The 18th Letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The 18th Letter
The 18th Letter.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 4, 1997 (1997-11-04)
GenreHip hop
LabelUniversal/MCA Records
ProducerFather Shaheed, DJ Premier, DJ Clark Kent, Pete Rock, Nick Wiz, Naughty Shorts, Kid Nyce
Rakim chronology
The 18th Letter
The Master
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[2]
Robert Christgau(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)[3]
The New York Times(favorable)[4]
Pitchfork Media(8.0/10)[5]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[6]
The Source3.5/5 stars[7]
USA Today4/4 stars[9]
Yahoo! Music(favorable)[10]

The 18th Letter is the debut solo album of American emcee Rakim, released November 4, 1997 on Universal Records in the United States. It is his first release of new material, following a five-year hiatus after Don't Sweat the Technique (1992) as duo Eric B. & Rakim.[11][12] The album features production by DJ Clark Kent, Pete Rock, Father Shaheed, Nick Wiz and DJ Premier.[13] It contains lyrical themes that concern the hip hop's golden age, Rakim's rapping prowess, and the state of hip hop.[14]

The album debuted at number 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold 500,000 copies in the United States.[15][16] A deluxe version of The 18th Letter was sold with the compilation disc The Book of Life (UD2-53111),[17] an Eric B. & Rakim greatest hits collection.[18] The Book of Life was also issued separately as a double vinyl LP in 1997.[19]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Producer Length
1 Intro 0:13
2 The 18th Letter (Always and Forever) Father Shaheed 3:01
3 Skit 0:24
4 It's Been a Long Time DJ Premier 3:58
5 Remember That DJ Clark Kent 4:40
6 The Saga Begins Pete Rock 4:22
7 Skit 0:19
8 Guess Who's Back DJ Clark Kent 4:11
9 Stay a While DJ Clark Kent 4:25
10 New York (Ya Out There) DJ Premier 4:04
11 Show Me Love Nick Wiz 4:19
12 Skit 0:19
13 The Mystery (Who Is God?) Produced by Naughty Shorts; Kid Nyce; Co-Produced by Bill Blass; Scratches by DJ Sond 5:21
14 When I'm Flowin' Pete Rock 5:04
15 It's Been a Long Time (Suave House Mix) Mo-Suave-A 3:59
16 Guess Who's Back" (Alternative Mix) DJ Clark Kent 4:11
17 Outro 1:20

The Book of Life[edit]

# Title Original album Length
1 I Know You Got Soul Paid In Full 4:43
2 Follow the Leader Follow the Leader 5:32
3 Eric B. Is President Paid In Full 6:15
4 Microphone Fiend Follow the Leader 5:13
5 I Ain't No Joke Paid In Full 3:52
6 Lyrics of Fury Follow the Leader 4:11
7 My Melody Paid In Full 6:47
8 Know the Ledge Don't Sweat the Technique 3:58
9 Move the Crowd Paid In Full 3:36
10 Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em 5:24
11 Mahogany Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em 4:27
12 In the Ghetto Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em 5:26
13 Casualties of War Don't Sweat the Technique 4:02
14 The Punisher Don't Sweat the Technique 4:06
15 Paid in Full Paid In Full 3:49

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanley, Leo. Review: The 18th Letter. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  2. ^ Baker, Soren. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Chicago Tribune: 35. November 14, 1997. Archived from the original on 2009-08-21. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: The 18th Letter". The Village Voice: April 21, 1998. Archived from the original on 2009-08-21.
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri. Review: The 18th Letter. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  5. ^ Schreiber, Ryan. Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  6. ^ Morales, Ed. Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  7. ^ Columnist. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life Archived 2009-11-19 at the Wayback Machine". The Source: 45. December 1997.
  8. ^ Gonzales, Michael A. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Spin: 114. January 1998.
  9. ^ Jones, Steve. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". USA Today: 06.D. November 4, 1997.
  10. ^ Reynolds, J.R. Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  11. ^ Coleman, Brian. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". CMJ: 57. January 1998.
  12. ^ Wilson, Ken. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". The Cincinnati Post: December 11, 1997. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  13. ^ Gaillard, Mazi. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Juice (skateboarding magazine): #36. November 1997.
  14. ^ Diers, James. Review: The 18th Letter Archived 2009-09-09 at the Wayback Machine. City Pages. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  15. ^ Rappers Mase, Jay-Z, Rakim Lead Pack. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-01-22.
  16. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2010-01-22.
  17. ^ Jacobs, Qa'id. Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  18. ^ Chandler, Justin. Review: The 18th Letter. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.
  19. ^ The Book of Life - Eric B. & Rakim's Greatest Hits (2xLP, Comp). Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-08-21.

External links[edit]

  • The 18th Letter at Discogs
  • Farber, Jim. "Rapper Keeps His Cool". New York Daily News. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  • The Microphone God — By Vibe