Erick Sermon Biography
Erick Sermon is a hip-hop icon, pure and simple. As one half of your favorite rapper's favorite rap group in the world, EPMD, Sermon is a key figure in hip-hop. As a producer, his work has elevated the music of acts ranging from Redman and Jay-Z to D'Angelo and Mary J. Blige. With legitimate pioneer status, unrelenting longevity and a musical discography thicker than a New York City phone book, Erick Sermon is up to receiving his due credit. Signing with Universal/Motown in late 2003, the Funk Lord is prepped to drop another sonic assault and further his legend with his fifth solo album Chilltown, NY.
"The simplest thing you can do to sound ill today is brag. That's not what you call hip-hop. I don't know what that is. I seen the era," states Sermon. "And I built the era. And I built what's coming now to be able to say, 'You know what? I'ma go against the grain.'"
Carving his own path with head nodding affect is the story of the "E Double"'s entire career. The Long Island native, now living between New York and Atlanta, blasted onto the hip-hop scene when EPMD dropped their classic Strictly Business album in 1988. Armed with gritty beats and dead pan flows, EPMD went on to release five more albums, the last being 1998's Out of Business. The group nurtured future hip-hop superstars including Redman, K-Solo, Keith Murray and Das-Efx under their loosely knit Hit Squad umbrella. Unfortunately, all was not bliss as tension between Erick and rhyme partner Parrish Smith led to EPMD's break up in 1993. Now splintered, the two friends went their separate ways with E continuing as a solo artist and promptly forming the Def Squad, consisting of himself, Redman and Keith Murray.
E's solo career has been first-rate. His debut solo shot, No Pressure (1993) was critically lauded and the immediate follow up was Double or Nothing (1995). While he put his solo career in cruise control, The Green Eyed Bandit's funk heavy, chest caving beats propelled the careers of those he blessed with his production skills. Besides his aforementioned Def Squad brethren, the list of artists blessed with E's production is exhaustive with notables including Jay-Z, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J and on and on. He also cites Teddy Riley, with whom he worked with on Blackstreet, as a mentor.
When he decided to slow down on the outside production, Erick once again devoted time to his solo projects. In 2001 E's solo career was rejuvenated with the meteoric rise of his hit single "Music." The track featured Marvin Gaye's vocals mixed with a Sermon classic beat and rhymes creating an all-new groove.
It was a #1 hit and received a Grammy nomination. Back in the spotlight, Sermon was quickly scooped up by J Records and released two more solo albums, 2001's Music and 2003's React. However, despite bringing two legitimate hits (the aforementioned albums' title songs) Sermon parted ways with J Records and signed with Universal/Motown Records in late (2003).