Almost a month later to the day Business Never Personal dropped, Redman released his debut single “Blow Your Mind” which was produced by Erick Sermon. The song became an instantaneous hit and there wasn’t a place you could go where it wasn’t playing. The Hit Squad were on top of the world. Shuma Management had four of the hottest acts in all of Rap music on its roster and after Redman’s Whut? Thee Album came out in September 1992 their place at the top of the Hip-Hop food chain was cemented. However, this success began to raise concerns.
At the time of the rise of the Hit Squad, Erick Sermon preferred to defer to Parrish Smith in matters of business in order to focus on the music. This arrangement worked for the unit as EPMD but when in the context of the Hit Squad/Shuma Management umbrella it was becoming an issue. EPMD co-owned GMC Productions and their publishing was Paricken Music. This meant that regardless of if Parish or Erick produced a track alone they both saw monies. In addition, Parrish Smith owned Shuma Management so he received a percentage of EPMD, Das EFX, Redman & K-Solo’s earnings. Keep in mind that they were the hottest crew in all of Rap with the most collective hits and highest sales at this particular time.
In addition, Parrish was an executive producer of all these albums. Erick began to realize the error of his ways and issues began to arise within the crew that eventually led to the messy breakup of EPMD and the splintering of the once mighty Hit Squad. Das EFX had gone Platinum. EPMD went Gold. Redman went Gold. By the time we all saw the “Head Banger” video we hadn’t realized that it was all but over for the Hit Squad. EPMD’s lasting legacy was they laid the blueprint for industry dominance at a time when classic albums were dropping every other week. In that first wave of albums alone the Hit Squad amassed sales exceeding 2 million units and collected nine Billboard hits.
Erick Sermon went off to become a highly successful producer in his own right and got his business straight following Parrish Smith’s early example. Parrish continued to release albums and garner more label deals before EPMD reunited in 1997 with their fifth consecutive Gold album Back In Business. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this classic LP keep in mind that it’s yet to be re-released stateside and it’s not even available for purchase on iTunes and a physical copy will run you $28 on Amazon. Salute to EPMD and DJ Scratch, true pioneers in the business of Hip-Hop.