Eric B. & Rakim
Eric Barrier and William Griffin a.k.a. Rakim were not just a DJ/MC duo, they were the DJ/MC duo during what many consider hip hop’s “Golden Age” in the late 1980s. The two New Yorkers recorded their debut album Paid in Full over the course of one week in 1987 and nothing was the same. Rakim’s masterfully lyrical approach to rapping and Eric’s innovative approach to sample-heavy production were a perfect artistic union. Their sound was massively influential, laying a framework for artists to come like Kanye West, Wu-Tang Clan, and countless others. The impact of their work is even more impressive considering the brevity of their run; they released a total of four albums between 1987-1992 before disbanding in 1993. In 2017, they reunited onstage for the first time in 24 years to perform at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, followed by a tour. They remain one of the most revered acts in hip-hop history.