Erick Sermon, one half of the iconic rap group EPMD, has been called a Hip-Hop pioneer by many. His hits – like “You Got To Chill”, “Strictly Business”, and “Crossover” – showcased some of the genre’s earliest commercial success and quality music videos. With partner Parrish Smith, he helped to cement New York as the mecca of rap in the late 1980s, subsequently spawning a number of other unforgettable artists such as Keith Murray and Redman.
When his own career began to slow, and to the dismay of fans, he and Smith disbanded EPMD, Sermon found a long, success-filled career producing music for countless R&B and rap acts. He was one of the early MCs to extend his brand beyond the booth – a wise move at a time when label deals were shaky and corporate America was still being sold on the commercial viability of rap.
Sermon never stopped rapping and performing, however, dodging personal woes to release critical achievements like the Marvin Gaye-inspired “Just Like Music” in 2001 off the J Records release, Music. Still, the audience was slow to shower him with the praise he might have otherwise received if Smith was by his side.
For all his years in the game and his ability to stay alive – literally – Erick Sermon feels like saying, “I’m already me.” Being him, he says, makes him uniquely qualified to speak on the major problems he sees these days within the rap movement he helped to cultivate. After all, people like a young Rick Ross, who at the time was known as the Teflon Don, have come to the “E-Double” for guidance as budding artists over the years. And the “Green-Eyed Bandit’”s got new music, too, in the form of a new mixtape set to drop in just a few weeks.
AllHipHop.com listened in as Erick Sermon broke down his new mission to educate the New School in part 2 of our exclusive interview:
Erick Sermon’s not finished yet! Check back for the rest of his interview this week, and read up on the previous story about his recovery from a life-changing heart attack!