EPMD - Out Of Business      
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written by Philip Oliver    
Consistency, that’s what Erick and Parrish have brought us for over 10 years and now before we enter the millennium they are bowing out, but are they? Out of Business has been cryptically declared as their last album together and with a title like that you’d think that would be it, but no it’s the end of Erick & Parrish Making Dollars, its now Erick & Parrish Millennium Ducats.

The last album ‘Back in Business’ received mixed emotions from new and long time fans, it was a reunion into a hip hop world that had changed over this 5 year hiatus, in my opinion they brought more of that good shit which was definitely a plus as I never thought they’d record together again. But its 2 years on and again a lot has changed so can they really survive in an environment that almost forgot about them?. Having such a heavy presence in the careers and production of so many successful artists shouldn’t have left it this way but everyone seems to be watching out for the next big things, never mind the veterans.

The intro stands as the albums opener as a dedication to DJ Scratch and its about time as over the years he has not only cut up the hooks on the EPMD classics such as ‘Rampage’ and ‘Gots ta give the people’ but in the last few years he has produced dope tracks for Raekwon and the Cream Team right up to Bustas ‘Gimme Some More’. His scratching also sits perfectly in the track we are talking about, leaving behind any doubts that this guy has had his day. The track flows perfectly into ‘Pioneers’ which displays EPMD at their best once again, from the title you can guess that this is all about them starting a lot of this shit for the new cats to come in and use what they laid down.

The symphony part 1 and 2 display some of the finest production on the album, why they recorded 2 versions I’m not sure but its adds variety I suppose. The energy that Billy and fame add on the MOP version is enough for it to be left there but then the lyricism of Redman, Meth and newcomer Lady Luck add that extra dimension on the next version. Parrish sounds amped and E double comes just as correct on what is definitely one of the albums best moments. ‘Right here’ with DMX is kind of lame and leaves little impression on me as it uses their label mate on the hook but whether it’s a sample or actually D in the studio is hard to figure out, I tend to skip this one though.

EPMD have also been fond of remaking their own classics such as ‘Its my thing ‘99’ and on the last album ‘You Gots Ta Chill ‘97’ so its no real surprise they re did ‘rap is outta control’ for the millennium. This version features Bussa Bus over an updated beat of the original but I really do prefer the version they first blessed us with. Its also no surprise that ‘Jane 6’ appears here, more of that girl who has nothing but trouble in store for Erick & Parrish, I didn’t really feel ‘Jane 5’ so this is a welcome return to form skipping thru all the Jane's in the series through the hook. What sounds like production left over from the Def Squad project is laid down for ‘The fan’ for e dub and Parrish to bless us with 3 minutes of great beats and that trademark sound they love giving us. ‘Check 1,2’ is also included on the album and I ain’t sure what it is, maybe because I’m hearing it digitally but it sounds a lot better on here and is definitely up there with the albums best moments.

From the Wild Wild West skit to ‘draw’ and onto ‘You got shot’ (Which both over sample Wu vocals) we get a 3 track connection. All tracks (minus the skit) are definitely on point and I’m sure the legion of Doom guest on ‘You got shot’ and bring that little extra to the vocals of both emcees. ‘House party 2000’ is probably the worst track on here, it just bores me but out of 15 tracks and just 2 or 3 are just below average you have a very good album.

We’re still in the shade on the Future of the group but if this is their last album at least they will leave us with dignity and an album that stands head and shoulders above most of the material all the new jacks are releasing these days.

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