Parrish Smith & Erick Sermon are Hip-Hop legends. Collectively as EPMD, the duo will go down as one of the greatest groups in Hip-Hop history. However, individually neither emcee has been able to drop a noteworthy album. While "Shade Business" & Business Is Business" were solid albums (at best) that had their moments for PMD, neither were able to build upon the classic aura of an EPMD album. Since his last solo joint, PMD has managed to stay busy as Parrish & Erick hooked up to produce two more EPMD albums, which were met with solid response. And as the duo slowly winds down a historic career, PMD looks to take one more shot at a solo album with his third LP "The Awakening". But like Parrish's previous efforts, "The Awakening" fails to capture that classic EPMD feeling we have grown up with over the years.
With "The Awakening" we get a rushed and sloppy effort from the Hip Hop legend, as PMD gathers a nice assortment of production minds for the album but fails to deliver with his lyricism, which is unusually sloppy for PMD. While P was never one to dazzle and amaze you with his lyricism, P always brought it raw and intense. Shades of that vintage PMD rawness are all but gone now, as the lyricism on "The Awakening" sounds more like a freestyle session than a good attempt at PMD hitting the pad with his writing. Glimpses of this show up on almost every track, which unfortunately take away from some of the good production. "P's Still Dangerous" is one of the dopest tracks on the album, which is produced by P himself. However, the tracks hook is sloppily but together as is P's lyrics, making it a solid attempt but fans will be left wanting more out of the two-minute track.
The same story can be said on a variety of the tracks featured on the album such as the Alchemist produced "The Awakening", the Pete Rock produced "Buckwild", the DJ Honda produced "Hip Hop 101" and the EPMD collaboration of "Look At U Now". While none of these tracks are horrific, none of them will do anything to keep your attention or make you come back for more. Even the lead single "Buckwild" is disappointing, as Pete Rock gives P an obvious throw away track that sounds nothing like that vintage Soul Brother production. The Alchemist produced "The Awakening" is even more disappointing, as P fails to capture any aura or charisma on the track. Lyrically the track is a prime example of the lackluster lyricism put out by P for the whole album. "I love rap game so cats stop asking, you see the Hit Squad logo flashing, P's back in action. Now ask yourself, look past the cash and wealth, who's the most sampled underground with the platinum belts".
The other aspect of "The Awakening" which is just as bad is the numerous guest appearances from PMD's up and coming talent. Artists such as 275 & Don Fu-Quan are all sub par artists who don't bring much excitement to each track they are featured on, as seen on "Know What I Mean", "All's I Need" & "L.I. to L.E.S.". Even the Cypress Hill collaboration of "Champions", the paring of Fate Joe & K-Solo on "Back To Work" and the reunion of PMD & Drayz of Das Efx on "Next Chapter" are disappointing.
For longtime EPMD fans and Hip hop enthusiasts alike, "The Awakening" will be a big disappointment that will only fuel the hunger for a new EPMD album even more. And while no one will ever doubt what PMD brought to this game, as he will go down as one of Hip Hop's true legends, maybe PMD & Erick Sermon should just concentrate on giving the listening public those outstanding EPMD albums we all want, instead of lusterless solo ventures.