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Friends – Eric B. & Rakim

Larger Than Life by Jody WatleyThis is a strange one.

“Friends” first appeared on Jody Watley’s second album, Larger than Life and was one of four singles that reached the Billboard Hot 100.

I owned this record and listened to it a bunch. I wasn’t alone because it sold more than four million copies around the globe.

At this point, Watley had already placed three songs in the Billboard Top 10 and landed the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1987. So she was nothing close to a one-hit wonder.

But the rapper/producers Eric B. and Rakim were and “Friends” is known as the first pop song to feature a rapper on the bridge, something bands like TLC and hundreds of other successful hip-hop bands made standard practice in the 1990s and beyond.

Click to hear more hip-hop one-hit wonders

But this was 1989, and Rakim’s rap was striking and, for some listeners, shocking. Many hip-hop historians still consider Rakim one of the greatest (if not the greatest) MC of all time. The man can drop a great line and rap any time.

So when “Friends” reached #9 on the Billboard Top 40, Eric B. & Rakim became one-hit wonders.

I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with the designation of these boys as one-hit wonders. But I know I loved the song back in the late 80s. In fact, it still sounds fresh today (although the big drums and keyboard sounds are a bit dated…then again, that may be the song’s charm).

Regardless, Jody Watley’s Larger than Life is a solid, late-’80s New Jack Swing/hip-hop record. And if you’re looking for great late-80s hip-hop, look no further than Eric B & Rakim’s Paid in Full from 1987.

Listen to Friends by Eric B. & Rakim and Jody Watley

http://youtu.be/DhmD87AkKDo

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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4 Responses to "Friends – Eric B. & Rakim"

  1. Ben Halley says:

    Seriously? Have you never heard of “Don’t sweat the technique” “move the crowd” “I ain’t no joke” & ” Eric B for president”, all of which have inspired many current rappers and have had lines recycled into more recent songs. You get a grade F grade on this one. Come on man….

  2. HipHop says:

    Seriously? They made many true hip hop songs far from a one hit wonder???

  3. Michael Waterman says:

    @HipHop and @Ben Halley,

    If you look at the Billboard Top 40 singles charts, Eric B & Rakim are not even true one-hit wonders. They never charted a song higher than #96 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s the basis for songs on toponehitwonders.com. So even including “Friends” by Jody Watley featuring Eric B & Rakim is a bit of stretch. But I’m a fan of the song and they boys so I included it.

    Now….if you look at US R&B charts, which are not the Top 40, Eric B and Rakim have 6 top-40 hits. They also have three Top 40 albums. But remarkably, Paid in Full is their lowest-charting album, only reaching #58.

    Here is Eric B and Rakim’s discography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_B._%26_Rakim_discography

    Read the article What is a One-Hit Wonder for more definition.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Michael

  4. Nasty Nas says:

    HAHAHAHA how are you gonna call Eric B and Rakim a one-hit wonder, they are the basis for hip-hop. While they may have not charted high, they are not a “wonder” by any means. You didn’t even include the ultimate hip-hop one hit wonder… Lunitz

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