The 18th Letter
The 18th Letter.jpg
Studio album by Rakim


November 4, 1997


June 1995 - August 1996


Track Factory Studios
(Long Island City, New York)
D&D Studios
(New York City, New York)
Giant Recording Studios
(New York City, New York)
Carriage House Studios
(Stamford, CT)
Greene St. Studios
(New York City, New York)
Hit Factory Studios
(New York City, New York)
Urban House Studios
(Houston, TX)


Hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Conscious hip hop, Hardcore hip hop




Universal Records


DJ Clark Kent, Rakim (exec.), DJ Premier, Father Shaheed, Pete Rock, Nick Wiz, Naughty Shorts, Kid Nyce, Bill Blass, Mo-Suave-A

The 18th Letter is the debut studio album by American Hip hop emcee Rakim. It was released in November 4, 1997 under Universal Records. Recording sessions took place at Track Factory Studios, D&D Studios, Giant Recording Studios, Greene St. Studios and Hit Factory Studios in New York City, Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Connecticut and at Urban House Studios in Houston, Texas from June 1995 to August 1996. The production was handled by DJ Clark Kent, DJ Premier, Naughty Shorts, Pete Rock, Father Shaheed, Nick Wiz, Mo-Suave-A, Kid Nyce and Bill Blass.

The album debuted at #4 on the US Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling 500,000 copies in its first week.

The 18th Letter spawned the singles "It's Been a Long Time", "Guess Who's Back" and "The Saga Begins".

Track listing[edit | edit source]

  1. "Intro" - 0:13
  2. "The 18th Letter (Always and Forever)" - 3:01
  3. "Skit" - 0:24
  4. "It's Been a Long Time" - 3:58
  5. "Remember That" - 4:40
  6. "The Saga Begins" - 4:22
  7. "Skit" - 0:19
  8. "Guess Who's Back" - 4:11
  9. "Stay a While" - 4:25
  10. "New York (Ya Out There)" - 4:04
  11. "Show Me Love" - 4:19
  12. "Skit" - 0:19
  13. "The Mystery (Who Is God?)" - 5:21
  14. "When I'm Flowin'" - 5:04
  15. "It's Been a Long Time (Suave House Mix)" - 3:59
  16. "Guess Who's Back (Alternative Mix)" - 4:11
  17. "Outro" - 1:20

Samples[edit | edit source]

The 18th Letter (Always and Forever)

  • "Rainy Days & Mondays" by The Smith Connection
  • "Do Your Thing" by Lyn Collins
  • "Blow Your Head" by Fred Wesley and the J.B.'s

It's Been a Long Time

  • "Call Me, Come Back Home" by The Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds
  • "Eric B. Is President" and "I Know You Got Soul" by Eric B. & Rakim

Remember That

  • "Thoughts of Old Flames" by Pleasure
  • "Reminisce" by Mary J. Blige

The Saga Begins

  • "Love Has a Way" by Monty Alexander
  • "Hell on Earth (Front Lines)" by Mobb Deep

Guess Who's Back

Stay a While

  • "Stay a Little While, Child" by Loose Ends

New York (Ya Out There)

  • "Down and Out in New York City" by James Brown
  • "Wild Style Theme Rap One" by Grandmaster Caz

Show Me Love

  • "Understanding" by Hubert Eaves III

The Mystery (Who Is God?)

  • "I'll Never Let You Go" by The Sylvers
  • "Good Morning Heartache" by Charles McPhearson

When I'm Flowin'

  • "The Distant Galaxy" by Don Sebesky
  • "A Time for Love" by Monty Alexander
  • "Just Rhymin' With Biz" by Big Daddy Kane feat. Biz Markie

It's Been a Long Time (Suave House Mix)

  • "Long Red" by Mountain
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