EPMD’s “Headbanger” Celebrates 25 Years

The legendary Hip Hop duo EPMD disbanded after the release of their fourth album, 1992’s Business Never Personal. Eventually, they’d get back together in 1997, but for all intents and purposes, the project served as an exclamation point on the impact they had in the music industry. 

The group formed in 1986 and was originally known as EEPMD, which stood for Erick Sermon’s nickname, Eazy Erick aka the E-Double, and Parrish Smith’s alias, The Microphone Doctor. They soon dropped the first “E” because they didn’t want to seem like they were biting a young force of nature coming out of the West Coast named Eazy-E

Eventually, after experimenting with numerous ideas as to what the letters EPMD would stand for, they settled for “Erick and Parrish Making Dollars.”

It’s hard to believe that they’ve been around for over 30 years as one of the most influential duos to rock a mic. 

The Long Island natives announced their arrival with their debut album in 1988, Strictly Business, which was also the name of the first single which made people stand up and take notice of them. 

EPMD – Strictly Business

From 1988 Album: “Strictly Business”….. EPMD’s Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/therealepmd Get EPMD’s music: http://www.amazon.com/EPMD/e/B000AQ33PS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1264405226&sr=1-1 & http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/epmd/id384304 EPMD is an American hip hop group from Brentwood, New York. The group’s name is a concatenation of the members’ name “E” and “PMD” or an acronym for “Erick and Parrish Making Dollars” (later “Erick and Parrish Millennium Ducats”), referencing its members, emcees Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith (“PMD”).

The cut, which sampled Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, along with Kool and the Gang’s Jungle Boogie,  represented a different and new sound for Hip Hop, with Erick and Parrish bringing a laid back yet rugged persona to the game. 

The song jumps off with the ill refrain, “Don’t get too close, because you might get shot,” before jumping into the verse that introduces them to them game like Michael Buffer prior to a championship fight.

The E-Double jumps it off in his opening verse with – 

“I knew I was the man with the master plan,
To make you wiggle and jiggle like gelatin.
Just think while I sink, into the brain structure,
(Don’t sleep on E)’ya see, something might rupture.

It don’t take time for me to blow your mind,
It takes a second to wreck it, because you’re dumb and blind.
So just lounge . . . ’cause you’re a emcee clown
Or join the circus . . . EPMD’s in town.”

And from there, it was off to the races. 

The Strictly Business album crushed the landscape in ’88. In addition to having New York and the East Coast on lock, folks out west were banging it as well due to a staple and one of the architects of the West Coast sound, Zapp – which served as the foundation of the G-Funk movement – being prominently featured and paid homage to on the single, You Gots to Chill.

EPMD – You Gots To Chill

EPMD Strictly Business You Gots to Chill 1988 Samples “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & the Gang “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp “I Can’t Stop” by John Davis and The Monster Orchestra “Catch A Groove” by Juice “Strictly Business” by EPMD Lyrics [Parrish Smith] You gots to chill.. TO CHILL..

That ’88 premiere also knocked with I’m Housin‘, which flowed off the dope Aretha Frankin Rock Steady sample. 

EPMD followed up in 1989 with their second album, Unfinished Business, which was anchored by one of the greatest cuts in the history of Hip Hop, So Wat Cha Sayin’, which rocked dance floors and automotive sound systems to their very foundation.

EPMD – So What Cha Sayin’ (lyrics)

From EPMD’s second album “Unfinished Business” (1989) – lyrics: The employees of the year, yeah we’re back to work I took time off, while all the rappers got jerked Due to the fact that they’re wack and their tracks Have to go back and stack ’cause they lack The ingredients .

The group followed up late in 1990 with their third album, Business As Usual, blessing the Rap tapestry with the killer cut Rampage, which featured L.L. Cool J. 

They also came correct with the singles Gold Digger and  Underground

EPMD ft. LL Cool J – Rampage

album Business as Usual

By 1992 when they dropped their fourth offering, the aforementioned Business Never Personal, they were rocking and presiding over a funknificent crew called The Hit Squad, which was comprised of some young, hungry, new microphone wreckers named Redman, K-Solo and Das EFX, among others.

EPMD had some knockers on that one, among the most notable being the cut Crossover, in which they criticized other rappers for smoothing out their roots in order to appeal toward a wider, more commercial R&B base. 

But the certified combination of fabulous-rugged thug-smoothness that defines the mysticism of EPMD’s sound could be unwrapped in their delectable joint featuring Redman and K-Solo, Headbanger, which was released 25 years ago today.

Erick and Parrish blended their verbal gymnastics and wit alongside their proteg’s in a joint that was tailored strictly for the tattered urban streets, and the dedicated hardcore fans of Hip Hop. 

EPMD – Head Banger (Dirty Music Video)

(SUBSCRIBE) Music Video I Made for the EPMD Song “Head Banger” From The LP “Business Never Personal” 1992. Featuring: EPMD, K-Solo and Redman a.k.a. “The Hit Squad” Real Hip Hop!!!

Headbanger remains one of the illest posse cuts not only of the genre’s late ’80s and early ’90s Golden Age, but of all time, alongside the likes of The Symphony, the Scenario remix, the Buddy remix, the Flava In Ya Ear remix, Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka, the I Shot Ya remix, Live At The Barbecue and a few select others.

25 years ago today they reminded us how many different ways they could freak a flow, like Redman had said, “Because I can Jam like Teddy if you let me, a good fella, but still rugged like Joe Pesci!”

The Headbanger!!!

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