“You Gots to Chill,” “Strictly Business” and “It’s My Thang” are just some of the classic songs that New York rap duo EPMD churned out throughout their 30-year career.
Their success certainly didn’t come without drama, however, because they’ve had a lot of infighting, not to mention multiple breakups, but now it seems that members Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith have a healthy relationship.
In an interview with HipHopDX, the Long Island natives touched on various topics, including modern-day hip-hop and how it’s changed from their day. In fact, EPMD gave their opinion on Drake’s “4 PM In Calabasas,” which samples their classic “You’re a Customer,” which borrows from Steve Miller Band's “Fly Like an Eagle,” ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses” and Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie.”
“Wow,” Yo, P, you were right,” said Sermon after hearing Drizzy’s song. “I never heard this until now. That’s dope.” Afterward, Smith said Drake using parts of “You’re a Customer” speaks to the sheer timelessness of the song. “I think it’s the true essence of what ‘You’re a Customer’ means,” he theorized. “It transforms through so many different generations, and it’s self-explanatory.”
Some might say that Drizzy sampling the EMPD tune shows his appreciation of old-school hip-hop, not to mention his fondness for it. Plus, he seems to be well-schooled in the music that came before him. At least it seems that way based on an interview he gave about the differences between yesterday’s rap and today’s.
“Wordy, fast rap is not that appealing right now,” said the “Views” creator in 2011. “The artists that give you a chance to breathe and digest their words and use melody are like sort of on top right now. You talk about crews like that back in the day, that was like at the birth or at the inception of hip-hop so anyone who could rap period was intriguing, because it was like a new talent … I think the rapper nowadays has to come with something more than just ‘I can rap.’”
In the HipHopDX interview, Sermon also gave his take on modern-day rap, and in his opinion, it’s not teaching kids very much. “New rap is making kids dumber,” he stated. “And I’m not like the mad rapper because we got money.”
“That’s been a problem,” Smith said afterward. “Stuff that’s not hip-hop is being tagged hip-hop. When we came in, the whole thing was to sound different from everyone. Rakim didn’t sound like Kane. Kane didn’t sound like Slick [Rick]. Slick didn’t sound like Doug E. [Fresh].”