December 13 street date. Vinyl edition of this album that topped the Billboard Jazz charts for four weeks a couple of months ago as a digital only release. Jonathan Hay, Benny Reid, and Mike Smith had numerous discussions on how to respectfully, faithfully, and creatively re-imagine Eric B. & Rakim's classic 1988 album, "Follow the Leader". The difficulty was twofold. One, "Follow the Leader" is a revered and iconic hip-hop album and had to reflect its adoration. Two, how can it be translated to a jazz style, especially omitting the centerpiece, Rakim's voice? Reid and Hay's initial strategy of replaying Rakim's extended, rhythmically intricate rap verses organically morphed into a more improvised, classic jazz style. The emcee vocal style and flow along with Eric B.'s through-composed instrumentals, served as a model for Hay, Reid, Smith and musician Mani Ajami to draw inspiration.