#227 on Rolling Stone's Greatest 500 Albums of All Time
Eric B. Elected President
by Robert Crumb
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - A hefty crowd in downtown Ouagadougou erupted into wild applause late this afternoon when it was announced that Eric Barrier, one half of famed hip-hop duo Eric B. and Rakim, would become Burkina Faso’s next president.
The results of the election skewed heavily towards Barrier, who captured 89.4 percent of the vote. A major chunk of support came from the newly established Coalition of Motherfuck
ers Who Ain’t Sweatin’ the Technique (CMWAST) political party as well as the tributary civilian organization, Burkinabé Worker’s Movement For Democracy and Rockin' the Crowd.
Saye Mouhoun, a professor at The Polytechnical University in Bobo-Dioulasso, spearheaded the CMWAST faction. “We are very glad that Eric. B’s campaign has been so successful,” the professor said, beaming in front of a small crowd of cameras.
“For several reasons we chose Eric, but primarily because of Paid in Full
. First, one must realize what the album means, in the context of hip hop. I first came across it during my time studying in the United States at New York University, during great years of social resistence to the music style. Largely, people I came across still viewed the genre as a novelty and if nothing else, the album revolutionized the sound, turning hip hop into a viable art form. We hope Eric can perform another slight of hand and revolutionize our country, just as he did music.”
The album was built on Barrier’s sparse production. The combination of Barrier’s adept beats and William Griffth Jr.’s fluid, monotone raps both inspired and impressed audiences. “In short, Paid in Full
became not only the blueprint for all hip hop to come after, it also became the holy grail, the zenith other artists attempted to recreate and achieve. Just listen to the title track; Rakim drops a single verse and then they let the beat ride. Quickly, it becomes painfully obvious how confident these two were. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Eric did so well in the polls. We need a blueprint. We need a ‘holy grail.’ We need confidence,” Mouhoun added.
It didn’t come as a surprise to Burkinabé political leaders nor Barrier, either.
“I’m not going to hate,” remarked the visibly deflated now-former prime minister, Ernest Paramanga Yonli. “Lots of love for B. That man, his shi
t is red hot. I copped Paid in Full
way back in ‘87, felt like I got dropped into the South Bronx boogie. Eric, he was very good on timing the cuts, with the James Brown breaks, surprisingly appropriate melodies. When I heard ‘Chinese Arithmetic,’ I was at first appalled, then entertained by the tricky little cuts and the trickling water. It’s a highly admirable hip hop instrumental. And then you have got Rakim, spitting effortless rhymes... hard to compete,” the ex-prime minister conceded.
“We had a campaign based on solid economic practices, a little bit of bribery here and there for sure, though were also having big plans about this drought and improving the quality of life for citizens. But you know, when Eric B. came out to the polls, spun the records, kissed babies and let the opening tones of ‘My Melody’ sink into the crowd (who were wylin’ out, let me tell you) it was clear that they had this shi
t on lock-down. Kna’mean"”
“I ain’t never even heard of Burkono Facilo until a week ago,” Eric Barrier noted, as he attempted modesty at a press conference held just after the news broke. “I knew it was bound to happen some time, though, you know, ‘cause Rakim, he’s a truth speaker. We done some good stuff over the years and this is just kind of like the icing on the cake or whatever. But I feel privileged to be able to come here and make some serious changes.”
When asked if he would choose former partner as his prime minster, Barrier laughed and simply replied, “You never know. Sucka MCs beware.”
Supporters made their feelings abundantly clear on the issue. “Rakim Allah, cats are stealing his game left and right even today,” said Anthony Iuomba, 24, a cab driver in Ouagadougou. “They also send to him much love and respect. I’ve heard a half a dozen albums in the last couple years alone, that have explicitly referred to Rakim in some way. Even their peers shouted them out. Stetsasonic had that classic line, ‘To tell you the truth James Brown was old / ‘Til Eric and Rakim came out with ‘I Know You Got Soul’’.”
Iuomba was not alone in the sentiment. Tena Banwa, an ardent supporter of the CMWAST, said, “Listen, Rakim raised the bar for MCs. You could get by with a stiff delivery before Rakim but afterwards, you had to come with a command of language. You had to switch it up. You had to act like your cadence was a real instrument, because all of sudden, it was.
“Rakim made the thing look easy, and it’s not. His mastery of communication would be an excellent asset for foreign relations,” exclaimed the twenty-nine year old nurse from Kaya.
“I’m just gonna try to do my best to keep the peace, right, and after not too long, Berkana Fina ain’t gonna be no joke,” Barrier boasted. “But yo, I gotta go to my girl’s house because this press meeting is taking too long. So break the fuc
k out before I have y’all shot. I could do that you know, because I’m president.”