XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Jan. 11, 1991: After back-to-back successful albums with 1988’s Strictly Business and 1989’s Unfinished Business, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, the duo known as EPMD, brought their talents over to Def Jam when they were signed over from Fresh Records. Mastering their hardcore funk sample-heavy production style, they continued on their quest to destroy sucker MCs with the release of their third studio album, Business As Usual, on this day.
Business As Usual finds the Long Island, N.Y. duo building on their already established forte of thick samples and quality rhymes. With the release of the LP, fans were also introduced to future hip-hop superstar Redman on gritty and funk-filled tracks “Hardcore” and “Brothers On My Jock.” On the “Funky Piano”, the renowned DJ Scratch shows off his flawless scratching and cutting abilities.
EPMD had a knack for storytelling and covered a crazy range of topics like money-hungry women on “Gold Digger,” selling out for fame on “Give the People,” and attacking any MCs that think are soft on “Manslaughter.” They also added the third installment to their popular groupie narrative “Jane” with “Jane 3.” Fans are also blessed with a freestyle over a boom-bap, neck-snapping beat on “Rap Is Outta Control.”
One of the album’s most brilliant moments appear on the DJ Scratch-produced “Rampage,” which features hip-hop icon LL Cool J. On the song, all three rhymers deliver braggadocios bars over a sample of Lowell Fulsom’s 1967 song “Tramp.”
Business As Usual continued EPMD‘s streak of critically acclaimed albums, and ruled atop the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart for two straight weeks on March 23 and March 30, 1991. On May 7, 1991, the legendary New York hip-hop duo secured their third consecutive gold album by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales surpassing 500,000 units.
Watch EPMD’s Music Videos for “Gold Digger” and “Rampage” Below
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