Paid In Full VS Criminal Minded


Paid In Full VS Criminal Minded

Two of the most influential Hip Hop albums of all time dropped way back in 1987. Both albums were from groups that call New York their home and helped create what we call now the “Golden Age” of Hip Hop.  Eric B & Rakim’sPaid In Full” and Boogie Down Production’sCriminal Minded” made all the non-believers in Hip Hop confirm that this genre of music was no fad!

“Criminal Minded” dropped on March 3, 1987 and I can remember going to the record store and buying the cassette and later the vinyl version.  As soon as I got the cassette in the Walkman, it didn’t come out for months.  The album was produced by Ced Gee, Scott La Rock and KRS-One.


“Paid In Full” dropped on August 25, 1987 and I remember taking “Criminal Minded” out of the Walkman and replacing it with this album.  I was walking the streets of Los Angeles bumping that South Bronx and Long Island sound!  I was 16 and I knew Hip Hop was going thru a renaissance.


If you just compare the album covers, you will see that “Criminal Minded” is dark, gloomy and militant (“holding a pistol, something far from a lover“) whereas “Paid In Full” is bright, green and ballin’ out of control.

Both albums contain tracks about sucker mc’s and where they reside, but it’s CM that contains 2 tracks about “sex”.  CM also contains two of the most iconic diss tracks in Hip Hop history also.  The topics on CM have more to do with social issues than PIF, where PIF is more poetically lyrical.


If Rakim would battle KRS-One, I would have my money 0n the “God MC”.  Now, KRS is no slouch, but Rakim has the metaphors, similies, and cadence only a few mc’s can embody.  KRS has more “matter-of-fact” lyrics, but can tackle racism, sexism, religion, and is one of the most Afro-centric rappers of our time.

To say that KRS-One is NOT lyrical is an absolute lie.  Just listening to “Poetry” you know KRS can get down with the best of them.

Well now you’re forced to listen to the teacher and the lesson
Class is in session so you can stop guessing
If this is a tape or a written down memo
See I am a professional, this is not a demo
In fact call it a lecture, a visual picture
Sort of a poetic and rhythm-like mixture
Listen, I’m not dissing but there’s something that you’re missing
Maybe you should touch reality, stop wishing
For beats with plenty bass and lyrics said in haste
If this meaning doesn’t manifest put it to rest
I am a poet, you try to show it, yet blow it
It takes concentration for fresh communication
Observation, that is to see without speaking
Take off your coat, take notes, I am teaching
A class, or rather school, cause you need schooling
I am not a king or queen, I’m not ruling
This is an introduction to poetry
A small dedication to those that might know of me
They might know of you and maybe your gang
But one thing’s for sure, neither one of y’all can hang
Cause yo I’m like a arrow, and Scott is the crossbow
Say something now … thought so
You seem to be the type that only understand
The annihilation and destruction of the next man
That’s not poetry, that is insanity
It’s simply fantasy far from reality
Poetry is the language of imagination
Poetry is a form of positive creation
Difficult, isn’t it? The point? You’re missing it
Your face is in front of my hand so I’m dissing it

But then you have Rakim and his mastery of the English and Figurative Language!  He puts poetry into every song and leaves us mesmerized by his imagery!  On “My Melody” he paints a picture so vivid, he has seeing “7’s” all over the place!

I’m not a regular competitor, first rhyme editor
Melody arranger, poet et cetera
Extra events, the grand finale like bonus
I am the man they call the microphonist
With wisdom, which means wise words being spoken
Too many at one time, watch the mic start smoking
I came to express the rap I manifest
Stand in my way, and I’ll veto of the word’s protest
Emcees that wanna be best, they’re gonna
Be dissed if they don’t get from in front of
All they can go get is me a glass of Moet
A hard time, sip your juice and watch a smooth poet
I take 7 emcees put ’em in a line
And add 7 more brothers who think they can rhyme
Well, it’ll take 7 more before I go for mine
Now that’s 21 emcees ate up at the same time
Easy does it, do it easy, that’s what I’m doing
No fessing, no messing around, no chewing
No robbing or buying, biting, why borrow
This slob will stop trying, fighting to follow
My unusual style will confuse you a while
If I was water, I’d flow in the Nile
So many rhymes, you won’t have time to go for yours
Just because of applause, I have to pause
Right after tonight is when I prepare
To catch another sucker duck emcee out there
Cause my strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe
And after this, you’ll call me your majesty
My melody

He then does it again with “I Know You Got Soul” by showing us how he feels when he writes his rhymes.  He get’s so deep in concentration that he lives in between the lines of a page in a notepad.

