The duo EPMD makes their very first record since their 1999 album Out of Business (Last millennium ago). With 13 tracks, guest star appearances from my man KRS-One,Raekwon, Method Man, Redman and more, EPMD forms an album with lavish guest rappers to formulate their more recent album for 2008.
1. Puttin' Work In
A mean, violin sample, and slow funky drum pattern sets the tune for the introduction of this album. They rap about guns and puttin in tha work. Raekwon sounds like he was born to flow on this type of song, he follows the same suit E&P with talking about guns, cash, and fancy cars. This is a strong, bold opening to an album.
“Yeah, P my nigga, time to cock back pull the trigger
He a bigger nigga with figures but I’m a bigger nigga” — Erick Sermon
2. What You Talkin'
A similar drum pattern to Puttin Work In (slow, simple), EPMD features this song with Havoc, who writes a 16 with braggadocio, talking from wack homeboys to gats, he fits the track nice. Erick displays his usual humor, and Parrish talks about Air Force Ones and “You ain’t got nothing, since Strictly Biz I keep it pumpin”. This song is a strong follow up.
I’m milk like a new mom titty — y'all wit me? -Erick Sermon
Their first song on this album not to feature any guest appearances. A crowd clap drum reminiscent of EPMD’s You Got To Chill. It’s only a decent beat, the two make braggadocio verses, they flow nice atleast…
With a title screaming cocaine, they actually rap about bustin' shells, and peeling caps. In contrast the beat is rather relaxed, reminding you of an ambient Hip Hop record from the 80’s. A soul acapella sample of a woman singing her lungs out, this song manages to be a fine listen.
5. Run It
My man KRS-One on this record, nawhmean?. The piano loop has a similar sound to Marley Marl’s classic The Symphony. Erick claims EPMD as “The Dynamic Duo”, Parrish slicks the instrumentals with his rap, and KRS-One rapping the third verse spitting the knowledge. Words of Wisdom from the Blast-Master…
Featuring EPMD affiliate Redman, it seems as if they are back in business again. Redman on the hooks talk about all the niggas in the boroughs. He even interpolates some of KRS-One “Remix For The P is Free”, “Don’t Matter if you’re Black or White”. Redman does his braggadocio verse, the beat is nice, relaxed pace, with some soulful acapella samples.
7. Listen Up
ft. Ted Riley
Parrish and Erick rap about how they are still keeping it fresh, and real. Ted Riley is on the voicebox, singing the hooks (Think California Love). Instrumental is nice and soothing. It feels a bit different from the album, but this song still comes strong
8. Bac Stabbers
A triangle clink, maybe a couple of funk samples, EPMD makes good impression with their instrumental. Parrish is a menace to rappers “Spot the devil real quick”. Erick and Parrish makes a good song addressing back-stabbers in general, tearing down perceptions people can make on one person based off a single impression. This is a great song, lyrically it provides a glimpse into EPMD’s though, and instrumentally the beat is fine! (Do I hear Smokey Robinson?)
9. Never Defeat ‘Em
ft. Method Man
They talk suggest competition staying on alert, regular braggadocio, and the passion on the mic. This is pretty ill
“The Staten Island nigga chewin ya ear” — Method Man
10 . Jane
They finally come with their “Jane” track. This track is is only 2 minutes long Erick and Parrish does the usual on this song, it’s a short listen, but good story
11. Left 4 Dead
ft. Skyzoo Dirty
A head-nodder isntrumental, EPMD raps about some of the many murdered rap musicians include Jam Master Jay, Big L, 2pac and Biggie. Skyzoo spits a verse “I’m a product of student money and black leathers”. This track makes me think about the fallen raps stars, and their time in Hip Hop when they were still alive. This track lyrically is the most stand-out of this album.
12. They Tell Me
ft. Keith Murray
featuring EPMD affiliate Keith Murray, EPMD’s instrumental produced by Parrish Smith sounds mysterious, something like a crime scene. They rap about so-called “gangstas” and media bluffers. This track tells a story…
“I really hung with BIG, squared off with Pac
Shook hands in the House of Blues before the shit popped” — Keith Murray
“Yeah, and they keep telling me that
You’re only as good as your last record”
13. Actin' Up
ft. Vic and Tre
A mean instrumental, the drum sound is unique yet simple, produced by Erick. Erick raps the second verse along with some talk from Parrish. Though not a full verse delivered by Parrish, it can be considered, this makes a nice posse cut by EPMD.
“So I’m the future of this music, bet you life on that
Since construction paper and crayolas, I’ve been writing raps” — Tre
Overall rating (Outro)
With no skits, no bull, EPMD crafts a good duo album. They past the realm of braggadocio with tracks such as Bac Stabbers and Listen Up. Nothing is too surprising, or too boring, EPMD proves that they can still be old-school in a new school rap game.