EPMD

On the surface, the sample-reliant productions and monotone rapping styles of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith had little to recommend them, but the duo's recordings as EPMD were among the best in hip-hop's underground during the late '80s and early '90s. Over the course of four albums (from the 1988 classic Strictly Business to 1992's Business Never Personal), the group rarely varied from two themes: dissing sucker MCs and recounting sexual exploits. A closer look, however, revealed that the duo's rhymes were nothing less than incredible, simply undervalued due to their lack of intonation during delivery. EPMD also had a feel for a good groove, and created numerous hip-hop classics, including "It's My Thing," "You Gots to Chill," "Get the Bozack," "Strictly Business," and "Rampage."

Though EPMD's hardcore style influenced the urban-oriented gangsta '90s, Erick Sermon (aka E Double E; b. Nov. 25, 1968) and Parrish Smith (aka Pee MD; b. May 13, 1968) were both raised in the Long Island suburb of Brentwood. They moved into rap separately, with Smith DJing for Rock Squad on a single for the Tommy Boy label. After coming together in 1987 — at which time they named themselves EPMD, short for "Erick and Parrish Making Dollars" — they recorded their debut, "It's My Thing," in three hours. The single was later licensed to Chrysalis, and EPMD signed to Sleeping Bag/Fresh Records for the debut album Strictly Business. Propelled by several strong singles (including "You Gots to Chill" and the title track), the album eventually went gold, as did 1989's follow-up, Unfinished Business. Signed to Def Jam by the beginning of the '90s, EPMD returned in 1990 with Business as Usual and Business Never Personal two years later.

By 1992, they presided over an extended family dubbed the Hit Squad, including Redman, K-Solo, and Das EFX. The duo split later that year, however, prompting solo careers for each member; Sermon debuted in 1993 with No Pressure, and Smith made his statement on 1994's Shade Business. The duo then re-formed EPMD in 1997, recording a strong comeback LP named Back in Business. Out of Business followed in 1999, but the rappers continued pursuing their own projects through the late '90s and early 2000s. Both released solo albums, and Sermon partnered with Redman and Keith Murray as part of the Def Squad supergroup. Nevertheless, they also found time to continue performing together as EPMD, and 2008 saw them returning to the studio for We Mean Business.

DJ Scratch

For over two decades, DJ Scratch has been everyone's favorite DJ's favorite DJ. Acknowledged as one of the greatest DJs of all time and in 2006, he was honored in The Source Magazine as a Hip Hop Icon. Scratch is the man who provided the flamboyance to EPMD, Q-Tip, Jay Z and P Diddy's stage shows. Shortly after winning the New Music Seminar Battle for World Supremacy DJ Championship in 1988, he joined the RUN DMC "Run's House World Tour." Scratch's film credits include "Juice", "The Original 50 Cent", "Backstage", "Fly By Night", "Rhyme & Reason" and Spike Lee's controversial film "Bamboozled". In addition, Coca Cola commissioned Scratch to produce & feature in their first DJ commercial, "3 DJs".
Having mastered the art of DJing, Scratch started to pursue his second love, producing. He has produced such hits as the New York Anthem "NY Shit" by Busta Rhymes, EPMD's "Rampage", LL Cool J's "Ill Bomb", 50 Cent's "50 Shot Ya", and a long list of Hip Hop Classics. Scratch's accolades include the 3 Grammy nominations and over 40 Gold and Platinum Awards to his credit which makes DJ Scratch responsible for the sale of over 30 million albums to date.

Fat Tony stands at the forefront of new generation of young rappers who get it themselves—a DIY hustler who's built his burgeoning career on a foundation equal parts smarts and swagger. The Houston MC owns the mike with a casual confidence, workmanlike in his delivery whether laidback or lyrical, embodying a new brand of enlightened Southern that's as likely to tip back some lean on your front porch as sit down and school you on Dadaism. Through his simmering solo work and boundary-busting collaborations with Das Racist and A$AP Rocky, among others, Fat Tony has already launched a legacy.

As a first-generation Nigerian-American raised in his city's historic Third Ward, heritage has always been important to Fat Tony. One of his earliest memories is of a parade of black cowboys riding down the local main street on MLK Day, blaring the good doctor's speeches over zydeco tracks. His childhood home was filled with records—King Sunny Adé and Jimmy Cliff from his father's collection, his mother's jazz and soul, Granny's gospel. He watched countless hours of music television as a kid, got his first drum kit at 8, and pummeled it to pieces shortly after seeing Nirvana on MTV.

Fat Tony became a key player in the Houston music scene as a young teen. Inspired by the independent spirits he looked up to—from the Ramones and the Germs to UGK and Slum Village—he began throwing
shows at local venues and friends' houses. He booked bands of all types from all over, hand-made flyers and mailed them to addresses nabbed from the student directory. Meanwhile, he toured regionally and
earned a rep as a fierce performer, eventually racking up three consecutive annual "Best Underground Hip-Hop" awards from the Houston Press while studying communications at the University of Houston.

In 2010, Fat Tony self-released his debut album, RABDARGAB, a sharply stylish set named after a local literacy campaign from his youth: "Read a book, do a report, get a buck." In keeping with the theme, he offered to send a dollar bill to anyone who listened to the record and wrote it up. (He wound up sending out $27.) Shortly thereafter, Das Racist reprised and rapped over the Murs-featuring "Luv it Mayne" for their Sit Down, Man mixtape, and legendary screw DJ OG RON C offered his "chopped up, not slopped up" version of the record, SCREWDARGAB, in 2011.

A veteran at 24, Fat Tony comes to Young One Records knowing the two most important principles of creativity: 1) no matter where his music takes him or what others may say, he alone is responsible for the quality of his work, and 2) in the man's own words, "It's good to be good." With that in mind, he has two full-lengths poised for 2012. First up is Double Dragon, a Cuban Linx-style rapper-producer pairing that finds Fat Tony's go-to beatmaker Tom Cruz sharing mike duties. Second will be Smart Ass Black Boy, which will no doubt be aptly named. -Christopher Martins

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Brooklyn Bowl

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EPMD with 25th Anniversary Celebration of "Strictly Business", DJ Scratch, Fat Tony

Monday, September 23 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Brooklyn Bowl

Tickets Available at the Door