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The 15 most essential Hit Squad and Def Squad Albums

Shaheem Reid

 // Sep 21, 2017

EPMD's Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith have two of the greatest minds in hip-hop history. Not only did they become legends thanks to a relentless consistency of supreme projects, but they've signed and cultivated acts—Das EFX, Redman, K-Solo and Keith Murray—whose careers have also cemented a status in rap's Hall of Fame.

The Hit Squad (comprised of EPMD, Das EFX, Redman, Keith Murray, DJ Scratch, K-Solo, and Knucklehedz) and, later, the Def Squad (made up of Sermon, Murray, and Red) were two of the most powerful and pioneering entities we've ever seen in hip-hop: deadly on the mic, successful on the charts, and respected in both the streets and the boardroom.

Sermon and Smith's work served as the template for artist-run labels like Roc-A-Fella and Maybach Music Group, where a bevy of gold and platinum plaques could (and would) be enjoyed without ever having to abandon their hardcore hip-hop sensibilities.

EPMD are the guests on tonight's episode of Drink Champs with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN (10 p.m. ET on REVOLT TV).

'Drink Champs' | EPMD (Trailer)
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The pair talk about their game-changing secret feuds and battles with fellow rap gods and why, even today, megastars such as Drake sample their music.

To celebrate the group and their crew's accomplishments, we've rounded up the 15 most essential Hit Squad and Def Squad albums (with standout tracks from each).

1 | Business As Usual, EPMD (1990)

EPMD - Gold Digger
koollatter

2 | Muddy Waters, Redman (1996)

Method Man, Redman - Whateva Man
MethodManVEVO

3 | Dare Iz A Darkside, Redman (1994)

Redman - Can't Wait [Explicit]
VintageHipHopSeattle

4 I Business Never Personal, EPMD (1992)

EPMD - Crossover
koollatter

5 | Dead Serious, Das EFX (1992)

Das EFX - They Want EFX
VintageHipHopSeattle

6 | Strictly Business, EPMD (1988)

EPMD - You Gots To Chill
JamesFourTwenty

7 | What? Thee Album, Redman (1992)

Blow Your Mind
Redman - Topic

8 | The Most Beautifulest Thing In This World, Keith Murray (1994)

Keith Murray - The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World
emateii

9 | Doc's Tha Name, Redman (2000)

Redman - Da Goodness
RedmanVEVO

10 | Unfinished Business, EPMD (1989)

EPMD - So Wat Cha Sayin'
ghettoonline

11 | No Pressure, Erick Sermon (1993)

Erick Sermon - Stay Real
ErickSermonVEVO

12 | El Niño, Def Squad (1998)

Def Squad "Full Cooperation"
purplecowpost

13 | Tell The World My Name, K-Solo (1990)

K-Solo - Your Mom's In My Business
DiggindCratez

14 | Hold It Down, Das EFX (1995)

Das EFX Feat Mobb Deep - Microphone Master [Official Video HD]
OldSchoolHipHopHD

15 | Double Or Nothing, Erick Sermon (1995)

Erick Sermon - Bomdigi
Rapcity1Channel
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