March 27, 2015

EPMD - Business Never Personal (1992)


EPMD synthesized all the hip hop sounds going around New York and influenced nearly every major player in the city. Not only did they sneak up on the scene to be greeted with massive and immediately influential success, but they continued to shape the East coast every year after their debut up until their mid-90s hiatus. Business Never Personal moves further away from the tamer, cool, and slick 80s sound to a grittier and street level picture to make the alleyways and subway of New York feel a little more real.

As the 90s pressed on and hardcore hip hop became more hardcore, EPMD was given more room to "step back and start sprayin' niggas". While the lyrics are not as violent as those from, let's say Boot Camp Clik, they are intense, no frills, and very representative of hardcore hip hop. The only problem I have with the rapping from Sermon and Smith is that their signature mumbles and murmurs get lost in their murkier and bass-heavy beats; that's not a gripe with their rap skills at all, just sometimes doesn't mix as well as I think it can. That's not a big deal at all, and you might prefer it, but the addition of the Hit Squad, a collective of rappers and producers the pair had fathered in the early 90s, comes through strong with much more articulate MCs like Redman, Das EFX, and K-Solo providing needed support on the mic. The only real problem I have is that Kool G Rap didn't find his way onto here.

Sample

Business Never Personal