Saturday, November 15, 2014

EPMD - Strictly Business

Although they never became a household name, EPMD was a hugely influential East Coast rap act.  The duo from Long Island, NY formed in 1986 and took their name from the two MCs -- Erick Sermon (Easy Erick, E Double, E) and Parrish Smith (Parrish Mic Doc, PMD).  Some sources state that the group started as EEPMD, and then shortened the name to make it easier to pronounce.

EPMD's first album, 1988's Strictly Business, was a breath of fresh air in the rap scene.  Instead of using dance or electronica as the basis for their music, EPMD relied heavily on old school funk, with a dose of rock and pop thrown in for good measure.  This, combined with their strong but laid back rhyming translated to a sound that was trailblazing,

While none of the singles from the album charted on the Billboard pop charts, the album reached #80 and went gold.  Over time, it has been recognized as a classic, and was even ranked #453 on Rolling Stones' list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.  Respect.

For the blog, we went with the title cut, which nicely represents EPMD's sound and solid use of grooves.  While Eric Clapton's cover of "I Shot the Sheriff" is the main sample, pieces of "Jungle Boogie" (Kool & the Gang) and "Auto Man" (Newcleus) are also used, as is an earlier EPMD song "It's My Thing."

EPMD remained successful within the rap scene until their 1993 breakup, and had a second successful stint in the late 1990's before a second breakup.  They appear to be together again as of this writing.

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