Eric B. & Rakim influenced an entire generation of Hip-Hop's greatest minds following the release of their fourth studio album. Unbeknownst to the iconic duo at the time, the memorable album would mark the beginning of the end of their epic run together.
On June 23, 1992, Eric B. & Rakim released their fourth LP Don't Sweat The Technique. The 12-track album, which was released on MCA Records, is full of jazzy, upbeat melodies and aggressive bars that the duo had become famous for. Rakim delivers top-tier rhymes over Eric B.'s timeless production in the follow-up to their 1990 album Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em.
"What's On Your Mind?", which is the album's first single, was released in 1991 after it appeared on the soundtrack for House Party 2. The second single also appeared in a well-known feature film. "Know The Ledge," aka "Juice (Know The Ledge)," first appeared on the soundtrack for the 1992 film Juice starring Omar Epps and Tupac Shakur. The album was also supported by the title track, "Don't Sweat The Technique," and "Casualties Of War."
Don't Sweat The Technique did well commercially. The album hit the No. 22 spot on the Billboard 200 chart while the title track hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart, and became one of the most recognizable records in rap history. The duo planned to build on the success of the album since they had three more albums left in their contract. Unfortunately, Eric B. had other ideas, according to Rakim.
"Eric B. came up with an idea," Rakim told NPR in 2018. "He said ... if he'd do a solo joint, I'd do a solo joint, then we get together and do the last joint. Then our contracts would be up, we could negotiate new contracts. Meanwhile, when he'd do the solo joint he'd take all the money for that, when I'd do my solo joint I take all the money for that, get back together new album, new deal. You know, it was money signs. Long story short, Eric B. did his, I signed off and when it was time for me to do mine, he didn't want to sign off. So that caused a lot of problems."
Rakim said that Eric B. was convinced Rakim wouldn't re-sign to do their next album together. The misunderstanding eventually led to a court case that resulted in the overall demise of the duo. Despite their past issues, their final album together still lives on as one of Hip-Hop's most influential albums 30 years after its debut.
Listen to Don't Sweat The Technique below.