#OTD August 26, 1989 “Friends” featuring Eric B. and Rakim made Music history on the Billboard Hot 100.
The single written by Jody Watley (lyrics and melody) with Andre Cymone (music) and rap verses by Eric B and Rakim, peaked at #9 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it “The First R&B/Pop/Rap Collaboration To Crossover Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100.”
The groundbreaking single was Watley’s 5th Top 10 Crossover Solo single. “Friends” also reached #3 Hot R&B and #7 Dance.
“The 1st R&B/Rap collaboration to crossover to the Hot 100 chart is pretty awesome though rarely acknowledged. I went out on a creative limb and thankful that despite push back MCA eventually gave in to my desire to have Rakim on it and that he & Eric B liked the song I’d written enough to join me on it. Radio was initially reluctant to play it and some would only play the edit without the rap verses. Since our single the collaborations were taken to higher heights and became a staple in popular “crossover music” on the Hot 100. The also notable video premiered on MTV was also inclusive on many levels and included elements of underground club culture, ballroom & voguing right alongside the b-boys and hip hop club kids – filmed in lower Manhattan in July of 1989. I also wore Jean Paul Gaultier couture fresh off runway in Paris, awls a contrast to the street style for the Club Couture theme.” – Jody Watley
by GRAMMY® winner Jody Watley ft. Legends Eric B. & Rakim
Peaked at #9 on the @billboard Hot 100 chart!
Writers: J. Watley, A. Cymone, Rakim, Eric B.
Additional Chart® History
#3 Hot R&B
#7 Hot Dance Club Play
From Billboard: First rap act with a guest credit on a top 10 hit: Eric B. & Rakim (Jody Watley’s “Friends,” 8/26/89)
Six years before Mariah Carey and Ol’ Dirty Bastard set the standard for pop-meets-rap crossovers with the “Fantasy” remix, late ’80s star Jody Watley invited hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim to guest on her Larger Than Life single “Friends.” It resulted not only in the first top 10-charting feature for a rap artist on any single, but it also marked the legendary rap act’s sole trip together to the top 40 — the duo only scored one Hot 100 hit as lead artists, the No. 96-peaking “Juice (Know the Ledge)” in 1992
Learn new inside facts and perspectives on my second solo album, life and more in my conversation with Shameika “Check The Rhymes TV”
It’s my pleasure to support independent woman and black women making it happen outside the machine. Kudos to Shameika as well, posed and knowledgeable and being prepared. It’s astounding how many interviews I’ve done where the writer had done little homework. My first interview with her was when I was honoree on Black Music Honors “Crossover Music Icon.”
Jody Watley is noted as a pioneer and influencer in R&B nothing the significance of the Eric B & Rakim collaboration as contemporary R&B continues to try to find it’s way in the midst of continued Hip Hop dominance: