The first installment of I Used to Love H.E.R., a series in which artists/bloggers/writers discuss their most essential hip-hop albums (read the introduction), is from G. Love, who was kind enough to chat with me on the phone from Atlantic City last week before a show. G. Love’s bluesy-rap style owes a lot to the narrative roots of hip-hop. His new album, Lemonade, is available on Brushfire Records.
mp3: G. Love feat. Blackalicious | Banger
Eric B. and Rakim
Paid in Full (4th & Broadway, 1987)
Produced by Eric B. and Rakim
(Note: Rereleased in 1998 on Island on two-CD “Platinum Edition,” featuring original remastered recording and disc of remixes. Buy it here.)
“It was a pretty popular record. … I was into hip-hop when I was kid. It’s one of the records you gotta get.
“When I discovered my style, when I was a street musician, I started rapping the lyrics to Paid in Full over this blues riff. That kinda led me to develop writing rhymes. … I was playing this song Days Like This … I finished playing it and I was jamming and feeling good and started rapping the lyrics to it. It was like an epiphany.
“That’s definitely one of the hip-hop records on everybody’s list. That’s been a record that, you know, that made Rakim. … There’s arguments about who are the best emcees. Rakim and KRS-One are like the best emcees of all time. That record was the first hit. …
“On Paid in Full (the song), it’s not even the chorus, it’s like one rhyme. An introduction, a rhyme that tells the whole story and then it goes out.
“Those records (of late ’80s/early ’90s) kind of influenced a whole generation of people. It was a definitive time … There’s the big debate now about commercial hip-hop or underground hip-hop. The underground just bitches about commercial hip-hop, and commercial talks about getting paid and fucking chicks.
“Back then, it was more about storytelling, I think. That’s what made it so important to me. Everybody was rappin’ and telling stories. Whether it was Fresh Prince or L.L. … Being a songwriter is what it’s all about. It can be funny shit or scary shit. Songwriting is all about telling stories.”
Eric B. and Rakim | Paid in Full
Next installment: Joel Hatstat of Athens, Georgia’s Cinemechanica.