In 1987, a streetwise d.j. from Queens named Eric Barrier released an album with an eerily mature teen-age rapper from Long Island named William Griffin. They called themselves Eric B. & Rakim (Griffin had adopted an Arabic name after joining an offshoot of the Nation of Islam), and they called the album "Paid in Full." Its cover was meant to provide proof of the boast: the two men are photographed holding fans of cash, superimposed on a green-tinted image of giant bills. Their fingers are covered in gold rings; around each man's neck is a gold chain that looks thick enough to suspend a bridge.