In 1987, EPMD (credited as EPEE MD) debuted with their groundbreaking 12” “It’s My Thing/You’re A Customer” on Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records. While it was just one of numerous classic singles to drop that year it would have even more impact the following summer when both songs were on the 10 song opus Strictly Business.
“It’s My Thing” featured a loop of The Whole Darn Family’s “Seven Minutes Of Funk,” the infamous “Long Red” drums and perfectly placed vocal samples from Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing” captivated listeners. PMD & E Double’s verses weren’t as swift or verbose as some of the new wave of rappers, but between the production, sample layering & overall song construction of both “It’s My Thing” and “You’re A Customer” they were two of the dopest jams of 1987. Little did we know that was just the tip of the iceberg…
When EPMD resurfaced with the title track to their debut album Strictly Business, the epic Summer Of 1988 was coming to a close. Black music was at its modern zenith as both R&B and Hip-Hop cranked out seminal records and classic LP’s at a breakneck pace. Let me paint you a picture of what albums were popular at the time Strictly Business was about to drop. On the R&B side Tony! Toni! Toné!’s debut LP Who?, Guy & Troop’s self titled debuts, Al B. Sure’s In Effect Mode, New Edition’s Heart Break and Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel were the biggest albums of Summer 1988.
On the Rap side, we had Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper, Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Stetsasonic’s In Full Gear, BDP’s By All Means Necessary, Salt N’ Pepa’s A Salt With A Deadly Pepa, Big Daddy Kane’s Long Live The Kane, Eric B. & Rakim’s Follow The Leader, N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton were blaring out of walkmans, radios & cars all over America’s inner cities.
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Photo: Sleeping Bag Records