Eric B. & Rakim


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Those who didn't want to be roped into buying the limited-edition version of 1997's The 18th Letter in order to get the bonus Eric B. & Rakim best-of, The Book of Life, were vindicated somewhat with the strong European release Classic. This disc also held a distinct advantage over the skimpy but tight budget-line 20th Century Masters compilation, with some of the best cuts from Rakim's The 18th Letter and The Master thrown in. If anything, it's a reminder that the duo was still in need of a proper and thorough collection -- perhaps more so than yet another edition of Paid in Full -- released in the U.S. (In the "Oops!" department: the back cover of the disc depicts Eric B. with Chuck D. But hey, who can blame the art department when all those rapper guys look so similar?)

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