EPMD is a rap group from Long Island, New York, comprised of rappers Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith. The group’s name is an acronym that references both members, standing for “Erick and Parrish Making Dollars.” Making their debut in the late ‘80s, their sample-heavy songs lifting from funk and rock hits helped to popularize their unique sound, among the then-popular sound that sampled more from disco.
Sermon and Smith attended high school together in Brentwood, Long Island, and with a shared interest in rap, decided to become a group. Once in college, Smith dropped out and used his financial aid money to fund their first demo, which caught the attention of local label Sleeping Bag/Fresh Records. Their debut single, “You’re A Customer”/”You Gots to Chill,” made its way to stores, and burgeoning music mogul Russell Simmons was so impressed that he began managing them.
In 1988, EPMD released their debut album, Strictly Business, through Sleeping Bag. Though it debuted at Number 80, it was certified Gold in just four months. Their follow-up, 1989’s Unfinished Business, was certified Gold as well.
With Sleeping Bag then going under, EPMD’s contract was sold to Def Jam and 1990’s Business As Usual was released, followed by 1992’s Business Never Personal.
In 1993, the group split after Smith’s house was burglarized and a suspect named Sermon as the mastermind. Successful solo careers for both spawned from the controversy, and four years later, they reunited with a comeback album Back in Business. To date, EPMD has released seven studio albums.
EPMD also created the Hit Squad in 1992 as a means to foster new talent, which would later evolve into Def Squad, the supergroup including Erick Sermon, Redman, and Keith Murray. Squad affiliates included K-Solo, Das EFX, Hurricane G and Knucklehedz.