A gift to be swift, follow the leader, the rhyme will go
Def with the record that was mixed a long time ago
It can be done but only I can do it
For those that can’t dance, just clap your hands to it
I start to think and then I sink
Into the paper like I was ink
When I’m writing, I’m trapped in between the lines
I escape when I finish the rhyme…
I got soul

When “South Bronx” dropped, it didn’t matter where you lived at the time, you knew it was a response record to “The Bridge“.  At the same time we get a lesson about the birthplace of Hip Hop and it’s humble beginnings!

Now way back in the days when hip-hop began
With Coke LaRock, Kool Herc, and then Bam
B-boys ran to the latest jam
But when it got shot up they went home and said “Damn
There’s got to be a better way to hear our music every day
B-boys getting blown away but coming outside anyway”
They tried again outside in Cedar Park
Power from a street light made the place dark
But yo, they didn’t care, they turned it out
I know a few understand what I’m talking about
Remember Bronx River, rolling thick
With Kool DJ Red Alert and Chuck Chillout on the mix
When Afrika Islam was rocking the jams
And on the other side of town was a kid named Flash

BDP had us laughing and bouncing to that dope piano sample, where he disses Marley Marl, Mr Magic, MC Shan and most notably Roxanne Shante.

Di-di di-da, di di-di, dida di-day, aiy!
All you sucker MCs, won’t you please come out to play (cause)
Here’s an example of KRS-One (bo!)
Here’s an example of KRS-One
They wish to battle BDP but they cannot
They must be on the dick of who? DJ Scott La Rock
Cause we don’t complain nor do we play the game of favors
Boogie Down Productions comes in three different flavors
Pick any dick for the flavor that you savor
Mr. Magic might wish to come and try to save ya
But instead of helping ya out he wants the same thing I gave ya
I finally figured it out, Magic mouth is used for sucking
Roxanne Shante is only good for steady fucking
MC Shan and Marley Marl is really only bluffing
Like Doug E. Fresh said “I tell you now, you ain’t nothing”
Compared to Red Alert on KISS and Boogie Down Productions

As serious as the track was, it was comedy at it’s best.  It made you laugh and we could not wait to see what the “Juice Crew” would reply with!  That looseness that CM had made it fun to listen to whereas PIF was more strict and serious.


  • BEATS 

Both albums were sonically incredible, but what Scott La Rock did for this album was on that other level.  Unfortunately we could not get an encore from him to see what else he would come up with, but creativity was his number one priority.  The beats for “Criminal Minded“, “The P Is Free“, “South Bronx” and “The Bridge Is Over” are beyond bananas!  Rappers have reused these beats over and over again.  At the same time, when KRS takes a Paul McCartney/Beatles song and flips the melody, you know this guy is beyond Hip Hop!

Boogie Down Productions will always get paid
We’ll take the wackest song and make it better
Remember to let us into your skin
Cause then you’ll begin, to master
Rhymin’ rhymin’ rhymin’

He does the same to Billy Joel.  YES…Billy Joel!

You’d better change what comes out your speaker
You’re better off talking bout your wack Puma sneaker
Cause Bronx created hip-hop,Queens will only get dropped
You’re still telling lies to me
Everybody’s talking ’bout the Juice Crew funny
But you’re still telling lies to me

On PIF, we get more of a James Brown/Bobby Byrd funky tracks!  “Eric B Is President” and “I Know You Got Soul” got you out on the dance floor where “I Aint No Joke” and “Move The Crowd” made you bounce your head and listen closely to the rhymes.  The only problem I had with PIF is the Marley Marl remixes of “Eric B is President” and “My Melody”.  Those two tracks did not need remixes.


So how are we going to break a tie?  It’s not going to be easy, but if you look at the way these albums changed Hip Hop, I would say “Paid In Full” was more of a “game changer” than Criminal Minded.  Before Rakim, rappers were rhyming simplistically. The words they used and the way they used them where “elementary” like KRS-One once told us.  Rakim gave birth to mc’s like Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and Nas who gave us more poetry in their rhymes.  Rakim wanted to be taken so seriously, it’s difficult to find a picture of him smiling.

CM also changed the game, but with Public Enemy dropping “Yo! Bum Rush The Show” and the tracks “Rebel Without A Pause” and “Bring The Noise” in mid and late 1987, it was more PE that changed the game than BDP.

Also, if there was a way to weigh the classic tracks on both albums, you know that PIF would come out victorious.  Now, this is just my opinion and love both albums and artists so there can be no bias.


-Al E.

Related: Check out “Wu-Tang: Enter 36 Chambers” VS N.W.A “Straight Outta Compton”

Paid In Full VS Criminal Minded


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  1. I Can agree ! Paid In Full I think BDP best album was edutainment and KRS solo album not speaking his christian rap days but Return Of The Boom Bap amazing album.

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