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

EPMD “So Wat Cha Sayin” (1989)



Album: Unfinished Business
Label: Fresh/Sleeping Bag
Producer: EPMD

Erick Sermon: “The second album wasn't coming along. We were making songs, and the songs weren't sounding right. I ain't gonna lie. It was like the sophomore jinx. We didn't know what was going on. We didn't know about pressure. We were too young for that. We were 19.

“I happened to be going on tour, and we were overseas in London. The DJ plays this beat, and it's 'Fairplay' by Soul II Soul. And I'm like, 'What the fuck is that?!' And he gives me the dubplate. I still got it, it's warped now.

“When we get home, and we're going in the studio, I had the dubplate. And that was it, with 'One Nation Under A Groove.' I heard Clark Kent find those drums later on in life, and I was like, 'Yo, how did you find those?' Because it was a dubplate.

 

The second album wasn't coming along. We were making songs, and the songs weren't sounding right. I ain't gonna lie. It was like the sophomore jinx. We didn't know what was going on. We didn't know about pressure. We were too young for that. We were 19.

 

"He knew it was 'Fairplay' for some reason, because people were searching for that, because it was 'Impeach The President' just beefed up. Clark Kent knew. He played it on the radio one time. I couldn't believe he found it. But it was years later that he found it, not immediately.

“Jazzie was a dope producer for Soul II Soul. He was hard. But he had no idea we used that record. They would've been came and got us. But he had to know, because it came out that year, and I took it. He might've just not been focused on that type of stuff. Because it was a dub version on the B-side of their record.

“It was us and the people from the label [who decided to put that out as our first single]. But you kind of knew that was the one because it was crazy. And then Scratch put the cuts on it, and it was monumental.

"DJ Scratch came at the end of '88. Jam Master Jay came on our tour bus and was like, 'I got some guy for you.' But we were like, 'Nah, we're cool.' We had already got rid of two DJs. So when '89 came around, Scratch was there. And he became our DJ for the whole time.

“The video was dangerous. Malcolm-Jamal Warner [from The Cosby Show] was there the whole time. We were underground in Manhattan, in not really a sewer, but under like a manhole with the pipes. It was a great shoot, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner stayed the whole time. I don't know why he was there [because we didn't know him]. He was probably cool with the director.”

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