Erick Sermon Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

EPMD f/ Redman “Hardcore” (1990)



Album: Business As Usual
Label: Def Jam/RAL/Columbia
Producer: EPMD

Erick Sermon: “I met Reggie at Club Sensations in Newark, New Jersey. Reggie was DJing for DoItAll from Lords Of The Underground. And DoItAll rhymed. And he said, 'My DJ rhymes too.' And Reggie said one line—'I float like a butterfly, Sting like the rock group.' And I put him on stage that night.

 

I knew there was something spectacular about Redman. Right off the bat. The next day, we talked. And within the next two or three months, he moved to Long Island, to my crib. He moved right in to my apartment.

 

"I knew there was something spectacular about him. Right off the bat. The next day, we talked. And within the next two or three months, he moved to Long Island, to my crib. He moved right in to my apartment.

“Parrish really liked Reggie too. That's why he was on the album twice, on 'Hardcore' and 'Brothers On My Jock.' People thought that our voices were similar, and some people didn't know that was him on 'Brothers On My Jock.' Even when Redman got signed, Lyor Cohen said, 'Well, he sounds too much like Erick.' And I was like, 'I'm nice, but I ain't that nice!' But I guess it was the tone.

“I was already making songs for Whut? Thee Album, but 'Hardcore' was the first record we recorded with Redman for EPMD. Reggie's thing for 'Hardcore' was that all the rappers [down with] EPMD had a lot of style.

"Das EFX was with us too at that time, but you wouldn't know that [because they hadn't released any music yet]. And Redman had heard K-Solo with 'Spellbound' and he wanted to do something in that realm, doing the thing with the letters.

 

People thought me and Redman's voices were similar, and some people didn't know that was him on 'Brothers On My Jock.' Even when Redman got signed, Lyor Cohen said, 'Well, he sounds too much like Erick.' And I was like, 'I'm nice, but I ain't that nice!'

 

“That's how 'Hardcore' came. It was for him to do that monumental verse. With Das EFX and K-Solo doing them, he had to come with something [and make his mark]. The record was for EPMD, but we ended up doing a teaser for his album [using his 'Hardcore' verse], which got people amped because it was the first time they saw Reggie [by himself].

“Scratch did the cuts on 'Hardcore,' but Redman did the cuts on 'Manslaughter.' The first time we ever performed 'Hardcore' was [this past] Friday night [at the Hit Squad Reunion show at Best Buy Theater.] That's why that show was so exciting. I don't even wanna brag about it. It was fantastic.”

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