16. EPMD, Strictly Business
Label: Sleeping Bag/Fresh
Release Date: 8/20/1988
As their name suggested, the Brentwood, Long Island duo of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith was always about making dollars. And when their debut album went gold in just four months, that's exactly what they did. "The story of us is unreal," Sermon told Complex earlier this year. "We blew. We blew fast. We popped. Once it got out the first time, it was over."
On the strength of tracks like "It's My Thing," "I'm Housing," "You're A Customer," and "You Gots to Chill," EPMD established a unique niche, marrying boastful party rhymes with Sermon's sample-driven East Coast funk sound. Their ongoing legacy-including Hit Squad members Redman, Keith Murray, K-Solo, and Das EFX-begins right here.