Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em

Last updated
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
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [2]
Christgau's Consumer Guide A− [3]
Entertainment Weekly B− [4]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [5]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [7]
The Source Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [8]

Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em is the third studio album by hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, released on June 19, 1990. [9] 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

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 "In the Ghetto" charted at #82 and #10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs, making it the weakest single of the three. The second 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 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

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 Magazine . In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.

Track listing

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]

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

Chart positions

Chart (1990)Peak
US Billboard 200 [14] 32
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard) [15] 10


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA) [16] Gold500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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