Album: Back in Business
Label: Def Jam
Producer: Erick Sermon/Rockwilder
Erick Sermon: “2Pac had died, and then Biggie Smalls had passed away. And while hip-hop was mourning two losses, I figured that an EPMD reunion would be dope. DJ Dice, who was Das EFX's DJ, was able to get me and Parrish on the phone. And we didn't bring up any negative stuff. It was just, 'Let's do this for hip-hop.'
“So Rockwilder was at the 'Whateva Man' video shoot, and he was playing some beats [which is when I first heard it]. In the beginning, matter of fact, he was making the record for somebody else. And then in the middle of making the EPMD album, I called him for the beat, and he gave it to me.
“The beat was dope the way it was sounding, but I knew it would really, really be dope once I got it in the studio. I wanted to enhance the bass line, and add a chorus imprint so you know the chorus is coming on.
'Da Joint' was kind of undeniable, with the, 'I made a million bucks...' It just made sense to do. Everyone that heard it [loved it]. Even Irv Gotti came in to Kevin Liles' office and said, 'That's the record.'
“[Getting back together in the studio] was easy. It was something that EPMD was known to do. That album, he kind of let me do everything. I was already prepared from after the break-up, putting in so much work. I had all the music, or most of it, and we were able to get it done faster. I always have a lot of music. He ended up doing two songs on there.
“We always played stuff for the label. 'Da Joint' was kind of undeniable, with the, 'I made a million bucks...' It just made sense to do. Everyone that heard it [loved it]. Even Irv Gotti came in to Kevin Liles' office and said, 'That's the record.'
“Hype Williams wanted to shoot the video for 'You Gots 2 Chill Part '97.' But that wasn't the one I wanted to do first and come back with. I wanted something fresh. We wanted Hype Williams to shoot 'Da Joint.' And he said, 'I'll do it if you let me shoot 'You Gots 2 Chill '97' also.' But that never happened. So 'Da Joint' video was done by Steve Carr. He was doing all the Def Squad videos at that time.
“We got back in the swing of things, and again, like how other EPMD albums and our success would go, it was fast. The excitement was there, the record blew up.
"The CD sold like 100,000 copies the first week, and no one was expecting that because we were gone for so long. Even the label wasn't expecting that. They knew we were going to do something, but not like that.
“Then the tour came right away. We were touring like crazy. We ended up in Paris first, and overseas. Then we started doing the United States. It was automatic excitement.
"Everybody wanted to be down and be around because we were back together. Then we had 'Richter Scale' as the second single, and with that type of momentum it was kind of crazy.”