Microphone Fiend

"The Message" turned me on to hip-hop, "Lodi Dodi" seduced me, but it was "Microphone Fiend" by Eric B. & Rakim that had me hooked! The opening line of the song spoke directly to my new high, "I was a fiend/before I became a teen", I was 10 and used some of my allowance money to buy the cassette single to memorize the rhymes, and then mimicked the 18th letter as I wrote my own rap to the instrumental. "Microphone Fiend" was the second single off of Follow the Leader and to this day is still one of the songs that gives me goosebumps from the opening seconds.

Every rap song I'd heard before that seemed elementary compared to the way Rakim Allah fitted words together like pieces of puzzle…complicated. Yeah I'd heard Paid in Full the year before and the classics "Move the Crowd", "I Ain't no Joke", "Follow the Leader", and "My Melody", but the sparseness of the track allowed Rakim's flow to star solo. Looking back, I know now that's what attracted me to the song, his flow. The structure of the rhymes made me think, which was contrary to the straightforward delivery of his contemporaries (minus Big Daddy Kane), so it was a challenge to understand what he was saying and I'm pretty sure it was because of this song I fell in love with the art of emceeing.

That's what hip-hop was made of and has been lost in the pursuit of millions, an MC rhyming about his love for the art, the process of putting songs together and his superiority on the mic and getting the word out that he was in E-F-F-E-C-T. The video featured a kid around my age, which really fed my imagination about being the next great MC. Sadly, Eric B. & Rakim would never rekindle the magic of the first two albums and they would have minor hits for the next few years before breaking up, but the magic they reached on "Microphone Fiend" made a 10-year-old dream and a 31-year-old reminisce. To this day, I still want to rock the mic at a party with that rhyme I wrote and if the crowd doesn't like it, cool, I won't get upset, I'll kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug and then I'll jet!

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