Rakim is widely regarded as one of the greatest MCs of all time, and his 1997 album The 18th Letter is a testament to his lyrical skills and influence on the genre. The album was his first solo release after splitting with his longtime partner Eric B., and it features production from some of the best in the business, such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Clark Kent, and Father Shaheed. The album showcases Rakim's smooth and complex flow, as he delivers rhymes that are both profound and poetic, touching on topics such as his legacy, spirituality, social issues, and love. The album also includes a bonus disc titled The Book of Life, which contains some of his classic tracks with Eric B., such as \"I Know You Got Soul\", \"Follow the Leader\", \"Microphone Fiend\", and \"Paid in Full\". The 18th Letter is a must-have for any hip-hop fan, as it demonstrates why Rakim is considered the godfather of rap.
If you want to listen to The 18th Letter, you can download it for free from Archive.org, where you can also find other rare and vintage hip-hop albums. You can also stream it on Apple Music or Qobuz, where you can enjoy high-quality sound and access to exclusive content. Whether you download it or stream it, you won't regret listening to this hip-hop masterpiece.The 18th Letter received critical acclaim from music critics, who praised Rakim's lyrical skills and the production. Leo Stanley of AllMusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, calling it \"one of the strongest records a veteran rapper released in the late '90s\" and noting that \"Rakim sounds sharp, focused, and strong, rapping with a force unheard of on his classic albums with Eric B.\"[^1^] A user review on Sputnikmusic gave the album a perfect score of 5 out of 5, stating that \"this album features superb lyrics front to back, and great beats throughout\" and that \"this album is excellent, and showcased why Rakim is still one of the greatest\".[^2^] However, not all reviews were positive. AllAboutMusic of Album of the Year gave the album a mixed rating of 6 out of 10, saying that \"Rakim's comeback album is nothing really all that special\" and that \"thereâs a few classics and some really solid tracks in the first half, but a bunch of basic, lesser moments as well\".[^3^]
Despite the mixed reception from some critics, The 18th Letter was a commercial success. It debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 500,000 copies in its first week. It also reached number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and number 2 on the Top Rap Albums chart. It was certified gold by the RIAA in December 1997. The album spawned three singles: \"It's Been a Long Time\", \"Guess Who's Back\", and \"The Saga Begins\". The first two singles were produced by DJ Premier and reached the top 40 on the Hot Rap Songs chart. The third single was produced by Pete Rock and peaked at number 63 on the same chart.
The 18th Letter is a landmark album in Rakim's career and in hip-hop history. It proved that Rakim was still relevant and influential in the rap game, even after a long hiatus. It also inspired many other rappers to improve their lyrical skills and pay homage to one of the pioneers of the genre. The album is a must-listen for any hip-hop fan who appreciates quality lyrics and beats. aa16f39245