This track is so firmly entrenched in the hip hop canon, it’s hard to believe it was actually the fifth single from Eric B & Rakim’s album of the same name.
Eric B Is President, I Ain’t No Joke, I Know You Got Soul and Move The Crowd were all higher priority tracks for Island Records imprint 4th & Broadway.
But thanks in no small part to this now legendary remix by British electronic music pioneers Coldcut, Paid In Full is now known and respected the world over.
Coldcut’s remix was groundbreaking for its heavy use of samples, both from other records and from film.
So not only do we hear the Salsoul Orchestra and James Brown, but also clips from Humphrey Bogart in 1946’s The Big Sleep (“now wait a minute, you better talk to my mother”), and the British actor Geoffrey Sumner (“this is a journey into sound”).
Eric B & Rakim themselves are also sampled, with “dance to the record” and “pump up the volume” snatched from their earlier I Know You Got Soul single – the latter later being sampled again by M/A/R/R/S for their own hit record of course
But the most prominent sample is from Ofra Haza’s 1984 single Im Nin’alu.
Coldcut’s Jonathan More explains that whilst DJing he’d already been mixing the track with the same drum sample used in this remix (from Ashleys Roachclip by the Soul Searchers), so he’d already learned how well the two combine.
Following the success of Paid In Full, Ofra Haza’s single was itself remixed and re-released, becoming a top 20 hit across Europe, four years after its original release.
As for Eric B & Rakim, they differed on their opinions of this remix.
Eric B (real name Eric Barrier) felt it was “girlie disco music” whilst Rakim (real name William Griffin) described it as the best remix he had ever heard.
The mix featured here is the seminal Seven Minutes of Madness mix, the corresponding 7” version that charted so well in so many countries being called the Mini-Madness mix.
The story of Paid In Full concludes almost too tidily, with Eric B filing a lawsuit against Island Def Jam Music Group in 2003, on the basis that the duo had not been appropriately paid for their work on the album.
It’s also frequently reported that Coldcut were paid just £700 for their role in making this track the international hit and the hip hop classic it has now become.
Label: 4th & Broadway
Cat No: 12 BRW 78