Eric B. & Rakim

Eric B. & Rakim were almost universally recognized as the premier DJ/MC team in all of hip-hop. Not only was their chemistry superb, but individually, each represented the absolute state of the art in their respective skills. Eric B. was a hugely influential DJ and beatmaker whose taste for hard-hitting James Brown samples touched off a stampede throughout the Godfather of Soul’s back catalog. Rakim, meanwhile, still tops fan polls as the greatest MC of all time. He crafted his rhymes like poetry, filling his lines with elaborate metaphors and complex internal rhymes while playing with the beat like a jazzman. Among all of his peers who came out of the Golden Age of hip-hop, Rakim undoubtedly earned a reputation as one of the smoothest-flowing MCs ever to pick up a mic. The two broke down barriers in the early days of hip-hop, too; the duo's 1987 album Paid In Full has sold over one million copies and was certified Platinum in 1995. The next year, Follow The Leader dropped and the certified Gold album spawned hits like "Microphone Fiend." Their fourth—and final—album together, 1992's Don't Sweat The Technique, included the hit title track and "Know the Ledge," the theme song of the film Juice. Their peerless technique on the microphone and turntables upped the ante for all who followed them, and their advancement of hip-hop as an art form has been acknowledged by everyone from Gang Starr to the Wu-Tang Clan to Eminem.