Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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EPMD

  • Strictly Business [Fresh, 1988] A-
  • Unfinished Business [Fresh, 1989] B+
  • Business as Usual [Def Jam/RAL/Columbia, 1991] C+
  • Business Never Personal [RAL/Chaos/Columbia, 1992] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Strictly Business [Fresh, 1988]
Out of nowhere to the top of the charts, these frosty freezers are one more proof of the supposedly subliterate-to-subcriminal rap audience's exacting prerogatives--what's snapped up as freshest often is. The beats are disco hooks sampled full effect, two or three to the track; the attack is traditionalist, formalist, minimalist. Rapping almost exclusively about rap, E Double EE and Pee MD don't emote or pander or yuk it up. In their one sex boast, the skeezer gets the last word. A-

Unfinished Business [Fresh, 1989]
The full-sized hooks and understated groove still mesh, but fame has rendered this self-made duo less brazen and more arrogant simultaneously. The real money (and pussy) they now boast doesn't suit them any better than the increasing subtlety of their steals--they need tunes, not just beats. But beyond the humble origins described in "Please Listen to My Demo" and the dramatized public service announcement "You Had Too Much To Drink," the overriding idea seems to be that stars can do it themselves. Which is the usual half-truth. B+

Business as Usual [Def Jam/RAL/Columbia, 1991]
Once they were winning wannabees stealing pop hooks in the basement. Now they're big-time, as rappers measure such things, and for all the difference it makes in general humanity they might as well have gotten there selling crack. Ugly as the Geto Boys and a lot dumber, the cross-dressing tale "Jane 3" climaxes with the rape she deserves; elsewhere the rhymes run three bozacks and three criminal-mindeds to one Mandela/Farrakhan. Who cares whether they're truly street or just following hard fashion? How many dope beats does the world need? C+

Business Never Personal [RAL/Chaos/Columbia, 1992] Dud