17. Eric. B & Rakim, Paid in Full (1987)

Art Direction: Ruth Kaplan
Photographer: Ron Contarsy
Label: 4th & B'way/Island

For their debut, Rakim Allah and Eric. B took a very literal interpretation of their album title. Atop a greenback backdrop they floss, shine, glisten, and refute any claims from new jacks that materialism wasn't a part of hip-hop's golden age. But where Ra and Eric B. differ from some of their successors was that the flashy image was just the surface. Make no mistake—there's wisdom that money can't buy within that sleeve.