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One-half of the legendary hip-hop duo EPMD, Erick Sermon was also among the genre's most prominent producers, deservedly earning the alias "Funklord" with his trademark raw, bass-heavy grooves. Born in Bayshore, New York, on November 25, 1968, Sermon -- aka E Double, the Green-Eyed Bandit, and MC Grand Royal -- teamed with rapper Parrish Smith in 1986 to form EPMD, an acronym for "Erick and Parrish Making Dollars"; signing to the tiny Sleeping Bag label, they soon released their debut 12", "It's My Thing," which went on to sell an astounding 500,000 copies. In the years to follow, EPMD emerged as one of rap's most vital acts, their hard-edged beats and Sermon's mumbled, monotone delivery becoming a great influence on the burgeoning gangsta movement. In addition to producing their own material, the duo also helmed records for the extended family of performers dubbed the Hit Squad, whose ranks included Redman, K Solo, and Das EFX. In early 1993, EPMD disbanded, and Sermon soon resurfaced with his solo debut, No Pressure; he also became a sought-after producer and remixer, working with everyone from En Vogue to Blackstreet to Shaquille O'Neal. After a second solo effort, 1995's Double or Nothing, he and Smith re-formed EPMD in 1997, releasing the LP Back in Business. Soon after Sermon announced he was retiring as an artist in order to make room for up-and-coming talent. Most of his work would then be behind the scenes with Busta Rhymes along with releases from Method Man and Redman, then in 2008 he launched the EP Records label and reunited EPMD for the album We Mean Business. After suffering a heart attack in 2011, he became an advocate for cardiac health awareness. He then returned to his solo career in 2015 with the single "One Shot" and the album E.S.P. ~ Jason Ankeny