Hip-hop buffs know that Eric B. & Rakim are giants of the genre’s golden age. Put them next to Run DMC, Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, Public Enemy and LL Cool J. The New York duo may not be a household name, but Eric B. & Rakim represent the genre’s focus on verbal artistry and the direct connection to the funk of the ‘70s.
Rakim’s rapping style is assertive, confident and rhythmic, but also inventive in its deviations from standard rhyming patterns and stresses. Many hear a jazzy fluidity in his rapping. Eric B.’s musical composites used jazz and soul that both pounded and flexed.
The pair’s full-length debut, 1987’s “Paid In Full,” is thought to be among the most influential hip-hop albums of all time. Some have called it the greatest hip-hop album ever. The sample-heavy nature of the duo’s sound signaled the start of a new era in hip-hop. The duo split up in the early ‘90s. Last year Eric B. & Rakim got together for their first shows in 23 years.
See hip-hop royalty when Eric B. & Rakim play The Dome @ Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Sunday, April 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35. 203-265-1501, livenation.com