You will notice no reference to Eric B and only mention of Rakim, although these lyrics and these songs are by Eric B and Rakim.
This is my theory; nothing more than my opinion. You judge for yourself.
Last year Sprite dropped a commercial to promote their new hip-hop inspired Sprite soda cans urging rap fans to obey their thirst.
The soda cans in this marketing campaign featured famous rap stars and a line from their respective songs. A total of five Eric B and Rakim songs, more than any other artist or group were used. Noticeably absent from the campaign was Eric B who incidentally still owns his publishing and yes, these songs are in his catalogue. Sprite claimed these were “by Rakim”. Hip-hop fans know these were not by Rakim; they were by Eric B and Rakim. Eric B and Rakim were a duo and Rakim’s album sales post Eric B and Rakim, as a solo act, prove that you can’t have one without the other and that’s what you better know!
The cans and tag lines used were as follows:
‘Self-esteem makes me Super, Superb and Supreme’ from ‘follow the leader’ by Rakim
‘Cool, ‘cause I don’t get upset’ from ‘Microphone Flend’ by Rakim
‘Thinking of a master plan’ from ‘Paid in full’ by Rakim
‘Speak the truth’ from ‘Waiting for word to End’ by Rakim
‘My mental windows refuse to close’ from ‘Waiting for word to End’ by Rakim
This week, Sprite circled back and took an additional bite of the hip-hop apple and once again, they committed yet another monumental hip-hop atrocity via a rap inspired soda commercial. This time, a guy enters a convenience store, opens the cooler and with each Sprite can he touches, a sample of a hip hop record spins for about a second. After a little while, Rakim makes a cameo as a clerk working at the store. Potentially a glimpse into Rakim’s future if Karma is real. In this commercial, noticeably absent are two things. These two things are echoed by hundreds of fans online. First, they ask why, when the customer touches the cans, doesn’t an Eric B and Rakim song play? Pray tell…The next question, also popular on social media asks why Eric B isn’t in the commercial.
Now, let me get to my conspiracy theory. First and foremost, I ask this; does Rakim own any of his Eric B and Rakim publishing or has he sold it all? Next, I asked myself, why would Sprite seek only Rakim, one half of the duo and exclude Eric B. My theory (and my hope) is that they did not in fact intentionally exclude Eric B.
Rather, perhaps they approached Rakim, asked to have Eric B. and Rakim in the commercial and maybe Rakim or whomever handles his business affairs either did not loop Eric B in or they misinformed Sprite that Eric B was not available. As they were the intermediary facilitating the deal, they had the means to orchestrate the 52 fake out. Excluding Eric B from the commercial serves the same agenda as excluding Eric B from live performances; it means Rakim can keep the fee and not share it with his partner. (that was the motive)…Again, this is merely a theory. Perhaps as part of that tangled web he weaved, in a further effort to conceal the commercial from Eric B and ensure Rakim would take all the spot light, but more importantly, all the money, they may have run still more interference to ensure that an Eric B and Rakim song was not sampled on the commercial because doing so would have triggered a release process that surely would have made Eric B privy to it. After all, not having the song in the commercial would have no financial impact to Rakim if he does not in fact have any publishing rights at this point. Keeping the needle off the record and not using an Eric B and Rakim song in the commercial essentially kept it off of Eric B’s radar until it was past the point of no return. Only Rakim, his management and Sprite know what happened here and why a hip hop legend like Eric B was slighted.
I reached out to Eric B to ask if at any time, did Rakim, his management, Sprite or any representatives thereof reached out about an appearance in a Sprite commercial and he said “no”.