The album debuted at number 22 on the Billboard 200 chart in the week of July 11, 1992. It also charted at number nine on Top R&B Albums. 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. The single "What's on Your Mind" originally appeared on the soundtrack to the 1991 film House Party 2, whilst "Know the Ledge" first appeared in the film Juice under the title "Juice (Know the Ledge)".
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". 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". 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".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". 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".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".
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". 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. 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".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".Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, gave the album an "A–". 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."
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".