15. EPMD, Business As Usual (1990)
Blame it on the title; EPMD’s third album was viewed as just another outing from the rap duo. The Los Angeles Times dismissed it as “hardly enough to get the FBI all worked up” (was that ever supposed to be the point of a rap record?) and Allmusic criticized its production, saying “Unfortunately, the sampling isn’t as clever as before,” strange considering the album draws its samples from a range of sources. Business As Usual is admittedly a bit impenetrable, perhaps a bit too raw for mass audiences.
There are no huge hits here, but it boasts clear highlights, including a well-tuned cameo from LL Cool J on “Rampage” and Redman’s debut on wax on two tracks. “Jane 3” is one of the edgiest chapters in EPMD’s seven-part (to date) "Jane" series; "Jane" shows up in drag as “Jay” and Parish exposes him as a girl and has sex with her.
And on “Gold Digger,” Eric and Parish thrillingly trade lines, warning, “Men in the ‘90s must watch themselves/Cause ladies of the '80’s got hip and went for self/With the new divorce laws, which entitles them half/That means the house goes, the car, you and half your cash”—beating Kanye to the topic by 15 years.