Eric B. & Rakim: Rakim (rap vocals); Eric B. (turntables).
Personnel: DJ Cell, Matt Black (scratches).
Audio Mixers: Mark Harder; Lee Anthony.
Audio Remixers: DJ Mark the 45 King; Gary G. Wix; Hank Shocklee; Michael Mixx'in Moor; Dave Dorrell; Raine Shine; C.J. Mackintosh.
Liner Note Author: Tom Terrell.
Recording information: A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA; Libra Digital Sound, Long Island City, NY; Power Play Studios, NY; SKip Saylor Recording; The Hit Factory, New York, NY.
Photographers: Michael Benabib; David Corio; Cesar Vera.
Arranger: Benny Nagari.
The contribution DJ/MC duo Eric B. & Rakim made to hip-hop cannot be overestimated. Their two stone-cold classic albums PAID IN FULL and FOLLOW THE LEADER are cornerstones of the movement, and have probably influenced, either directly or indirectly, every turntablist and rapper carrying the hip-hop torch. The double-disc set GOLD does a fine job of culling the highlights from those two releases, including the lyrically fierce "Follow the Leader," the "Funky Drummer"-break-fueled "Lyrics of Fury," and the similarly James Brown-sample-driven "I Ain't No Joke" and "I Know You Got Soul." Kicking off the set, of course, is "Eric B. is President," one of hip-hop's all-time greatest anthems.
Disc Two of GOLD mostly concerns itself with remixes, extended versions, and "clean" edits of songs (three remixes appear on the first disc as well). It covers material from the duo's third and fourth releases (1990's LET THE RHYTHM HIT 'EM and 1992's DON'T SWEAT THE TECHNIQUE, respectively), and while Eric B. and Rakim had slipped in popularity by the early '90s, these cuts prove their skills were as sharp as ever. The only drawback to GOLD is that some fans might prefer the original versions over the remixes, but the non-album material will lure die-hard fans, while still representing the duo's impeccable craft.