After over 20 years of being the backbone of the legendary EPMD, DJ Scratch has announced a shocking split from the group.
In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop.com, Scratch detailed the circumstances that have led to the current rift and why he will not be participating in any form, on the group's forthcoming album and shows.
"I had been finding out through my peoples that Eric [Sermon] and Parrish [Smith] have been doing shows and recording an album without me," Scratch explained to AllHipHop.com. "Then I'm getting emails from fans telling me that Eric said on stage I'm not there because I'm missing flights. And I'm like 'c'mon E that's not f**king cool.' I've never missed a flight in my whole career."
As with many groups, Scratch stated his absence from the groups reunion stems from money issues.
"Eric doesn't want to split the money three ways," DJ Scratch claimed. And that's fine, but be a man about it. We're supposed to be a crew. Don't lie and make me seem incompetent and disrespectful to the fans."
EPMD is one of the most consistent groups in Hip-Hop history, with five successive gold selling albums from 1988-1997, and such classic singles as "It's My Thing," So Wat Cha Sayin'," "Rampage," and "Crossover."
Fans know this is not the first time the group has had a public dispute, as the collective split on acrimonious terms in 1993.
According to Scratch, despite a reunion those tensions remain unresolved.
"I'm cool with both of them [but] with the first breakup, Parrish was the problem and now after the reunion, Eric's the problem. They don't like each other but with any group [when] the members don't get along, you just don't see that s**t. When you're on stage you're not supposed to show that s**t because you're there for the fans."
EPMD's new album will have no cutting, scratching, or production contributions from DJ Scratch, who since his days in the group has produced for a number of artists, including 50 Cent, Jay-Z, DMX, Talib Kweli, The Roots and numerous others.
Since the other members have not made an announcement, Scratch feels it is only fair to the fans and his reputation to clarify the situation.
"If the album came out and I 'm not on there, the obvious question will be 'where's Scratch?" he reasoned. "I think the reason they've not said anything is they know the fans wouldn't be f**king with them like that without me. It's like Run DMC without Jam Master Jay, we're a three member group. Eric has the money issue, but I don't think he realizes he'd make more money together than apart."
Still, despite the alleged professional betrayal Scratch, is open to working with Smith and Sermon in the future.
"This is only permanent if they want it to be that way," Scratch said diplomatically. "I make more money on my own than with EPMD. I came back with them for Hip-Hop and the fans, money isn't an issue for me."
In the meantime, Scratch will being doing a collaboration album with fellow boardsmith DJ Premier.
He'll also be producing on upcoming albums from Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J.
The legendary DJ host a live chat tonight at 10PM Eastern time through his website www.djscratch.com .