Erick Sermon: A Timeless Sermon

posted June 30, 2004 12:00:00 AM CDT | 0 comments

Half a decade before the inception of the G Funk era, two Brentwood, Long Island natives tore the roof off the muthasucka with their chest-thumping debut single You Gots To Chill. Released in 1988, the seminal Rap classic sampled okay, lets be real jacked the hook from Zapps More Bounce To The Ounce and catapulted Erick E Double Sermon and Parrish PMD Smith into Hip-Hop royalty. Sporting matching designer fits and their trademark fishing hats, the dynamic Def Jam duo EPMD blazed a trail for the funk-inspired production that would dominate the 90s. When a fledgling backup dancer named Sean Combs was still dreaming about the Benjamins, Erick and Parrish were already making dollars.

After six gold-certified studio albums spanning eleven years, EMPD finally ended one of the most influential and successful business partnerships in Rap history. Amid rumors of fistfights, funny money and property damage, the founders of the Hit Squad, which introduced the world to Redman, Keith Murray and Das EFX, called it quits and pursued solo careers. While PMDs efforts have been met with a lukewarm response at best, Sermon has continued his hit making ways with smash singles like 2001s grown and sexy Music and 2002s blazing React featuring protg Redman. In 2004, the Funklord looks to cement his reputation for innovative production and witty lyrics while introducing a whole new generation to one of Hip-Hops true pioneers.

Who am I (E D the Green Eyed Bandit)

Control my career so I can never get stranded Erick Sermon, Crossover (1992)

Good interview, 35-year-old Erick Sermon says triumphantly as we end our phone conversation. With sixteen years in the game, Hip-Hops green-eyed bandit is practically over the hill by rap standards. However, Sermon, like his contemporary Dr. Dre, still manages to come up with something funky for the people. Armed with his new album, Chilltown, NY, E Double discusses his relationship with PMD, sheds light on his split with J Records and reflects on the infamous window incident.

You've been quoted as saying you're not getting your due credit. Why do you feel that way?

At first, I didnt get why my name wasnt being mentioned when people talk about the hottest producers like Timbaland or whoever. I felt like people wasnt respecting my body of work. See, corporate America understands me. They can appreciate what I bring to the table. The young people are only recognizing whats new or hot. I understand that now. I was looking at it the wrong way.

What's behind your split with J Records?

Things werent right at J Records. Clive [Davis] and them dont believe in promotion. When Puffy had Bad Boy at Arista, it was him doing all the [promotional] work."

I interviewed Wyclef Jean recently and he wasn't too enthused about his relationship with J Records either.

"That's right. I forgot all about Wyclef. Me, Busta [Rhymes] and Wyclef started having [problems] with J Records at about the same time. That let's you know its not just me. I know Wyclef was pissed off because his album was really good.

In October of 2001, MTV News reported that you plunged from the third-story window of a New Jersey woman's apartment in an apparent suicide attempt -- which you later denied. What ever became of that?

It went away because it was all hype in the first place. People would see me out on the street and it didnt match up. People came up and expected me to be in a wheelchair or something, but I wasnt. Plus, [the R. Kelly scandal] came out right after that.
So, R. Kelly's troubles took all the attention away from your situation?

"Once those [sex tapes] came out, it was all over.

Cause with a partner like E Double don't come a dime a dozen

A kin not blood related, but you can call us cousins Parrish Smith, So What Cha Sayin (1989)

So whats your current relationship with Parrish?

We dont even speak.

You don't speak at all?


Doesnt that feel weird with all those years you guys put in together?

Ive spent more years by myself. EPMD started in 1986 and lasted from 1988 to 1992. From 1992 to [the present] Ive been by myself, so Ive put in a lot of time by myself. Im over those [feelings].

Writer's Note: EPMD actually reformed five years later in 1997 to release Back In Business in September only to break up for good in 1999 after the release of the aptly-titled Out of Business.

"Yeah what's up ya'll, it's me, Hip-Hop

I know a lot a ya'll ain't messin with me right now because I'm not the crossover

so the fast buck, the quick dollar, don't always come with me.

I'm the culture, so I stay authentic

and with that comes longevity.

I understand ya'll gotta eat, I understand that

but if you just keep it real and original, believe me, I'll feed you." - Skit from Chilltown, NY (2004)

In the press release for Chilltown, NY, you say, The simplest thing you can do to sound ill today is brag. Thats not Hip-Hop. Isnt bragging in Hip-Hop as old as the art form itself?

They misquoted me on that. Bragging is Hip-Hop. EPMD was the most braggadocios rap group ever. Its just what people are bragging about. Everybodys bragging about the same stuff: cars, clothes and [women]. Its boring.

When was the last time you were really excited about an album?

The last time I was excited about a new album was when Kanye West came out. Now Im checkin for NAS new stuff.

Where exactly is Chilltown, NY?

Chilltown is New York City. New York is the birthplace of Hip-Hop. Its where everything [happens] first. Chill is just a Hip-Hop term. New York is the coolest place on the earth. Its Chilltown.

Okay, last question. What percentage of video girls sleep with the artists?

"I'd say 70%."

Damn... I'm definitely in the wrong line of work.

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