Don't Sweat the Technique

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Don't Sweat the Technique
Studio album by Eric B. & Rakim
Released June 23, 1992
Genre Hip hop
Length 47:21
Label MCA
Producer Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim chronology
Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em
(1990)
Don't Sweat the Technique
(1992)

Don't Sweat the Technique is the fourth studio album by American hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, released on June 23, 1992, by MCA Records. Their final album as a duo, it was recorded and produced by Eric B. & Rakim at The Hit Factory in New York City.[1] The album builds on the sounds of 1990's Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em, with Rakim sounding more aggressive on Eric B.'s jazzy, soulful production.

The album debuted at number 22 on the Billboard 200 chart in the week of July 11, 1992.[2] It also charted at number nine on Top R&B Albums.[3] The title track was a minor radio hit. "Casualties of War" was also released as a single and contains some of Rakim's most political lyrics. "Know the Ledge" first appeared in the film Juice under the title "Juice (Know the Ledge)".

Content[edit]

"Casualties of War" relates to the Gulf War in which the USA and other nations invaded Iraq. It mentions the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder, and relates to Rakim's Muslim faith.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Boston Herald A–[6]
Robert Christgau A–[7]
Entertainment Weekly C+[8]
Orlando Sentinel 4/4 stars[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[12]
The Source 4/5 stars[13]

Don't Sweat the Technique received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. In his review for Rolling Stone magazine, Havelock Nelson said that "Eric B.'s tracks are mellow and mean, while Rakim's lyrics are at once eloquent and threatening".[11] Nelson wrote that the duo "expound further on the funky-fresh aesthetic" with Don't Sweat the Technique, adding that it "activates the mind – it's erotic, playful, violent, dramatic, funky, jazzy and definitely dope".[11] Gil Griffin of The Washington Post praised Rakim's machismo lyrics and Eric B.'s "dense jazz tracks full of acoustic bass, brass, piano, and thick drumbeats".[14] Orlando Sentinel writer Parry Gettelman praised Rakim's "assured rhymes" and noted Eric B.'s beats as "economically laced with insistent vocal and instrumental riffs".[9] The Boston Herald complimented Eric B.'s "diverse mix of beats and melodies ... from hard funk to more subdued blues and jazz", concluding that "The potent combination of articulate raps and catchy beats makes  '​Don't Sweat '​ a real burner".[6] Musician stated similarly, "What keeps this duo dynamic is that they understand the importance of sticking with the basics—hard beats, sly samples and imaginative cadences—and foregoing fashion".[15]

In a mixed review, Entertainment Weekly '​s James Bernard viewed that the album lacks "the roller coaster rush of 'Teach' or 'Casualties of War,'", writing that the duo "have gone back to the well too many times, retaining the technique without maintaining the energy".[8] Dimitri Ehrlich of Spin was ambivalent towards "Erik B.'s meat-and-potatoes approach to assembling tracks", but viewed the album as "a more cohesive and inspired effort" than Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em.[16] Ehrlich praised Rakim's rhymes as "lively, varied, and imaginative" and stated "With his gruffly evocative street reporting and fine sense of detail, he creates scenarios of urban apocalypse that seem to echo Erik B.'s survivalist grooves".[16] Q magazine felt the duo "may be one of the more venerable rap teams, but they're clearly still capable of adapting to changing styles".[10] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, gave the album an "A–".[7] He said that Rakim's metaphors exploit the "interface between horror movies and the postmodern imagination", and highlighted Eric B.'s "new groove" as the "star of the show", which, "when he hits it right," is "like the mouth you love doing the spot you forgot."[7]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor Jason Elias called the album "another strong effort from one of rap's most respected acts" and highlighted "the brilliant ear of Eric B. who can cut the tension and exact magic out of a going-nowhere track".[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "What's on Your Mind?" – 5:31
  2. "Teach the Children" – 3:01
  3. "Pass the Hand Grenade" – 3:14
  4. "Casualties of War" – 4:02
  5. "Rest Assured" – 3:36
  6. "The Punisher" – 4:10
  7. "Relax with Pep" – 4:00
  8. "Keep the Beat" – 4:15
  9. "What's Going On?" – 3:52
  10. "Know the Ledge" – 3:58
  11. "Don't Sweat the Technique" – 4:22
  12. "Kick Along" – 3:26

Sample credits[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Allmusic.[17]

  • Louis Alfred III – assistant engineer
  • Lee Anthony – engineer, mixing
  • El Cimarrón – design
  • Eric B. & Rakim – executive producer, producer, programming
  • Dante Gioia – assistant engineer
  • Carl Glanville – assistant engineer
  • Andy Grassi – assistant engineer
  • Mark Harder – engineer, mixing
  • Large Professor – production coordination
  • Herb Powers – mastering
  • Rakim – performer, producer, programming, vocals
  • Richard Simmons – production coordination
  • Vartan – art direction
  • Cesar Vera – photography
  • Craig Winzelberg – assistant engineer
  • Dann Wojnar – assistant engineer
  • Kerwin Young – production coordination

Charts[edit]

Charts (1992)[18] Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 22
U.S. Top R&B Albums (Billboard) 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric B & Rakim - Don't Sweat The Technique CD Album. CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  2. ^ Grein, Paul (July 11, 1992). "Rap & Country Still Cookin' on Charts". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 104 (28): 78. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  3. ^ Top Hip-Hop and R&B Albums & Charts: Week of August 15, 1992 | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  4. ^ The Quietus, http://thequietus.com/articles/08972-eric-b-and-rakim-dont-sweat-the-technique
  5. ^ a b Elias, Jason (November 1, 2001). Don't Sweat the Technique - Eric B. & Rakim | AllMusic: Review. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  6. ^ a b R., J. (July 17, 1992). "DISCS Dead's `Vault' brings psychedelic '60s to light". Boston Herald (Herald Media): S.16. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  7. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (October 20, 1992). Robert Christgau: Consumer Guide Oct. 20, 1992. The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  8. ^ a b Bernard, James (July 31, 1992). Music Review: 'Don't Sweat the Technique' | Music | EW.com. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  9. ^ a b Gettelman, Parry (August 7, 1992). Eric B. & Rakim - Orlando Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  10. ^ a b "Review: Eric B. & Rakim, Don't Sweat the Technique". Q (EMAP Metro Ltd) (70): 89. July 1992. 
  11. ^ a b c Nelson, Havelock (July 9, 1992). Don't Sweat The Technique by Eric B. Rakim | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  12. ^ GoogleBooks Preview. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Eric B. & Rakim, Don't Sweat the Technique (MCA)". The Source (The Source Enterprises) (35). August 1992. 
  14. ^ Griffin, Gil (July 31, 1992). "New Hip-Hop's Macho Lip Service". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): n.20. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  15. ^ "Eric B. & Rakim, Don't Sweat the Technique (MCA)". Musician (Amordian Press) (166): 92. August 1992. 
  16. ^ a b Ehrlich, Dimitri (July 1992). "Eric B. & Rakim, 'Don't Sweat the Technique' (MCA)". Spin (SPIN Media LLC) 8 (4): 75–76. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  17. ^ Don't Sweat the Technique - Eric B. & Rakim | AllMusic: Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.
  18. ^ Don't Sweat the Technique - Eric B. & Rakim | AllMusic: Charts & Awards. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-05-04.

External links[edit]