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by
1 January, 1997@12:00 am
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Class is in session - EPMD has been in the rap game for over 12 years, yet have somehow managed to maintain the respect of both commercial & underground audiences throughout this time. The double limited edition LP Out Of Business with 14 new selections (along with a must-have collection of 13 classic Erick Sermon & Parrish Smith joints for all hip-hop rookies to study), still keeps them towards the front of the pack in the ever-growing MC field. Haters will maintain that they are light on the platinum plaques, but I’d bet my genitalia that Coolio would trade his double platinum crash-n-burn career for EPMD’s longevity & respect. With Out Of Business, EPMD maintains their reputation & streak of making consistently banging albums.

The already released singles are the standout tracks on the album, whether its the stutter-step funk of “Right Now”, the fast-paced “Check 1,2″, or sure-fire bangers “Symphony” & “Symphony 2000″ . Few will be able to front on either version of “The Symphony”, whether you fiend for the M.O.P. realness (those that front please put your backpacks in the closet) or the bang-factor of Method Man & Redman on “…2000″. As for album cuts, the E. Sermon produced “Pioneers” & “The Fan” are some personal favorites. “Rap Is Still Outta Control” (f. Busta Rhymes) may leave you wishing for a revamping of the classic original track, and Erick Sermon’s carefree crooning from song to song may prove annoying, but those are minor flaws that can be overlooked. Perhaps the only real dents are “Hold Me Down” (ay-yo!?!? - not a hook that I would run around chanting around the fellas) & another less-than exceptional Jane effort (” Jane 6″). As for the rhymes, neither Erick or Parrish are breaking any barriers when it comes to the mic skills these days, but the hooks are tight as usual and the production (mostly Sermon) is thumbs-up material. The only mic blaze I noticed in limited listens was Parrish boasting “As I dust bust, crush your rush, catch u flossin, turn your icebezee into slush”. It sounds better than it reads, the hunt for an Erick Sermon one-line winner is ongoing.

Overall Out Of Business, is solid satisfaction all the way through, with only the occasional fast forward material; tight tracks to be enjoyed by both the Company Flow zealot & the DMX kennel member. How bout that! You’ve also got to respect the fact they didn’t go out to make a str8 up commercial radio single, especially when isht like that is so predictable these days (see Ma$e and Soundscan). As a closing note: For all of you that were upset that EPMD is hanging up their mics after this album, you can hide your hankies. They are just retiring the Business titles (and hopefully the Jane series). Look for EPMD to continue to rep hard through 2000 & beyond.

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