Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em

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Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em
Let It Hit Em.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 19, 1990 (1990-06-19)[1]
StudioPower Play Studios, Long Island City, New York
Libra Digital Sound, Long Island City, New York
Skip Saylor Recording, Los Angeles, California
A&M Studios, Hollywood, California
Eric B & Rakim chronology
Follow The Leader
Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em
Don't Sweat the Technique
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Consumer GuideA−[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[4]
Los Angeles Times4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[7]
The Source5/5[8]
Tom Hull – on the WebB+ ((3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention)(3-star Honorable Mention))[9]

Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em is the third studio album by hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, released on June 19, 1990.[1] The group's sound develops further, with Rakim adopting a deeper, more aggressive tone of voice, and more mature and serious subject matter. Musically, the production ranges from smoother soulful tracks such as "In the Ghetto" to the hard-edged assault of the title track "Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em."

The back cover features a dedication to the memories of Rakim's father William and producer Paul C., who had worked on many of the album's tracks before his murder in July 1989.[10] Paul's protégé, Large Professor, completed his work; however, neither receive credit in the album's notes.[11][12]

Production credits[edit]

Much like past Eric B. & Rakim albums, production was credited to the duo. For this album however, production was supposed to be handled by Producer Paul C. Because of his murder in 1989, his protégé, Large Professor (still an unknown beatmaker from Queens who was still in high school) was called upon to complete the album's beats. Large Professor confirmed that Paul produced the songs "Run for Cover", "Untouchables" in full and co-produced the title track. Regarding his contributions, Large Professor confirmed that he did all of "In the Ghetto" based around a sample Paul had given him, as well as the drum programming for "No Omega" and "Step Back". The rest of the production is assumed to have been handled by Rakim, his brother Stevie Blass Griffin and the album engineer, Patrick Adams. Rakim confirmed that Paul C. also produced "Keep 'Em Eager to Listen" and "Set 'Em Straight". Rakim produced "No Omega" based on a sample that Paul had given him.[13] The bonus track on the CD version, a remix of the title track, was produced by DJ Mark the 45 King, who had previously done some beats for Eric B. & Rakim's second album, Follow the Leader. Because of his involvement in the production, Large Professor was chosen by Eric B as a ghost producer for Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's second album, Wanted: Dead or Alive.


Three singles were released from the album. The first single "Let the Rhythm Hit Em" charted at #23 and #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs, making it the most successful single of the three. The second single "In the Ghetto" charted at #82 and #10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs. The third and final single "Mahogany" did not chart on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, but it charted on the Hot Rap Songs at #28.

Critical reception[edit]

Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em received positive to mixed reviews from critics. Despite the fact that it didn't produce any hit singles as popular as the duo's previous albums, it is considered by many to be their most coherent album, and is one of only a few rap albums that have received a 5-mic rating when it was reviewed in The Source. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.

Track listing[edit]

1."Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em"5:30
2."No Omega"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
3."In the Ghetto"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
4."Step Back"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
5."Eric B. Made My Day"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
6."Run for Cover"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
9."Keep 'Em Eager to Listen"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
10."Set 'Em Straight"
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
CD bonus track
11."Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" (12" Vocal Version Remix)6:23


Credits for Follow the Leader adapted from AllMusic.[2]

  • DJ Mark the 45 King - Remixing
  • Tony A. - Engineer
  • Patrick Adams - Engineer
  • Carlton Batts - Mastering
  • Kevin Crouse - Assistant Engineer
  • Eric Barrier - Primary Artist, Producer, Composer
  • Carol Friedman - Art Direction
  • P. Tony - Engineer
  • Anton Pukshansky - Engineer
  • William Griffin - Primary Artist, Producer, Composer
  • Patrick Roques - Design
  • Brian Scheuble - Engineer
  • Ralph Sutton - Engineer
  • Randy Wine - Assistant Engineer

In popular culture[edit]

The first single and title track "Let the Rhythm Hit Em'" appeared in the 2007 football video game All-Pro Football 2K8.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b https://genius.com/albums/Eric-b-and-rakim/Let-the-rhythm-hit-em
  2. ^ a b Henderson, Alex. "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em - Eric B. & Rakim". Allmusic.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 1990). "Robert Christgau: CG: Eric B. and Rakim". Christgau's Consumer Guide.
  4. ^ Sandow, Greg (June 22, 1990). "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly.
  5. ^ Gold, Jonathan (8 July 1990). "ERIC B. & RAKIM "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" : MCA : Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Futterman, Steve (August 23, 1990). "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone.
  7. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (2004). "Eric B. & Rakim". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 281–82. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Kazeem (August 4, 2010). "The Complete List Of 5 Mic Hip-Hop Classics". The Source. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Hull, Tom (May 3, 2021). "Music Week". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  10. ^ "Fat Lace Magazine : "Paul C., he got that bass pumpin"". Fat Lace Magazine. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  11. ^ "CRUNKSTER: Traveling at the Speed of Thought". Crunkster.abstractdynamics.org. August 5, 2004. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  12. ^ "Large Professor: Revolve Around Science : NODFACTOR.COM". Nod Factor. September 29, 2008. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009.
  13. ^ Memories of Paul C McKasty. Vimeo. 2013.
  14. ^ "Eric B. & Rakim Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 7 2020.
  15. ^ "Eric B. & Rakim Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  16. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1990". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Eric B. & Rakim – Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em". Recording Industry Association of America.