EPMD Are Working On An Album Only Featuring Classic Hip-Hop Duos (Video)
It has been almost nine years since legendary duo EPMD released an album. Late 2008’s We Mean Business marked the seventh group effort for Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. The EP/RBC Records release was a departure from the six consecutive gold albums the Long Islanders released dating back to 1988’s Strictly Business. With involvement from Method Man, Redman, 9th Wonder, Raekwon, Teddy Riley, and KRS-One, the LP packed excitement. However, critically and commercially, something seemed awry.
This week, it’s been revealed that EPMD is at work on the tandem’s eighth album, Dynamic Duos: Big Business. The release is coming through JAY-Z’s Roc Nation, and already promises the kind of concept and star-power that will be a key addition in one of Rap’s best discographies. The album features a number of guest duos, including Mobb Deep, M.O.P., Salt n’ Pepa, Black Star, and more.
At 54:00 of the latest Drink Champs interview, Erick Sermon casually mentions a beat that EPMD intends to use on a Capone-N-Noreaga collaboration. He is speaking to hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, as well as Capone, who is present. “Right now, we have Capone-N-Noreaga, Mobb Deep, M.O.P., Salt n’ Pepa, Black Star…Dynamic Duos is coming! It’s coming on Roc Nation.” Interrupting, N.O.R.E. says, “You’re gassin’ me right now!” Sermon replies, “I’m not. Ask my sister,” and points to his sibling in the room. “[This album is about] the dynamic duos that made impact!”
PMD elaborates on the concept. “We’re working with groups on this album.” Erick adds, “Only groups, Dynamic Duos: Big Business.” E-Double expounds that that Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre is another pair that’s on EPMD’s wish-list as of now. At 1:31:00, Erick says that EPMD has the beats selected, and are determining concepts. He adds that one possibility is to recruit Ghostface Killah and Raekwon for the eighth installment of “Jane,” given the Wu-Tang Clan MCs’ exceptional storytelling.
Throughout the two-hour-interview, EPMD appears refreshed about the past, present, and future. With an excited room, Erick Sermon looks at the space of Rap music and proclaims, “That’s why I’ll never put myself in a position where I’ll change. You can win doing Hip-Hop! You don’t have to conform. You can do this. Do what you do, and you will win.”
Other highlights come at 51:00. There, Erick Sermon says he first heard of Keith Murray around 1988. In his teens, Keith (known as “Keithy Keith”) battled Big Daddy Kane at a New York diner. It was part of Kane’s birthday party. As E-Double tells it, Kane told the future Def Squad member and would-be Jive Records star, “You gotta step up your skills, lil’ boy.”
Speaking of Kane, E and P recall Biz Markie running into them at a pancake house in the mid-’80s. Biz offered the pair the beat to what would be Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin’.” EPMD declined, already believing in “It’s My Thing” (36:00).
Elsewhere in the Drink Champs conversation, a near physical altercation with Eric B. & Rakim is discussed, PMD’s role in talking Ice Cube into going solo from N.W.A. is revealed, as N.O.R.E. adds that Biggie Smalls had asked to appear on the remix to Capone-N-Noreaga’s “T.O.N.Y.” just days ahead of his 1997 death.
Dynamic Duos: Big Business does not presently have a release date announced. Parrish Smith is gearing up to release Busine$$ Mentality on October 6 with the Snowgoons’ label.