Hailing from Long Island, Erick Sermon sits down with The Source to speak on his return with a new single “One Shot”. The legendary emcee had a lot to talk about especially the current state of hip-hop and what he feels needs to be done about it. He also sheds light on where he supposedly stands in this new era of hip-hop culture.
What’s in your iPod right now? Are you listening to any current hip-hop?
Erick: J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar. I’ve heard their new projects they are phenomenal. I think I mess with their content, I think that’s what hip-hop suppose to be. J.Cole makes a statement in his music and I feel like that is what hip-hop is about. That ‘I love myself’ sample from The Isley brothers’ “That Lady” I think that was phenomenal and that is the type of structure hip-hop consists of, that type of content and they both do that well.
Talk about your single “One Shot” with Masspike Miles.
E: You see when your fans keep saying ‘oh you coming back?’. I can tell when I’m coming back when the world is ready for you. With us making that type of song and people like you causing more awareness I think we can get people back on the same page. This is not to stop others from doing what they are doing but to give people something to choose from. We don’t have a balance right now everything is just one sided. Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, Action Bronson, Joey Badass, that’s where I will make my stand at. When I was writing that song it felt like that Eminem’s 8 miles that you only get one shot. This song is to show that I’m not in a competition with none of you because none of you are even on the same level as me. Also to let people know that I’m not to be f*cked with either.
What’s in-store from you in 2015?
E: 2015 I have an album coming out it’s called “ESP” and it shows how I view the game and how I view the future. I was able to get some friends like Masspike Miles, Mary J Blige, Jay Electronica and a couple of new people that I like. I just got some stuff that made the record sound nice. You wont hear the track and go oh he’s using this person some people are not even rapping. Some people are just on the chorus. It is the body of work that I am proud of and I am confident about. One time Kanye West said “Just because my music doesn’t sound like yours, that means my music is wack?” I don’t really listen to lot of the music out so why should I make stuff that sounds like theirs. It’s people like you that i can tell that culture is not fun if we’re all doing the same sh*t. That can’t be fun. The era I come from the culture was fresh, that’s daylight, that’s bizz, that’s sway, there was so much variety and everybody was winning but that is what made everything incredible and fun. You can’t tell me this is fun right now. Because that would be lying.
Is an EPMD project in the works?
E: No. Me and Parrish tour. What me and him did with that project was a blessing and now we have a luxury of touring.
Tell me the story of how you found that “Just Like Music” Marvin Gaye sample in London.
E: My homegirl was in London and she knew Midnight Love was my favourite album growing up. So she brought the album back and it was the acapella version of some of the songs like, “Sexual Healing”, “Till Tomorrow”, and few others. She called me when she got back and I drove to her house, picked up the album and came back home and stayed up all night till like 3 or 4 in the morning and made the song in three hours. That’s how it went down. I just wanted to see how it would sound if I produced a Marvin Gaye record, it was for my personal use but then some of my friends stole my CD and took it all the way to California, played for this big radio station and somebody picked it up and it was over.
Where are you living right now and How does it affect you creatively?
E: I still live Long Island. I was born and raised in Long Island and I use to live in Atlanta too I’m always going back and forth. But creativity in Long island is definitely something. Of course you can’t have hip-hop without Long Island. You have me, Rakim, Public Enemy, Dela Soul, K Solo and whole lot more. It’s easier to come up with stuff here is because of the hip-hop history we have here.
How is it working with Method Man and Redman?
E: To me it’s normal now. when I made the first “How High”, it was kind of like is this going to work or not. They were both mad at me because I made the first and in the second version of “How High” and I put the singing in there and they didn’t like that. But when the record label was like oh thank you Eric ever since then they trust me so I did “How High 2”, I did the “Black out” album. Redman’s always been my man because I signed with him back in 1991 and then I did Method Man’s album back in 1996, that’s when we became cool too so now it’s just family, it’s nothing now.
What’s your take on current Hip-Hop? Who do you like and what do you like?
E: I’m gunna get myself back in there because there are a whole bunch of people I really like, I like Tyler The Creator and his crew, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, those people are actually doing the actual culture of hip-hop alignment. I like creative people, I would even put Drake in there because of that “0-100” you can’t find stuff like that, he’s a writer so I rather listen to that then anything else. I rather listen to Kendrick and J.Cole and people of that nature again because of the conversations. Because hip-hop use to teach you and can save a generation and that is where I’m at to save my culture. I come from that culture so I know that hip-hop is to give people information. One song can influence hundreds of people so we need to tell them something good and inspirational. That’s how important we are. When I first came out in 1988 I was in Germany the same year. That is how influential records were. The reason people over seas still love hip-hop is because they love the culture. The culture itself is fun, the elements of hip-hop are rapping, graffiti, break-dancing, DJing, fifth element is beat-boxing. The whole fun part is the culture as a whole. They love all of those elements because it’s exciting. The beat is exciting, it’s the drums, the snares that made hip-hop fun in the conversation and in content is gone. The young people, not like us, but you, who are going back to the old stuff, they are looking out for new music but keep going back to the old stuff. That is something they wont tell you. They will tell you that it’s the mainstream that kids want but they wont tell you that unless your important. No they don’t. People are crying for something else but it’s the powers that let sh*t like this happen, it’s way bigger than that. All we can do is people like you can put the word out there and tell people to go check the music so we can have some balance of good music being played with the other stuff. At this time they don’t want kids to learn something, they don’t want none of that going on right now but I refuse to make them that music. Everyone is making money and that is what matters to them. The community that is feeding you and buying into your music and you can’t even tell them one good thing? and your just sitting here getting rich but you cant tell them one thing good? That’s what scary about it.
Do you have any other side Projects going on right now?
E: I have a hip-hop rugs company, launching next year. I have a movie coming out called 88Fresh, a dope hip-hop documentary, the best you’ll ever see. Also the 88Fresh live tour, a show that runs for 2.5 hours. A show without a host that runs on its own with live graffiti, breakdancing, everything.
What do you plan to accomplish with ESP?
E: Its the sound of the culture. Since conscious music is now a part of the pulse of the game, it allows youth an alternate to the strippers, drugs and coke.
For those who missed it check out Erick’s single “One Shot” featuring Masspike Miles down below and be sure to look out for his project ESP which is set to drop in 2015.
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