So Erick Sermon, and Parrish Smith formed EPMD six decades ago! In Hip-Hop years, that’s a century! I don’t mean that as a diss. I mean that as that as the upmost compliment. Us Hip-Hop heads need to lead the charge in giving, as the late great Shock G of Digital Underground so eloquently phrased, “Heartbeat Props”, to living legends like EPMD (since we’re too hardcore to ‘give em flowers’). Not only are they still touring, they’re nearing completion of their eighth studio album “Big Business” on the Roc Nation Label.
EPMD (Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) the brothas from Brentwood Long Island, New York, are commonly named as your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers- raspect Nas and Em and #RIPPhifeDawg. As a hardcore funketeer, I’ve been a faithful EPMD fan since their 1988 debut Strictly Business. Although their flow is always on point, I’m primarily drawn to their hardcore, funky production. In the beginning, it was actually Parrish, after passing on a promising college football career, who first started to focus on Hip-Hop full-time. He encouraged Erick ‘E-Double’ Sermon a.k.a. ‘The Green Eyed Bandit’ to join him and form the duo. At first, Parrish initiated most of the production and lyrics, but Erick quickly stepped up his game and developed into one of the all-time great Hip-Hop beat makers and overall producer.
I’m also appreciative of their keen eye/ear for talent. They helped to develop and promote other Hip-Hop legends such as the Hit Squad, comprised of DJ Scratch, Redman, K-Solo, and Das Efx and the Def Squad, made up of primarily of Redman, Keith Murray, Jamal, Illegal and Erick. This sort of tutelage is only possible with their unique combination of talent and humbleness and love for Hip-Hop. These crews took the hardcore inspiration of Run-DMC and BDP to even harder levels and opened the door for the next generation Onyx, Bootcamp and Wu-Tang.
I’d say they have three- check that- four classic albums: 1988’s Strictly Business; 1990’s Business As Usual; 1992’s Business, Never Personal (my personal favorite that rivals Illmatic) and 1997’s reunion album Back in Business. On top of that, they have at about 20 Hip-Hop anthems. My favorite joints include: “You Gots to Chill”, “You’re A Customer”, “So Wat Cha Sayin?”, “ Rampage” , “Gold Digger” , “Headbanger” , “Crossover”, “Richter Scale” and “Keep It Moving (K.I.M.)”. They also have a unique way to make music that all fans appreciate- from the triple OG’s down through to the young heads today.
I specifically remember rollin to Micky D’s circa 1990, at age 13, with my dad blasting “Gold Digger” with all windows down in a racing green 85′ Jaguar Vanden Plas! I learned a lot about life from my pops- and EPMD too.
We know they’ve had their issues, like any six-decade Hip-Hop duo would. EPMD has split up twice but to this day they continue on Funk Mode. They’ve kept a balance of successful, chart-topping music while keeping an underground steeez. Keep it locked on BlaxRadio where you can always find these classics and their upcoming new joints. Hip-Hop is a ever-changing industry but one things holds true- Erick and Parrish stays ’bout they bidness!