On this day in Hip Hop history, Strong Island rap duo EPMD released their third studio album, Business as Usual on the Def Jam imprint. Although upon its release it wasn’t as commercially popular as its two predecessors, this album is still considered to be a success. In the year of its release, Business As Usual peaked at #36 on the Billboard 200 and claimed the #1 spot on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The album was certified gold on May 7, 1991, and in 1998, The Source Magazine selected this project to be apart of the “100 Best Rap Albums” list.
Although the project is titled Business as Usual, the sound of the album was largely different than what had made EPMD famous on earlier releases. The production on their first two projects consisted mostly of samples and simple drum patterns. On Business as Usual, the sound is more complex and the drum patterns are more involved. Erick and Parrish stepped the game up and ventured away from the traditional sample-heavy beats that were prominent in New York during this era.
Lyrically, this album is a lot more straightforward than their previous efforts. The punch lines are wittier and the newer sound of the production allows the duo to experiment with different flows and subjects. This album also ushers in the career of a rap legend Newark, NJ newcomer Redman. Redman was featured on the tracks “Hardcore” and “Brothers on My Jock.” Redman’s hunger for the spotlight is easily noticed on this project and set the tone for the long and successful career that followed.
The three singles from this project, “Gold Digger”, “Rampage” featuring LL Cool J, and “Give the People”, had high reception in the Hip Hop community; two of them claimed spots on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. “Gold Digger” peaked at #14 and “Rampage” at #30. After this project, EPMD went on to release four more successful studio LPs.