What’s left to be said about EPMD? Besides being one of first MC’s that actually made it cool to use your government name, their track record includes six albums and over 20 years of legendary Hip-Hop status.
But for the past couple years, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith’s love/hate relationship had them giving each the silent treatment as usual.
As we enter another year, the duo that brought the world ‘You Gots To Chill,’ ‘So Wat Cha Sayin,’’ ‘GoldDigger,’ ‘Head Banger,’ and never ending saga known as the ‘Jane’ series reunites for the seventh time around with We Mean Business.
The two can easily be thought of as Hip-Hop’s Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney due to the fact that they’re literally the last of a dying breed; who are still capable of creating their own sound without worrying about BDS spins.
They stick to the “If it ain’t broke” mentality by having the “Green Eyed Bandit” handle the production duties, but switch it up with a hint of 9th Wonder. The album gets underway with ‘Puttin’ Work In’ featuring Raekwon.
Over a well-placed violin loop, all three rhyme veterans prove that they have more than enough left in the tank. From there, they throw church organ in the mix on ‘What You Talkin’ featuring Havoc.
Erick Sermon starts things off with his metaphor-heavy rhymes, “Comin’ for ya, the Oscar De La Hoya, the Golden Boy/I’m that dude, don’t believe, I’ll show you boy/ask Destiny’s Child, I’m not soldier boy” and Parrish Smith ends it with his straight-to-the-point talk, “I be killin’ it when I’m feelin’ it/straight drillin’ it when I’m peelin’ it/comin’ through in the Tahoe truck four-wheelin’ it.”
‘Roc Da Spot’ includes elements of the funk-influenced sound that people are accustomed to hearing from E-Double’s production. ‘Blow’ gives listeners more of the vintage EPMD sound with the tandem bouncing off each other perfectly, while the voice sample of woman screaming echoes in the background.
‘Run It’ sounds more like an old school class reunion of sorts, as it features someone else who also has meaningful letters in his name for Hip-Hop, who happens to be KRS-One.
Method Man joins in the fray on ‘Never Defeat ‘Em,’ and shows that he hasn’t forgotten where the booth is, and uses is signature rhyme pattern wisely, “Nothin’ to lose cause I got nothin’ to prove, I’m rugged/who be like f*ck it, If I front in my shoes, you love it.”
9th Wonder’s unmistakable snares take center stage on ‘Left 4 Dead’ featuring Brooklyn newcomer Skyzoo—as they pay tribute to all of the people who lost their lives in the hook (including Hip-Hop as a whole).
The rest of the album contains authentic Hip-Hop material like, ‘Jane’ (of course), ‘They Tell Me’ featuring Keith Murray, ‘Back Stabba,’ and ‘Yo’ featuring Redman; while songs like ‘Listen Up,’ could have used a little more tweaking before making it to the final cut.
EPMD’s We Mean Business won’t break any sales records (especially in this economy), but for those who yearn for that throwback sound in a world filled with Auto-Tuned voices, listening to Erick Sermon’s lisp-flow with the combination of Parrish Smith’s monotone vocals puts their newest business installment right up your alley.