BUSINESS AS USUAL – EPMD Friday 01 June, 2012

“Let’s take it to the stage sucka”

The third EPMD (Errick & Parrish Making Dollars) album is arguably their finest. The two that precede it are rough diamonds that show potential but it’s Business As Usual where Errick Sermon and Parrish Smith really hit their stride. Every song here is solid musically and in terms of rhyme skills. It’s got to have some of the best cover artwork in hip hop history too.

It’s also the album that introduced Redman to the world. His verse on ‘Hardcore’ got cut but it was so good that he put it on his debut album. There’s also a blistering appearance from Uncle L (before he became shit). It’s hard to pick standout tracks from this bunch but if pushed I’d have to pick ‘Hardcore’, ‘Rampage’, ‘Manslaughter’ and ‘Gold Digger’.

One of the best things about EPMD is the interplay between the two MCs. They blend perfectly and they’ve both got immense hip hop voices. It’s hard not to feel affection for Errick Sermon’s occasional, brief and terrible attempts at singing. Lyrically the content is pretty standard fare in terms of subject matter. Homophobic, violent, misogynistic at times it’s hard for me to defend now that I’m an adult but music has always been about the music for me and the music here is awesome. It’s worth noting that EPMD are far from the worst end of the spectrum of hip hop political incorrectness though that doesn’t serve as an excuse.

Without EPMD there would be no Redman or Das EFX and I’m pretty sure I once read that El-P thinks they are the best hip hop has to offer. EPMD are one of the pillars that support the roof over real hip hop and this is their finest album. If you have an interest in the genre and you haven’t bought this then you need to make a swift purchase and get your ears wrapped around a hip hop masterpiece.

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