20 years in the making: Happy Birthday EPMD (with DJ Scratch interview)

20 years in the making and going stronger than your 1988 muscle car, EMPD is officially Back in Business. When reunited almost 2 years ago it seemed almost unreal. Their first show at BB Kings seemed like an unexpected one-time treat. Releasing a couple of new songs and talking of a new album in the making Erick and Parish were clearly set to make a full comeback thou. Unlike their DJ Scratch who stayed active throughout the years the rapping duo of the group did not see through to prospering solo careers. Reuniting was their way of saying that they miss Hip Hop as much as Hip Hop missed them. When doing the Rock the Bells tour last year they wiped all doubt away. It was time for another Jane track.

20 years and still performing before arenas of 40,000 fans. Very few Hip Hop acts even have the remote longevity of such a classic. Just to put things in perspective in 1988 Ronald Reagan was the President of the USA, Perestroika begun in USSR, Rihanna was born, Sammy Davis Sr. died, Capcom released Mega Man 2 and a lot of the people reading this were still not born or were just learning how to walk.

Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and Big Daddy Kane were some of the top names in rap, still struggling to prove that Hip Hop is not a gimmick back then. Strictly Business album by EPMD dropped and immediately introduced the power of sampling, blending rock music, funk and electronic into then young rap flow.

In 2008 on the stage of Nokia Theatre EPMD celebrated history with Naughty by Nature and Lords of the Underground. ‘What your definition of classic is?’ asks Rakim on the DJ Premier produced track from last year. EPMD answered that night. Packed Times Square arena lacked nothing but more time that night. There were more classics than anyone could ever wish and they all got to grab the mic. Freddy Foxx, Lord Finesse, DJ Premier, Marley Marl, Craig GEd Lover, DJ Honda and others came down to honor the amazing night. DJ JS-1 was showing off his scratch techniques in-between the sets. At the end of the night Treach came up to Parish backstage and bowed down to him before embracing him in a hug. It was a classic night by all means and a celebration like very few have ever seen.

Always looking into the future people often forget to look back and learn the roots of it all. Not that night. That was the celebration of history and dope music.

I stick to underground, keep the crossover…

 

Dmitriy Goldin

 

 

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