Classic hip-hop twin EPMD celebrates 3 decades

August 9, 2016 - table lamp

EPMD, Long Island’s long-running, pioneering hip-hop duo, outlines a 30th anniversary this year, and comes to a Middle East in Cambridge this Saturday to celebrate. Over a march of 4 albums expelled in a late ’80s and early ’90s, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith combined a physique of work that succinct a party-funk of hip-hop’s early subterraneous era, and likely a cultured that would fuel a art form’s mainstream dominance. EPMD helped to encourage a careers of other classical performers like Redman and Das EFX, while stability to emanate albums with a abyss and coherence mostly mislaid among later-career hip-hop acts. In a new write interview, Sermon discussed a duo’s early influences, inventive recording techniques, and 3 decades in a swat game.

Q. Congratulations on attack 30 years — that’s a conspicuous miracle for any career in music.


A. we don’t comprehend that until we contend it each night — when we contend it, a throng erupts. Now we kind of get it, too, we know? we take it for postulated that it’s OK. But it’s not only OK, you’re right: After 30 years, to still have people entrance to see we is something special.

Q. How has this debate been going? How are crowds reacting?

A. Hip-hop is stronger than ever. Of course, for so prolonged there’s been a takeover in a swat business, cats creation whatever these new kids call hip-hop, and a “mainstream” is still a mainstream, and they’re still compelling and personification that other new swat music. But around a world, hip-hop still reigns autarchic — nobody on this debate has strike annals and it’s still sole out, so that only shows we how absolute a song is.

Q. How did EPMD come together initially?

A. Around ’85 or whatever, we were going to make a demo. we had changed to Parrish’s neighborhood, from a north side to a west side of Brentwood [New York]. Parrish was personification football. . . he was in college personification during SCSU [Southern Connecticut State University]. By ’85 we had done that demo, yet Parrish had to go behind school. So in ’86 we done another demo, and afterwards we got sealed during a finish of ’87, November. Our initial manuscript came out in 1988. That was “Strictly Business.”


Q. When we done those demos, where did we record? What kind of apparatus were we using?

A. We available with this man Charlie Marotta. Back then, all a studios on Long Island were in houses, not buildings or anything like that. Charlie was upstairs in his attic, we had egg cartons [as sound baffles] and an eight-track Mackie [mixing] board. It wasn’t that most equipment.

We used to record to fasten and afterwards record behind to fasten to make a loop — there were no machines around that could make a loop. [The representation of a Whole Darn Family’s] “Seven Minutes of Funk,” on a “It’s My Thing” single, we had to make adult a approach to loop it. You can’t unequivocally design it, yet we would make a loop around a room, around a chair, around a table, whatever it took, and afterwards record it behind to tape.

When we contend “loop it,” we meant repeat it — we had to find a approach to repeat it, not carrying a equipment. So we did it that way, by splicing tape, something that people didn’t do behind then. You didn’t wish to splice tape, since we didn’t know if it was going to be on time or not. You have to see it for real; I’m not doing it justice, no way. You have to see this square of fasten going around a chair, going around a lamp, going around whatever, only to make a loop to record behind to another tape.

Q. What were we listening to behind in those days?

A. Everything! EPMD was a organisation that came out a latest, so we got listen to everyone. Eric B Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, MC Lyte: They all came before us. Even yet we all forsaken annals a same year, they all came out before me and Parrish did. We were means to have all that to listen to before we came, that’s because we were so on point. We were a final to come out, of that epoch of good people, we were a final to come out. . . . We were a final ones in a bunch. We were sanctified to hear all of that before we came, that’s because we were so modernized and we were so different. We were means to see what they were doing and them make a possess music.


At a Middle East, Cambridge, Aug. 14 during 8 p.m. Tickets: $25, allege $22. 617-864-3278,

Sean L. Maloney can be reached during

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