On this day, April 1st, in hip-hop history…
1989: Still flying high from their critically acclaimed debut album, Strictly Business, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith dropped EPMD’s second album, Unfinished Business, the following year. Mixing in the same ingredients from their classic debut, Erick and Parrish struck gold for the second time with an RIAA certification to prove it. At this point, there were two things that you simply couldn’t deny about EPMD: they were going to make more dollars, and these guys from Brentwood, Long Island were here to stay.
Unfinished Business showcased EPMD’s skills as they flowed over production that boasted samples from artists such as The Stylistics, Funkadelic, and of course, James Brown. Erick and Parrish brought the braggadocio rhymes on tracks like “Get the Bozack” and “The Big Payback,” but EPMD shared the wealth. Their new recruit, DJ Scratch, got his shine on with “Say What Cha Sayin’”, which was the only cut from the album that made it onto the charts. It peaked at the No. 5 spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart. “Knick Knack Patty Wack” introduced K-Solo, the first recruit for EPMD’s Hit Squad group to the hip-hop world.
Even though they only had one charting single, Unfinished Business would help the group surpass the “sophomore slump”. It became EPMD’s second album to peak at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart. Furthermore, this album helped lay the groundwork for the careers of Hit Squad artists such as Redman and Das EFX. It would be the group’s last album on Priority Records, as they furthered their career as members of the Def Jam family, starting with 1990’s Business As Usual.—Jamal Bell