Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EMPD - Unfinished Business 2xLP


Priority / UMe (2017, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for 25+ years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

1992's Business Never Personal is my EPMD record.  It's the first one I heard and is one of my favorite hip hop records of all time.  When it came out while I was in high school, I was pretty obsessed with it.  But EPMD broke up shortly thereafter and I didn't really explore their back catalog at the time.  It wasn't until the early 2000s that I decided to backtrack a little bit and try out some of the others.

While many point to their debut, Strictly Business as a classic, in my mind it was on Unfinished Business where I see EPMD first stand out as something really special.  The production is light years ahead of their debut and both Erick Sermon and Parish Smith are significantly more comfortable on the microphone.  Their flows hit a little harder and you can feel a growing energy that wasn't as present on the laid back delivery of Strictly Business.

EPMD is one of those groups that I think just got better and better as they progressed (at least until their first break up, their reunion albums after that have never really hit me the same as the first four).  Their third album, Business As Usual, is even better than this one (I'm still looking for a nice copy of that record on vinyl as it isn't one that's been reissued in the last few years) and their fourth album is my favorite of the bunch.  Still, all of them are worth checking out as they are integral building blocks of the golden era of hip hop.

EMPD - Unfinished Business (Full album YouTube playlist):

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