Back in Business is one of those rarities -- a hip-hop comeback album by
old-schoolers that sounds fresh while not bowing to current production
values that make most older artists sound ridiculous and stale.
For the past 10 years, Erick Sermon and PMD have specialized in making a
lot out of a little. Let's face it, their lyrical, verbal, and production
skills were never much to write home about, but that never stopped them
from making some great music. Now that EPMD is back in business after a
four year hiatus/breakup, they've delivered a hip-hop album that
contains all the elements of a classic late-'80s rap album. Back in
Business has simple breakbeats, great rhymes and, most important, it
doesn't last a fuckin' hour and fifteen minutes (or more)! In fact,
Back in Business clocks in at almost exactly the same time as their
debut, Strictly Business.
On the first song, "Richter Scale," the guys take two obvious (but great)
samples snatched from the Average White Band and Kool & the Gang, and set
them on fire -- creating a song that's urgent and funky as hell. On "Last
Man Standing," Sermon and Parrish Smith ride a single note piano loop on
top of a pumping bass line, tossing off fly lyrics like "create rhymes,
break spines" and "it's the rappin' Lex Luther/step to me, I'll loot ya"
like it was 1988 (back when most references to violence were
metaphorical). Back in Business also features a few guest appearances
by talents EPMD helped develop in the early '90s. Das EFX dominate
"Intrigued" and Keith Murray and Redman blow up "K.I.M." in an amazing
display of verbal pyrotechnics.
Here EPMD do what they do best -- biting huge chunks of great songs, looping
them, and rhyming unpretentiously over their tracks. What more can we ask