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Back in Business

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Album Review

EPMD's reunion album Back in Business may not be entirely successful, but it's far from being an embarrassment. Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith remain strong if unexceptional rappers, but the true news is in the music. Much of Back in Business captures the wild spirit of EPMD's classic late-'80s albums, complete with dense layers of sounds, samples, and funky beats. There's enough skill and invention in the production — and just enough energy in the rapping — to make Back in Business a welcome comeback.


Formed: 1987 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

On the surface, the sample-reliant productions and monotone rapping styles of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith had little to recommend them, but the duo's recordings as EPMD were among the best in hip-hop's underground during the late '80s and early '90s. Over the course of four albums (from the 1988 classic Strictly Business to 1992's Business Never Personal), the group rarely varied from two themes: dissing sucker MCs and recounting sexual exploits. A closer look, however, revealed that the duo's...
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