EPMD – Business As Usual
EPMD have undeniable chemistry and that’s completely obvious on their third album, 1990’s Business As Usual. Production was entirely handled by the duo and evolved from the Roger Troutman and George Clinton samples. One of my favorite albums of times; lets revisit.
Business As Usual (1991)
We last heard the Brothers from Long Island on 1989’s Unfinished Business. This album continued their braggadocio rhymes over hard funk beats. Erick and Parrish come out swinging like ancient samurais on the album intro “I’m Mad”. Over fast paced schizophrenic piano chords, the pair kick rhymes against those cats that have any issues with them.
Hardcore ft Redman
“Hardcore” follows and is perhaps one of the most important songs in history as it introduced the Earth to the zany flow of Redman. Over a much slower, laid back beat complete with some funky foghorns; Redman shows some serious alliteration on his rhymes and you soon realize this kid was about to be special when he flows:
Redman ready to rock ruff rhymes/ Renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time
Rampage ft. LL Cool J
EPMD picked the pace back up on the “Rampage”. The G.O.A.T; LL Cool J drops by and help create one of the greatest hip hop songs ever. Over a very familiar sample from blues guitarist maestro Lowell Fulsom’s “Tramp”, the crew kicks some serious battle rhymes. Uncle L easily has the best verse (one of my favorites in his lengthy discography) as he ends with
A clip to slip in and start rippin
Divin and dippin and givin punks a whippin (aww shit)
Just in case you wanna go a few rounds or so
I’m down so that you clowns’ll know
Me gettin burnt or hurt won’t be tolerated
I got rhymes up the huh – forget it I’m constipated – L!
Erick is no slouch, he ends the song with
Security’s packed and wall to wall can’t fall
A rap tank is full so I can’t stall
My microphone is filled with premium
Any whack MC that flexes, I’m creamin him
Not with lotion, bust the motion
Flotation when I rock on the mic, I’m like coastin
I’m unique, fatigued at my peak you still seek
A style cause yours extra weak
DJ Scratch’s turntable work on the jazz influenced hook just added another dimension. The video was colorful, fun and featured L kicking his rhymes from behind a screen. I never knew if this was due to any beef or just creativity; I love it. Pay attention and you can spot a young J Lo when she was just Hey Ho.
After 3 strong songs, albums can begin to lose steam, but “Manslaughter” shed that myth. Over a smooth 70’s sample courtesy of legendary Barry White’s project, Love Unlimited Orchestra, the duo kick their shit and its sounded o so lovely. Story time is next. What’s an EPMD without a song about Jane? They don’t disappoint as the pair tosses rhymes back and forth as they told their latest Jane escapade. This as a short ride, but the ending will have you in cramps. Erick and Parrish each have a verse over a mean instrumental that exudes 70’s funk on “For My People” Parrish has a conversation with his 6 pounder (played by Erick) on “Mr. Bozack” Moral to this story, use a condom.
So to fellas, who wanna keep they cash
Beware of the jack hammer and the helmet that glows
Cause shes a gold digger
The beat was minimal, but DJ Scratch once again provides magic on the hook with some mean scratches along with some type of Gregorian Chants. The video was hilarious as it depicted chicks actually mining for gold. This is 90’s hip hop at its best.
Give The People
“Give the People” was up next and EPMD showed a little range. They discussed their rise to fame, the idea of selling out, and the white media’s perception of rap. P even had a line here stating he had thoughts of a black president.
Erick and Parrish were having a little fun on “Rap is Outta Control”. They experimented with a different flow. At first listen, I didn’t even recognize Parrish on his verse. “Brothers on My Jock” is vintage EPMD and featured Redman and a sinister interpretation of the classic record by Bob James; “Nautilus”. “Underground” features the frequently used “Hydra” sample courtesy of my pops favorite, Grover Washington Jr. The fellas invited their Hit Squad brethren, K Solo on the violent “Hit Squat Heist”. The album ends with my personal favorite “Funky Piano” as they pay homage to their DJ Scratch. The pair each drop one verse, but the highlight here is scratching and mixing. DJ Scratch showed off his technique and sounded like he was scratching to save his life. Classic material here. This been on repeat for 26 years.
EPMD- Funky Piano
No album fillers here, just hard hitting rhymes and bass heavy music with sample sprinkled throughout the album. Business as Usual is the best album from one of the greatest duos to ever grab a mic.
EPMD – Business As Usual