The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

23

Eric B. and Rakim, 'I Know You Got Soul'

Paid in Full, 1987

"When I'm writing, I'm trapped between the lines/I escape when I finish the rhyme," explains Rakim, rocking the kind of jam that would soon disappear once copyright lawyers stepped up their game. Eric B. looped a chunk of the James Brown-produced song of the same name by Bobby Byrd and the J.B.'s All Stars. But all turnabout is fair play: The British mix masters M|A|R|R|S constructed their hit "Pump Up the Volume" around a sample of Rakim saying that memorable phrase on "I Know You Got Soul."

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