A Season of Songs, day 72: I Know You Got Soul

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy

Today’s song is “I know You Got Soul” by Eric B & Rakim from their 1987 debut album “Paid in Full”.

This is how it should be done
This style is identical to none
Some try to make it sound like this but you’re getting me
So upset that I’m wet cause you’re sweating me
I drip steam like a microphone fiend
Eager to MC is my theme
I get hype when I hear a drum roll
Rakim is on the mic and you know I got soul

Eric B & Rakim are one of those hip-hop groups that I never really listened to extensively.  I had heard their songs here and there and really liked what I heard but never had bothered to get any of their albums.  Then about ten years ago Brian Coleman put out the book “Rakim Told Me”, which was a book where he wrote about the history of 21 various hip-hop albums – each section highlighting a different record and talking about the history of the group, how the particular record came about, etc.  A couple years after that he put out an updated version of the book called “Check The Technique” which expanded on the number of albums covered.  It was these books that encouraged me to check out a handful of hip-hop classics that I had not spent much time with previously.  “Paid in Full” was one of those albums.

One of the first things you notice about Eric B & Rakim’s songs is Rakin’s relaxed, laid back flow.  If you looked at the cover of the album (dollar bills and gold chains) and read the lyrics (lots of typical braggadocio), you might expect to find a hard, energetic vocal attack.  Instead Rakim eases back and provides a mellow, smooth lyrical delivery with a unique rhythmic flow.  Eric B’s DJ-ing is pretty standard – competent, providing a bit more of an aggressive sound at times to complement Rakim’s rhymes, but really nothing too outstanding.

“I Know You Got Soul” is one of the singles off the album.  Pretty typical of the album.  A nice bumpin’ track laid down by Eric B with Rakim’s smooth rhymes overtop.  The line “pump up the volume” was sampled by the groups MARRS for their song “Pump Up The Volume”, which I don’t think I ever really noticed until today when listening to this.

The version of “Paid In Full” that I downloaded is “The Platinum Version” which has all types of alternative mixes, dub mixes, etc.  Probably didn’t need that but glad to have finally given this record a proper listen.  Worth having in the collection.

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