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).
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)
2 | Muddy Waters, Redman (1996)
3 | Dare Iz A Darkside, Redman (1994)
4 I Business Never Personal, EPMD (1992)
5 | Dead Serious, Das EFX (1992)
6 | Strictly Business, EPMD (1988)
7 | What? Thee Album, Redman (1992)
8 | The Most Beautifulest Thing In This World, Keith Murray (1994)
9 | Doc's Tha Name, Redman (2000)
10 | Unfinished Business, EPMD (1989)
11 | No Pressure, Erick Sermon (1993)
12 | El Niño, Def Squad (1998)
13 | Tell The World My Name, K-Solo (1990)
14 | Hold It Down, Das EFX (1995)
15 | Double Or Nothing, Erick Sermon (1995)