EPMD, The legends from Brentwood, New York–one of the prominent acts in East coast hip hop, Erick Sermon (“E Double”) and Parrish Smith (“PMD”) took some time out of their schedule to chop it up about what’s been crackin..
WHAT Y’ALL BEEN UP 2?
P: Taking it back to basics, doing shows, we have a good group of soldiers around us. It’s a combined effort, we’re not rushing making music, we’re going back through and listening to EPMD albums, so keep that same element, and letting people know We Mean Business.
HOW DO YALL FEEL ABOUT RAP THESE DAYS, WHATS MISSING?
P: Leadership, Respect for themselves (rappers), the understanding of hip hop. And majorly, the mindset of “what can I contribute to hip hop music”. A lot of cats today feel as though the music owes them something. It’s kinda like a virgin, then she starts turning tricks, becomes a prostitute, and she needs the rehab. That’s where it is right now. Hip Hop needs Rehab..(laughs).
E: The lyrics, the originality. We are older. But you, I wanna tell the 25 and up listeners, stop being mad. This is what the kids listen to today. And truly if you did support the underground, then the labels would be forced to release the music that you miss. But don’t be mad at the younger generation. This is what it is.
IS THERE STILL A HIT SQUAD?
P: Hit Squad is the First of all Squads. It’s definitely still in effect. EPMD is the priority right now tho.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU GUYS?
We doing a lot of shows. We got the Vinyl coming in 2 weeks, through Unique Distribution. Just Dj Premier said, “its cool to do the cds and all that, but you gotta respect the vinyl’… and Unique Distribution, stepped their game up. I encourage a lot of rappers to release their own vinyl independent of the label situation, because ya know who how labels do, if the first single aint poppin off right away then bam– it’s a wrap for you. We’d like to have the album ready for 2008.
E: I got a record out now called “Give it to em”, with Vick, and we doing more shows as EPMD. We aint rushing it though. We love the support we’ve been receiving at shows, its been crazy!
TELL ME ABOUT THE NEW SINGLE “ BLOW”
E: We was in the crib one day chilling and I played this track I did. And it felt right, so we did it. The thing about EPMD music is when it comes it comes, We might sit in the studio and make 5 songs in one day. Its always been that way, this time is no different.
DO WE HAVE AN ALBUM DONE? OR STILL WORKING?
P: We not rushing the music. We deep into the album, but we aint rushing, we want the music to be right.
E: Nah, no where near a whole LP. We still working. We got a couple of songs and song concepts we want to do. But I feel like how the record labels feel, if there is no urgency, then why should I do it? We are creating that urgency and when the time is right and the music is there– That’s when it will happen.
WHAT UP WITH K-SOLO? DAS EFX?
P: Das EFX still come thru. K-Solo is doing his own thing. E still doing his thing with Keith Murray.
VERY FEW RAP ICONS ARE ABLE TO KEEP DROPPING JOINTS WITHOUT TARNISHING THEIR LEGACY, HOW DO U KEEP IT FRESH ?
P: Always remembering where you come from. The people around you keep you on point. We got a lot of young soldiers around us, and they let us know, that shit is hot, or nah, that aint it. You gotta listen to your corner, its just like in boxing, youre only as good as your corner. That’s the difference between winning or getting knocked out. Im also on the radio out in Charolette, NC. Ima timeless rapper, it classic not old school. That never gets old.
E: I stay producing, regardless if EPMD has a record out or not, Im working, I stay relevant. Keep releasing music to stay fresh. Run used to say, he don’t have a “IT SOUND DEF POSSE” around him. Which means, anything you play, ya niggas will say “it sound def” I don’t believe in that, I have people around me that give it to me real.
IS RAP STILL OUTA CONTROL?
P: I think it is and it isn’t, you gotta master yourself first, bottom line. The leadership is not there like when we was out, we had Chuck D, KRS, etc. You know the S1- W’s wasn’t having that! I respect what the South is doing. I honestly feel as though GOD put the music in a safe place until the people that birthed it got their situation back in order, and that’s where the South comes in. I feel safe, with them having it right now, but bottom line, if you don’t have yourself under control before all the fame and fortune, this game will eat you alive. The south is being original and doing what we did when we had it.
E: Its just like you had Grandmaster Flash, then you had EPMD, then Bad Boy reign, Ruff Ryders, then Master P, and Cash Money…its evolving. You cant get mad at the new guys… it is what it is, And right now its Hurrincane Chris, Its Webbie, Its Pep Shop Boyz. See, the mainstream is being seen, they have the camera on them, but there are also millions of people that still love underground hip-hop. Its not being embraced. If you want the hip hop you love, back.. then support it. Overseas is how it still should be. MC’s like Jeru the Damaja , DeLa Soul, they are loved as much as the mainstream over here. They still love to hear that snare and kick, that sample, those lyrics, Its still exciting to them, that shit that makes you say, damn that shit is DOPE. Big up to Kayne, Common, Mos Def, and dudes like that, who are releasing that type of music regardless of whats popular.
YALL DID THE ORIGINAL GOLDIGGER. HOW DID YALL FEEL ABOUT KAYNE’S GOLDIGGER?
P: it preserved us… helped us. Back again to listening to your corner, when people use your creation, it allows a certain balance. EPMD is about closing the gap. This time around we understand it is what we do. We aint rushing it, we letting it happen the right way. The way it should be, the way its always been