Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Erick Sermon - No Pressure LP


Def Jam (1993)

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 twenty-five plus 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.

I've said on more than a few occasions that Business Never Personal by EPMD is one of my absolute favorite hip hop records.  I really think it was the peak of EPMD and the fact that they acrimoniously split up after that album is a real bummer and one of the bigger 'what ifs' that I can think of.  I can only imagine what they would have come up with for their next album.  Though, I guess we can see pieces of that with the respective Erick Sermon and Parish Smith solo records.

No Pressure was Erick Sermon's foray into single life in 1993. I'm not sure how exactly, but I completely missed this album in 1993.  I never heard a second of it and it wasn't until much later that I listened to it for the first time.  I've tried out some other Erick Sermon solo records, but this is the only one that ever stuck with me.  It's pretty much the only one that feels rugged and has production that sounds like EPMD.  I feel like the R&B influences were far too prevalent by the time he got to his sophomore release Double Or Nothing, but No Pressure still hits pretty hard.

Parish Smith is definitely missed on this album.  E holds his own on the mic and is pretty masterful when it comes to production, but asking him to essentially carry the entire record is probably too much.  The back and forth that was such a huge part of EPMD is obviously not part of No Pressure, and its absence is really noticeable.  But if you take this album at face value and don't try to compare it to EPMD (which is quite difficult), it's a solid early 90s hip hop record.  It might not hit the highs of Erick's work with EPMD, but it is miles better than Parish Smith's PMD solo record that came out the following year.

Erick Sermon - No Pressure (YouTube music album link):

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