EPMD released their debut album “Strictly Business” on June 21 1988. The album was produced by EPMD themselves and is always mentioned in the “Top Golden Age Albums of All Time”. It also carries the distinction of (like the great Nas says) having no special guest appearances. The entire album is Erick and Parrish and nothing else! The album has samples that cover funk, soul, and rock n roll – everything from Zapp and Aretha Franklin to ZZ Top and Steve Miller Band. The album includes 10 tracks of some slow flow anthems that will make you rap with the lyrics and dance to the beat.
“It’s My Thing” starts off nicely with a helicopter that sounds like it’s getting closer and closer only to be hit with that The Whole Darn Family sample of “Seven Minutes of Funk“. First time I heard EPMD, it sounded like they had the song on a slower speed. It sounded like the homies were going to fall asleep on the mic. But after a while it grows on you like a fungus and never lets go!
Nuff about that, let’s get on to somethin better
And if gets warm, take off the hot sweater
And if you want some water, I’ll get you a cup
And if you don’t want it, then burn the hell up
I’m tellin you now boy, you ain’t jack
Talkin much junk like Mr. T at your back
But he’s not, so don’t act cute
Cause if you do you in hot pursuits
The second EPMD track I had ever heard was “I’m Housin” which borrows Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” beat. When one thinks about hot Hip Hop beats, no one ever thinks Aretha, but E and P make it work.
The one video I would see over and over again on YO! MTV Raps was “You Gots To Chill“. In the video they are rapping in a freezer because…well…they’re chillin! They sample “More Bounce To The Ounce” by Zapp for that West Coast rap appeal! On this track, E has that opening line that everyone knows.
Relax your mind, let your conscience be free
And get down to the sounds of EPMD
Well you should keep quiet while the MC rap
But if you tired — then go take a nap
Or stay awake and watch the show I take
Because right now — I’m bout to shake’n’bake
The E-R-I-C-K is my name, I spell
Thanks to the clientele, yo I rock well
I’m not an MC who talkin all that junk
About who can beat who, soundin like a punk
I just get down and I go for mine
Say ‘check one-two’, and run down the line
We then get to the title track! What can I say? This track is bangin in every way! First and foremost, they sample Eric Clapton’s “I Shot The Sheriff” and once the beat drops it’s boogie and dance time. If this ish doesn’t get you off your feet, you’re a hater and possibly dead! P sets if off with,
Well I’m the mellow, the fellow, the one who likes to say hello
To a fly girl that is good to go
With the slow tempo, and the off-beat rhyme flow
Cause when I am in action, there is no time for maxin
Or relaxin — just subtractin and reactin
On a sucker MC who mouth keeps on yappin and flappin
I lose my cool, then I’ll start slappin and smackin
You wanna roll? Then Albee start jackin and cappin
No time to lounge, I’m packin and strappin
At my point of attack I soar at you like an eagle
I’m the sheriff, and bitin is illegal
So when I’m in town, I highly recommend this
You Gots To Chill, Because I’m Strictly Business!
On “Your A Customer” they take a ZZ Top “Cheap Sunglasses” bass beat that sounds like the walls are going to come crashing down when you turn the bass up. This jam sounded so dope in the ride, I couldn’t even here the engine or sirens! And the rhymes? Up to par as always!
I have the capability to rap and chill
Cold wax and tax MC’s who tend to act ill
It’s like a Diggum Smack
Smack me and I’ll smack you back
I get goosebumps when the baseline thumps
A sucker MC arrives, now it’s time for lunch
When I’m cooling on the scene, I notice one thing
I’m not Bounce, so sucker MC’s cling
Lastly, every single EPMD album had a “Jane” track. Every single EPMD fan loves these tracks and looks forward to see what happens next to Jane. It samples Joe Tex’s “Papa Was Too” and
[E] Hold up man, we ain’t bringing nothing up until I diss this girl, man.
[P] Aw, you ain’t going to go into that Jane thing again?
[E] You know I had to diss her! I told her don’t mess with me, you know?
[P] But why you gotta be bothering with that skeezer? That was way back
[E] Let me tell you how it went anyway
[E] Hanging out late drinking a couple of brews
[P] Turn on the radio put the shit on snooze
[E] So when it’s time to get up, the radio comes on
[P] Blasting in my ear with the hip-hop song
[E] Five minutes later I hear someone knocking
[P] Yo outside yo, my stereo’s rocking
[E] Saying in my mind “Who can it be?”
[P] It was me, the P double E M D
[E] I said yo
[P] I said yo
[E] What’s up trooper? I have a girl and she wants me to duke her
[P] Why didn’t you?
[E] I woulda have been, only thing she brung along a friend
So PMD (Yo?) Why don’t you do me a favor?
Chill with the bitch and I’ll hook you up later
She’s fly, haircut like Anita Baker
[P] Looked up and down and said “Hmm, I’ll take her”
She came in, I said “Hi my name is P”
She said “Hello my name is J-A-N-E”
I said “Jane, oh, what a nice name”
It reminds me of a high school flame
[E] She came behind me and then she rubbed my back
She started moaning and said “Yo, let’s hit the sack”
Went to my room because she was kinda bossy
Girl broke buckwild
[P] And started playing horsey
[E] She showed pain but inside she felt joy
[P] Ayo she broke wild and said “Ride em cowboy!”
[E] Three o’clock on the dot
[P] Tired of busting her
[E] Woke up in the morning to my record “You’re a Customer”
She left me a note, she called me the medicine
Said next time you have to be better
[E] Stronger and much faster
[P] And you don’t quit, EPMD rock double
[E] To the funky shit
“The Steve Martin” and “Let The Funk Flow” round out the album and makes this debut one of the greatest debuts in Hip Hop History. To me, they are in the Top 3 Duos of all time with Run DMC and Outkast. Thank you Brentwood, for bringing us one of the greatest rap crews of all time! Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, we salute you!
EPMD – Strictly Business Anniversary