The 18th Letter

The 18th Letter is the debut solo album of American emcee Rakim, released November 4, 1997, on Universal Records in the United States. The album features production by DJ Clark Kent, Pete Rock, Father Shaheed, Nick Wiz and DJ Premier.[1] It contains lyrical themes that concern hip hop's golden age, Rakim's rapping prowess, and the state of hip hop.[2]

The 18th Letter
The 18th Letter.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 4, 1997 (1997-11-04)
GenreHip hop
Length54:10
LabelUniversal Records
ProducerDJ Clark Kent, Pete Rock, Father Shaheed, Nick Wiz, DJ Premier
Rakim chronology
The 18th Letter
(1997)
The Master
(1999)

BackgroundEdit

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.[3][4] The album's title refers to the letter "R" being the eighteenth letter of the English alphabet.

Deluxe versionEdit

A deluxe version of The 18th Letter was sold with the compilation disc The Book of Life (UD2-53111),[5] an Eric B. & Rakim greatest hits collection.[6] The Book of Life was also issued separately as a double vinyl LP.

Commercial performanceEdit

The 18th Letter debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart[7] and was certified Gold in the United States.[8]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic     [9]
Chicago Tribune    [10]
Robert Christgau  [11]
The New York Times(favorable)[12]
Pitchfork Media(8.0/10)[13]
Rolling Stone     [14]
The Source     [15]
Spin(7/10)[16]
USA Today    [17]
Yahoo! Music(favorable)[18]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleProducer(s)Length
1."Intro" 0:13
2."The 18th Letter (Always and Forever)"3:01
3."Skit" 0:24
4."It's Been a Long Time"3:58
5."Remember That"4:40
6."The Saga Begins"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)"4:04
11."Show Me Love"
  • Nick Wiz
4:19
12."Skit" 0:19
13."The Mystery (Who Is God?)"
  • Naughty Shorts
  • Kid Nyce
  • Bill Blass[a]
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
Total length:54:10

NotesEdit

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
  • "The Mystery (Who Is God?)" contains scratches by DJ Sond

The Book of LifeEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Know You Got Soul" (from Paid In Full)4:43
2."Follow the Leader" (from Follow the Leader)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
5:32
3."Eric B. Is President" (from Paid In Full)
  • Griffin
6:15
4."Microphone Fiend" (from Follow the Leader)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
5:13
5."I Ain't No Joke" (from Paid In Full)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
3:52
6."Lyrics of Fury" (from Follow the Leader)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
4:11
7."My Melody" (from Paid In Full)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
6:47
8."Know the Ledge" (from Don't Sweat the Technique)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
3:58
9."Move the Crowd" (from Paid In Full)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
3:36
10."Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em" (from Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em)
5:24
11."Mahogany" (from Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em)
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
  • Paul C
  • Large Professor
4:27
12."In the Ghetto" (from Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em)
  • Griffin
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
  • Paul C
  • Large Professor
5:26
13."Casualties of War" (from Don't Sweat the Technique)
  • Griffin
  • Eric B.
4:02
14."The Punisher" (from Don't Sweat the Technique)
  • Griffin
  • Eric B.
4:06
15."Paid in Full" (from Paid In Full)
  • Griffin
  • Barrier
  • Eric B.
  • Rakim
3:49
Total length:1:11:21

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Certifications for The 18th Letter
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[23] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

The 18th Letter & The Book of LifeEdit

Certifications for The 18th Letter & The Book of Life
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[24] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gaillard, Mazi (December 1, 1997). "CD Review 36 - Juice Magazine". Juice Magazine.
  2. ^ Diers, James (December 24, 1997). "Rakim: The 18th Letter, page 1 - Music - City Pages". City Pages. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  3. ^ Coleman, Brian (January 1998). "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". CMJ New Music Monthly.
  4. ^ Wilson, Ken (December 11, 1997). "RAKIM, "THE 18TH LETTER/THE BOOK OF LIFE, UNIVERSAL"". The Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  5. ^ Jacobs, Qa'id. "The 18th Letter/The Book of Life - Rakim". AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  6. ^ Chandler, Justin (April 1, 2008). "Rakim :: The 18th Letter :: MCA/Universal Records". RapReviews. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  7. ^ "Rappers Mase, Jay-Z, Rakim Lead Pack". Los Angeles Times. November 13, 1997. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  9. ^ Stanley, Leo. "The 18th Letter - Rakim". Allmusic. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  10. ^ Baker, Soren (November 14, 1997). "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2009. Alt URL
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 21, 1998). "Consumer Guide: The 18th Letter". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  12. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri (December 7, 1997). "RECORDINGS VIEW ; A Rap Pioneer Defies the Odds - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  13. ^ Schreiber, Ryan. "Rakim: The 18th Letter/The Book of Life: Pitchfork Review". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on June 19, 2002. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  14. ^ Morales, Ed (November 10, 1997). "Rakim: The 18th Letter/The Book of Life : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  15. ^ Columnist (December 1997). "Music:The 18th Letter/The Book of Life (CD) by Rakim (Artist)". The Source. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  16. ^ Gonzales, Michael A. (January 1998). "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Spin.
  17. ^ Jones, Steve (November 4, 1997). "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". USA Today.
  18. ^ Reynolds, J.R. "Review: The 18th Letter / The Book of Life". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  19. ^ "Rakim Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  20. ^ "Rakim Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  21. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1997". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  22. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1998". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Rakim – The 18th Letter". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Rakim – The 18th Letter & The Book of Life". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 2, 2020.

External linksEdit