You are getting active again after a long break. What was the reason for it?
Erick Sermon: Just the demand. People called. Calls started coming in then we started doing shows. After the shows came we started seeing the urgency of Hip Hop for the kids coming through now. In the 80s and 90s we were making a big statement. The underground, the computer world is making a big statement. Rest In Peace Jam Master Jay, if he were here, [Run DMC} would be performing now. If he ain’t here rest of people are obligated to do work.
How have you changed after the reunion?
Parrish: Yo, we getting back to the basics. The whole vibe for the way we make albums is Business As Usual. So it’s nothing to try, nothing to work on. Just let it come natural, put your heart in it.
You were saying that the album would come out probably next year. What should we expect from it?
E.S.: Classic EPMD. I think we and Parish we know now. Instead of messing around with the game we gonna mess around with us, what our thought process was. Back then we had A&Rs. Parish made records for me, I made records for him. Then we brought it to the world. Forget about people asking us how it sounds or how it is, we gonna trust us. We in it for the spectacular impact. Sales of music are different now but people that like [us], that like vintage Hip Hop, that remember us and like our content, they’ll be happy.
We were talking earlier about your track ‘Crossover’ from ’92 about artists changing to adjust to a commercial trend. What are your thoughts on the current tendencies in the same direction?
P.: I know for EPMD we should be able to keep records like ‘Crossover’. Since day one our heart’s been in it. From 98.7 to 107.5 we getting on the world premiere. So we really feel like, yo, EPMD’s needed right now. Our track record, Strictly Business got finished. So it’s more than just a tape. You know that label or my label, we doing it ourselves. We don’t run to nobody and saying ‘Hey, put our album out’ or ‘What do you think’. We wake up every morning and say ‘we ready’ and now we do what we do.
E.S.: The album is coming out hot. Here go the tour buses and stuff like that.
P.: So for us personally the whole key to success is no matter how much the world changed we stay the same.
Do you expect to get radio play on Hot 97 and MTV?
P.: When we do a smash hit like Crossover we wasn’t trying to get radio. We was just this is what it is. We said rap is out of control, that’s what it was. We said ‘You Gots to Chill’ we were just saying you gots to chill. We wasn’t trying to work the radio.
E.S.: That’s a really good question he just asked thou. That’s a really good question because what happens is this: I don’t think people were really looking for radio back then. It was about college radio. Our records happened to transcend into some stations. Like I said me and P ain’t looking for it but if it happens to be it happens to be. We only feel like the urgency, the underground, they the only ones who don’t got the camera on them. You don’t see them but they there. The mainstream you see them people and see them sales because they got the camera on them. But we feel that if we do it correctly then the underground will show up. We’ll make sure we get heard.
Is your intention to stay underground?
E.S. and P. at the same time: No, no, not that.
E.S.: We EPMD. We didn’t know Crossover was gonna be big. We didn’t know that Strictly Business was gonna be big. That stuff may be. We didn’t have radio play in mind. It wasn’t about no radio. It was about making music.
How do you think the fan reception will be at this point?
P.: You seen it today. We did this show. BB King’s sold out all around. We going into the Nokia Building with Redman in October. So this is without even an album out. So it’s about educating without playing ourselves or putting the pressure up. We got big records.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
E.S.: That we coming. We want you to understand: we aren’t trying to change it, ‘cause this is the new Hip Hop. Like I said before, when Run DMC came, EPMD came, Wu-Tang came, Bad Boy and Lil’ John… we just want to make a contendance so we have a balance. EMP doing EMP.
P.: Solid. Cement.