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July 14, 2024

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The 18th Letter

By: Adam A. Nielsen

The 18th Letter is the solo debut by Rakim, half of the 1980's duo Eric B & Rakim. This album offers you eleven tracks, two of which are remixes and a lot of creativity and effort. Although Rakim does display a lot of effort and creativity, he does not provide the audience with anything new or anything worth $15. Most of the tracks are very slow and with the exception of "Guess Who's Back" his beats are lame.

Because of the fact that I have been a rap music fan for about ten years, I am very familiar with Eric B & Rakim and bought this album solely on name recognition. I don't recall that group being very good. But what I do recall is that Eric B wrote most of the songs and laid down almost all of the beats. Although he never once laid down a rhyme for the group (except in rare concerts) his expertise was crucial to the group's success. Rakim completely reinforced this point with his solo album.

He attempts for over and hour to bring back the "East Coast, Old School" style of the early and mid 80's. He fails miserably. As I mentioned before his beats are very weak and tired except for "It's Been a Long Time", which is mediocre at best and "Guess Who's Back", which is actually a damn good song. Lyrically speaking, Rakim is way out of his league. In my opinion, if your rhymes do not convey some sort of message, tell a story, or have any sort of creativity it is a waste. This CD is a waste. There are no messages, stories or creativity at all. The only thing that Rakim tells us is, "No I'm not down with Eric B no more." My only response is, maybe you should be. My only recommendation is spend $4 on the single for "Guess Who's Back". Otherwise save your money.

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