Friday, March 29, 2019

EPMD "Business Partners" (Vibe, 8/08)


EPMD brings the suburbs to hip-hop - and the funk to the party: "Sporting fishermen hats and a slack style, Long Island duo EPMD's debut, Strictly Business (Priority), was the first hip-hop album to celebrate the splendor of suburbia. "It was the Just-Ice single 'Latoya' that inspired us to rap in the first place, but we didn't come from the same kind of environment," says Parrish Smith. "Me and Erick Sermon grew up near the water, so we thought the caps would best represent where we came from. We were confident in our skills, so we had no problem being different." Signed to the now-defunct Sleeping Bag Records (where labelmates included Mantronix, Just-Ice, Cash Money & Marvelous and Nice & Smooth), the duo's first demo contained the original mixes of "It's My Thing" and "You're a Customer." Laughing at the memory, Smith says, "We didn't even know what samplers were then. We recorded everything on tape and spliced it together later." While their name stood for Erick and Parrish Making Dollars, the moniker EPMD soon became synonymous with soulful samples and computerized funk... the Sermon/Smith style laid the sonic foundation for Dr. Dre's soon-to-come G-Funk." An example of that is their smash "You Gots To Chill," watch below...


"Indeed, famed West Coast radio station 93.5 KDAY, whose program director Greg Mack was instrumental in helping Los Angeles develop its own hip-hop aesthetic, was one of the first to play "It's My Thing." Virgil Simms, Sleeping Bag's then vice president of promotion, says, "Mr. Magic and Marley Marl showed us much love at home in New York, but it was the reaction from KDAY's audience that helped break that single. We had the clubs on lock." ... Sermon says the group just flipped the records they liked. "Strictly Business was recorded and finished in two weeks at producer Charlie Marotta's studio," says Sermon, who experienced solo and group success with Def Squad after the group split in 1993. "Me and Parrish wasn't using James Brown samples because we were listening to different kinds of things; we simply sampled what we were feeling." ... Touring and working ... the boys from Brentwood are back together - and still about their business." - Vibe