The 50 Best Debut Rap Singles

29. EPMD "It's My Thing" (1987)

Producer: EPMD
Album: Strictly Business
Label: Fresh

After the whirring chopper blades that open EPMD's debut single, in comes The Whole Darn Family's "Seven Minutes of Funk," which the duo swiped after hearing DJ Red Alert play the break all the time. What EPMD added—other than the helicopter effects—was a confident nonchalance and lazily confident punchlines: "And if it gets warm take off the hot sweater/And if you want some water, I'll get you a cup/And if you don't want it, then burn the hell up." In an interview with Complex last year, Sermon explained how "It's My Thing" also marked ground zero for Erick Sermon the producer, when Special K and Teddy Ted mixed in Marva Whitney's "It's My Thing" directly through turntables. The song epitomized EPMD's approach: big, hooky samples and a casually confident rap style that would very quickly transform the duo into East Coast hip-hop stars. -David Drake

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