Paid in Full is the debut album of American hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, released on July 7, 1987, by Island-subsidiary label 4th & B’way Records. The duo recorded the album at hip hop producer Marley Marl’s home studio and Power Play Studios in New York City, following Rakim’s response to Eric B.’s search for a rapper to complement his disc jockey work in 1985. The album peaked at number fifty-eight on the Billboard 200 chart and produced five singles, “Eric B. Is President”, “I Ain’t No Joke”, “I Know You Got Soul”, “Move the Crowd”, and “Paid in Full”.
Paid in Full is credited as a benchmark album of golden age hip hop. Rakim’s rapping, which pioneered the use of internal rhymes in hip hop, set a higher standard of lyricism in the genre and served as a template for future rappers. The album’s heavy sampling by Eric B. became influential in hip hop production. The record has sold over a million copies and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it platinum in 1995. In 2003, the album was ranked number 228 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
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