With a smoother, more hypnotically listenable version of Run-DMC's streetwise forthrightness, Eric B. & Rakim added another layer of depth to 1980s rap music. Among the first acts to articulate a hip-hop worldview, the duo represented the first flowering of rap into a full-blown subculture. Rakim's skill as one of hip-hop's premier wordsmiths carried him over four records of mindblowing rhymes, exemplified by classic singles like "Microphone Fiend" and "Juice (Know the Ledge)." The duo even sparked the long-running trend of hip-hop acts guesting on R&B hits in 1989, with Jody Watley's top ten hit "Friends." The pair parted ways in 1992 with Rakim embarking on a hit-or-miss solo career.
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