed, slow down and let the leader lead
Word to daddy...indeed
The R's a rolling stone, so I'm rolling
Directions told then, the rhymes are stolen
Stop buggin' a brother said dig him, I never dug him
He couldn't follow the leader long enough so I drug him
Into danger zone he should arrange his own
Face it, it's basic, erase or change your tone
There's one R in the alphabet
It's a one letter word and it's about to get
More complex from one rhyme to the next
Eric B, be easy on the flex
I've been from state to state, followers tailgate
Keep coming but you came too late, but I'll wait
So back up, regroup, get a grip, come equipped
You're the next contestant, clap your hands, you won a trip
The price is right don't make a deal too soon
How many notes, can you name this tune?
Follow the leader is a title/theme/task
Now you know, you don't have to ask
Rap is rhythm and poetry, cuts create sound effects
You might catch up if you follow the records he wrecks
Until then keep eating and swallowing
You better take a deep breath and keep following the leader

'Follow the Leader'

full album:

All songs were written and produced by Eric B. & Rakim (Eric Barrier, William Griffin)

1. Follow the Leader - 0:08
2. Microphone Fiend - 5:45
3. Lyrics of Fury - 10:59 
4. Eric B. Never Scared - 15:11 
5. Just a Beat - 20:30 
6. Put Your Hands Together - 22:36 
7. To the Listeners - 27:51 
8. No Competition - 32:23 
9. The R - 36:14 
10. Musical Massacre - 40:08 
11. Beats for the Listeners - 44:36 

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