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While Rakim is widely known as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time, a lot of people don’t realise that he produced as well; he was responsible for a lot of the beats on the Eric B. & Rakim albums.

In an interview with Chairman Mao for the Red Bull Music Academy, the God MC revealed that it was the legendary producer-engineer, Paul C, who taught him how to use the SP-1200 drum machine and sampler.

Before his untimely death in 1989, Paul C was mentoring a young Large Professor as well as working on hip hop classics like:

  • Ultramagnetic MCs – Critical Beatdown
  • Biz Markie – The Biz Never Sleeps
  • Eric B. & Rakim – Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em

Since his passing, numerous hip hop artists have paid tribute to Paul C, including Madlib, Pete Rock, DJ Shadow, Questlove (who called him “the J Dilla of his day”) and Large Professor, who named his publishing company after him: Paul Sea Productions.

Rakim: But even doing the first album, I didn’t know how to sample yet. One of the engineers named Patrick Adams, I used to go to the studio and be like, “Yo, Pat, listen. I need this part right here mixed with that part right there.” And my man Pat for me would loop it up, you know, flip it up for me and do what I needed done. And then shortly after that, Paul C, one of the producers from back in the day that I put on the back of my album, he passed away, rest in peace, he started teaching me how to use the SP-1200, and then after that it was a wrap. You know, a lotta people don’t know I made a lot of the beats. A lotta people think Eric B. did them, but no, I did a lot of them myself, man. But just getting into it, man, learning, you know how to make beats, how to make a record, how to create in the studio, it started to come a little more natural to me.

Rakim | Red Bull Music Academy
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