EPMD, Strictly Business (1988)
Label: Fresh Records, Sleeping Bag Records
Erick and Parish started making dollars with this 1988 release on Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records. The brilliance of the pair's vibe -the only collaborator is DJ K La Boss who adds some scratches to the ninth track- is on full display and their laid-back, no frills delivery certified their fresh. No over-the-top bars here. Just head nod inducing raps delivered over funky beats. Even though we're just highlighting the sonic force of the albums on this list, we'd be remiss in not shouting out Eric Haze's cover art design here too.