Out of the entire Eric B. & Rakim catalog, I think 1992′s Don’t Sweat The Technique falls out on top for me. The reasoning behind this decision lies mostly in the fully voiced aggression achieved in both Rakim’s delivery and lyrical content, as well as the frequently raucous, multi-layered production heard throughout this classic. In the past, there were certainly shades of this kind of force on songs like “Lyrics Of Fury”, “Follow The Leader”, and “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em”, plus who could deny the strength of Rakim’s vocal tone after hearing the opening bars of “My Melody” or “Eric B. Is President”, but DSTT, though not without its laid back moments of scholarly and even sexual narratives (versatility kids, a key element to a satisfying full-length listen), boasted a majority of hard lined joints like “Casualties of War”, “Pass the Hand Grenade”, “Teach The Children”, and “Know The Ledge”; those that really capitalized on elevating things to a new level through sobering reality checks as well as fantastically bold and violent imagery.
Perhaps one of the finest examples of the latter is “The Punisher”, a descriptive rap that which channels the graphic comparison of Rakim’s wordplay and commanding presence to warehouse-by-the-river torture. Plus it was probably titled after the alias of the Marvel Comics character, Frank Castle.