Monday, May 11, 2009

Eric B. & Rakim: B-Sides, Rarities & Remixes (Vol. 1)

Over the years, I've come across way too many Top 5 Dead or Alive lists that omitted the almighty Rakim Allah, opting instead for the crowd favorites of 2pac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas and Eminem. And admittedly, even on this site, Rakim hasn't gotten as much love as the aforementioned rhymesmiths. So I wanted to change that and shake things up a bit in the process. Though I'll never stop my quest of completing more and more of our patented sample sets, I've decided to do some digging in another direction: hip hop compilations. Luckily, I've already got a sizable collection worth sharing with you! Sure, we've put together several of these kinds of releases already, but I'd like to begin a new focus on compiling artist-specific collections of b-sides, rarities and remixes. And we're starting things off right here, with Volume One of our Eric B. & Rakim collection.

I've always felt that the decline of hip hop -- and, let's face it, the music industry as a whole -- has a lot to do with the all-but-death of the b-side. The b-side often highlighted some exceptional work that was only intended for the fans to enjoy. Nowadays, we've got "bonus tracks" which are, in essence, throwaway/filler tracks that somehow found their way off the cutting room floor. How do you acquire these bonus tracks? Well, to get one of them, you've gotta buy the album at Target. To get another bonus track, you've gotta buy the album again at Best Buy. For two live bonus tracks, you've gotta shell out more cash over on iTunes. And on and on and on. Record execs, are you happy?

I'm getting a bit off-subject here. Our first installment of Eric B. & Rakim: B-Sides, Rarities & Remixes is just the first sampling of an archive that is expected to span at least five volumes! I've even got an all-instrumental volume in the works (Volume Three), so stay posted for that as well. A Rapidshare premium account is recommended, but a love for the good ol' fashioned sounds of golden-era rap is a prerequisite. Welcome to Hip Hop U. Turn it up!