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Legendary New York rapper Rakim released a series of albums in the 1980s with DJ Eric B, and several solo albums in the 1990s. The Eric B. and Rakim song "Paid In Full" is a hip hop classic, and has been remixed by British DJ collective Coldcut, ripped off by Tupac's song "Hit 'Em Up," and covered by Snoop Dogg during a party scene in the Will Ferrell movie Old School.

Many recent underground rappers acknowledge a huge debt to Rakim's innovative style; some of his more prominent fans include Saul Williams and Aesop Rock.