EPMD
We Mean Business


3.0
good

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
December 13th, 2008 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Further refining the Makin’ Dolla’s business system initially developed in 1988, EPMD embrace the 21st century.

Straddling the fine line between accessible radio-rap and hardcore rap has been an obsession of hip hop since the late 1980s. While the gangsta focus of many groups in The Golden Age was extremely effective in catapulting the genre out of its mainstream-party doldrums (see NWA as a prime example), few artists were able to effectively bridge the gap between these movements. Compared to the modern visionaries of this amalgam, groups like EPMD (Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) are nearly lost in the sands of this transitional period. Indeed, they did their part in paving the golden road to mainstream acceptance of traditionally street-bred rap, influencing an entire generation of hip hop.

Twenty years, a break-up, and a reunion later, EPMD’s seventh official recording does little to progress the raw boom-bap of their early years. However, We Mean Business does have its moments, while making abundantly clear the roots of the east-coast scene should still be respected. DJ Scratch is a definite missing component here, yet a majority of the beats are surprisingly dope regardless. Their signature blend of funk and boom bap is here in full force, with an aggressively modern introduction to the EPMD of the 21st century in “Puttin’ Work In”. It’s immediately apparent that the chemistry is still there, with a fairly even swap of verses and collaboration on choruses, continuing throughout the course of the record. Raekwon makes a welcome appearance, starting off a string of very strong featured artists (many that were influenced by the duo).

“Roc-Da-Spot” is the obligatory throw-back track, a traditional exercise in name-spelling, ego-boosting, and good-natured old-school bravado. While fun, it rarely rises above novelty, but this is alright; in terms of sequence a strong highlight in “Blow” follows immediately. Syllabically, both mcs cling desperately to their classic storytelling structures, yet Erick’s disjointed delivery of punch-lines is as strong as ever, with the multi-alliterative bearing PMD providing a favorable, smooth contrast. Although EPMD are definitely production literate, “Left 4 Dead” whets the appetite for possibility; 9th Wonder makes an impressive composition here, emphasizing each mc’s talents well (especially the relatively young Skyzoo). Regardless, the self-produced remainder accomplishes their intent; a near-desolate atmosphere coupled with a heavily snare-driven boom-bap intensifies verse placement and duet sections.

Likely unbeknownst to the business crew, they’ve created an intriguing genre statement. Within We Mean Business lies a juxtaposition perpetuated through the whole of the release – magnifying a modern hip hop temporal paradox. How does one properly wield the tools existing from a previous century? EPMD have kept the same Jane-centric Business formula, seemingly willing to introduce themselves to the new millennium. Although not quite fresh anymore, this is not a half-hearted business-only release, and they’re better for it.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
kingsoby1
Emeritus
December 13th 2008


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is it just me, or does Sean Price sound well-influenced by Erick...

JumpTheF**kUp
December 13th 2008


2716 Comments


Have you got an Elzhi review in the works, kingsoby?

Spamue1G
December 13th 2008


1292 Comments


Great review, doesn't really sound like an album I'd be interested in, but if I was to check out anything by these guys, what would you recommend?

kingsoby1
Emeritus
December 13th 2008


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely strictly business... it's considered by most hiphop heads to be a classic.

Have you got an Elzhi review in the works, kingsoby?
haven't started yet, but i'd really like to get one up, definitely on my best of 08 list.

withintention
December 13th 2008


297 Comments


amen for the hip-hop rise on Sput, thanks to you and a couple others.

Good review.

OffTheRadar
December 13th 2008


102 Comments


Recommended by Reviewer:

EPMD - Strictly Business
Hip Hop - All of it


win.

OffTheRadar
December 13th 2008


102 Comments


sounds good, i'll listen.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
December 13th 2008


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, this isn't groundbreaking, but it's a welcome return. i think they're pretty much done, but who knows... maybe a solid producer would work well next time around.
thanks guys

tombits
December 13th 2008


3471 Comments


Great review, it's the first non-staff one featured in a while. Probably won't listen to this though.

random
September 19th 2010


2270 Comments


This is dope.

HalfManHalfAmazing
December 4th 2010


791 Comments


Holy crap, someone actually reviewed this? This album went under pretty much everyone's radar.



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