Erick Sermon Reveals The Source Of The Def Squad Album Samples To Prince Paul (Video)
Recently, Redman told New Jersey’s Grass Routes Podcast that he hopes Def Squad can record a sophomore album. Next year marks 20 years since he, Keith Murray and mutual mentor Erick Sermon came together for El Niño. The album debuted at #2, following the group’s covering of 1979 breakthrough Hip-Hop hit, “Rapper’s Delight.”
“Shout out to my squad: Def Squad; we’re thinking about doing [another] album,” Red’ said this summer. “I’m trying to squeeze what I can right now, bruh…You tell Erick [Sermon]—and I love Erick—to get his big ass up and let’s get this sh*t goin’! Like, I’m ready! Because the game is so open now. We have room.”
Recently, Erick Sermon—who produced El Niño with Red’, sat down to discuss the LP with Prince Paul. Orchestrated by sample purchasing platform Tracklib, the two Long Island, New York legends (each with careers spanning more than 30 years) discussed the album which featured Biz Markie, Parrish “PMD” Smith, Too Short, and Illegal member Jamal.
Paul states that El Niño is “one of my favorite albums of all-time.” He marvels at the sampling of “Y’all Ni**as Ain’t Ready,” using Marcus Belgrave’s 1974 cut “Space Odyssey.” Sermon responds with a new revelation. “A lot of the stuff on that album—I ain’t gonna lie; I took credit for it too…so, one of my friends who’s a white woman, her name is Carolyn Robbins, she used to work at Def Jam. When I tell you, she had more records than [DJ Premier], more records than Pete Rock. She had a warehouse full of albums. She was a record collector. Not only did she have records, she knew records. So she would make DATs [and give them to me], ‘check out these samples.’ So I didn’t dig ’em. I pick what I like, but she was diggin’ ’em! The whole Def Squad record was [mostly] dug by a 44-year-old-white-woman! On my children.” E-Double explains why he did not share credit, “I would never be mad to take the credit ’cause I made the beats, but she was phenomenal at pickin’ them records.” The trio did thank Robbins in the album’s liner notes.
Other samples on the 1998 Def Jam Records release include Labi Siffre’s “I Got The…” one year ahead of Dr. Dre’s use for Eminem’s “My Name Is.” Other samples were from The Undisputed Truth, Kurtis Blow, Ultramagnetic MCs, Billy Squier, Houston Person, Wah Wah Watson, and Lil’ Louis, among others.
Both Sermon and Prince Paul worked on Method Man’s Tical 2000: Judgement Day and Paul’s Politics Of Business. In the last month, Paul remixed the latter song as a free “redux” edition and included an unreleased De La Soul collaboration. It was the subject of a recent LAST 7 episode.
On Drink Champs, EPMD recently confirmed that they have signed with Roc Nation and plan to release Dynamic Duos, a concept album. Confirmed guests include Black Star, M.O.P., Mobb Deep, and Salt n’ Pepa.
In another video released today, former label president Lyor Cohen spoke about how signing Redman allowed the label to re-brand itself in the 1990s.