Eric B & Rakim released their fourth and final album “Don’t Sweat The Technique” (as a duo) on June 23 1992. The album was produced solely by Eric B and Rakim and was more of a jazz/r&b influenced album than previous efforts.
The album had 2 previous tracks that were released before the album dropped. “Know the Ledge” was part of the Juice Soundtrack and “What’s on Your Mind?” that was part of the House Party 2 Soundtrack.
“Know the Ledge” was that track that everyone loved off the Juice soundtrack with that smooth jazz bass sample and Rakim going “Italian Stallion” with his references:
I’ll chill like Pacino, kill like DeNiro
Black Gambino, die like a hero
Living on shaky grounds too close to the edge
Let’s see if I know the ledge!
“What’s On Your Mind?” sampled a classic Midnight Star track “Curious” and Rakim just rides that funk/soul wave all the way through. It’s a fly love song with a little more soul than “Mahogany” had.
On “Casualties of War” Rakim gets political and raps over a dope “Amen Brother” drum beat, the same that was used for N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton“.
Casualties of war; as I approach the barricade
Where’s the enemy? Who do I invade?
Bullets of Teflon, bulletproof vest rip
Tear ya outta ya frame with a bag full of clips
Cause I got a family that waits for my return
To get back home is my main concern
I’ma get back to New York in one piece
but I’m bent in the sand that is hot as the city streets
Sky lights up like fireworks blind me
Bullets, whistlin over my head remind me…
President Bush said attack
Flashback to Nam, I might not make it back
Missile hits the area, screams wake me up
from a war of dreams, heat up the M-16
Basic training, trained for torture
Take no prisoners, and I just caught ya
Addicted to murder, send more bodybags
They can’t identify em, leave the nametags
I get a rush when I see blood, dead bodies on the floor
CASUALTIES OF WAR!
The title track “Don’t Sweat The Technique” they use a jazz influenced bass beat courtesy of Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Queen of the Nile“. The track is dope but what had people talking was the video. The video shows Rakim rapping inside of a mansion while the jazz band plays and the mansion is filled with bikini clad white girls. Being part of the 5 Percent Nation, it was odd that they didn’t have more “sisters” in the video. Still an eye poppin video!
Let’s trace the hints and check the file
Let see who bit to detect the style
I flip the script so they can’t get foul.
At least not now, it’ll take a while
I change the pace to complete the beat
I drop the bass,’till mc’s get weak.
For every word they trace, it’s a scar they keep…
‘Cause when I speak, they freak
To sweat the technique
I made my debut in ’86
Wit a Melody and a President’s mix
And now I stay on target and refuse to miss
And I still make hits
wit’ beats, parties, clubs, in the cars and jeeps
My underground sound vibrates the streets
MC’s wanna beef then I play for keeps
When they sweat the technique
The hidden gen on this album has to be “The Punisher” where they take Bob James “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” with “Gangster Boogie” by Chicago Gangsters while Rakim tears it up as usual. So…beware the Punisher!
Dangerous rhymes (are) performed like surgery,
Cuts so deep you’ll be bleeding burgundy,
My intellect wrecks and disconnects your cerebral cortex,
your cerebellum is next!
Your conscience becomes sub-conscious,
soon your response is nonsense….
the last words are blurred…mumbled then slurred,
then your verbs are no longer heard,
you get your lung fried so good you’re tongue-tied,
he couldn’t swing or hang so he hung ’till he died,
reincarnate him…and kill him again…again and again…again and again…
I leave him in the mausoleum so you can see him,
I got a dead-MC’ing museum,
when I create ’em, I cremate ’em and complicate ’em,
you can’t save ’em…there’s no ultamatum,
mic’s lay around full of ashes, with the victim’s name in slashes,
got a long list and I’m a get every one of ya…
Beware of The Punisher!
If I were to put the 4 albums in order of dopeness, I would put them in order of release. It’s not that this is the “worst” album in the catalog, but the first 2 albums were so original and off the charts that this album could not come close to those to classics! All of their albums were important to Hip Hop and on this 24th anniversary we salute you Rakim and Eric B! Peace!!!