Know the Ledge

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"Know the Ledge"
Single by Eric B. & Rakim
from the album Don't Sweat the Technique
Released 1992
Format CD single
Recorded 1991
Genre Hip hop, gangsta rap
Length 4:00
Label MCA Records
Writer(s) Eric B. & Rakim
Producer(s) Eric B., Rakim (uncredited)

"Know the Ledge" – originally on the soundtrack of the film Juice as "Juice (Know the Ledge)" – is a 1992 single by hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. The film's theme song, also released on the duo's 1992 album Don't Sweat the Technique, it features a distinctive sample from Nat Adderley's 1968 hit "Rise, Sally, Rise".

"Know the Ledge" showcases Rakim's storytelling ability, sharing a first-person narrative of a neighborhood thug and drug dealer forced to come to grips with his violent and reckless lifestyle. Among Eric B. & Rakim's final hits as a duo, it was one of the most successful singles from the Juice soundtrack.

50 Cent told NME that the song was the one that made him want to be a rapper: "They were painting a picture of where I lived and all the moves you needed to make in order to live on the streets there. It was the law of the jungle out there."[1]

Background[edit]

The rapper played a more active role in the song than usual:

"They let me go up in a little room and see the movie. It was funny: I was living in Manhattan, downtown on 19th street. So when I got to the crib, me and wifey, she knew I was zoning in the cab. When I got to the crib, I had my studio in a little room. I went straight up into the room and found the sample. The bass line. I took the bass line and put the regular drum sample underneath that shit. Half an hour later I had the lights off because I was in there zoning. Wifey came in; I was like, 'Turn the lights off and close the door back.' About an hour later, I came out of there with three verses, man. It was crazy."[2]

Rakim also played live drums on the track.[2]

Music Video[edit]

The black-and-white video features Rakim rapping in the streets of Harlem, with scenes from Juice intercut.

Samples[edit]

  • The main bass line is sampled from "Rise, Sally Rise" by Nat Adderley, from his 1968 release The Scavenger[3]

Sampling and other references[edit]

  • The lyric "I guess I didn't know..." (from the last line of the last verse) is sampled in the 1997 song "Busy Child" by The Crystal Method.
  • Promoe, a Swedish rapper, refers to the title in the chorus of Spanish rapper Zatu's song "Al Filo", released in his album Odisea en el Lodo (2001).

In popular media[edit]

The song has been featured in…

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Haynes, Gavin (October 1, 2015). "Soundtrack of my life". NME: 48. 
  2. ^ a b Mann, Johnny (10 May 2006). "Hip Hop Icon Series: Rakim". Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Eric B. & Rakim's Juice (Know the Ledge) sample of Nat Adderley's Rise, Sally Rise | WhoSampled