A: I’m Housin’ (LP Vocal) / B: I’m Housin’ (Instrumental)
So strong was EPMD’s epochal debut album ‘Strictly Business’ that it spawned three all-time classic singles, providing part of the soundtrack to, arguably, the height of the original Golden Age. When discussing the landmark artists of that era – Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B & Rakim – the duo of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith are certainly in the conversation. And when it comes to all-time duos, they might be at the head of the table.
The original release of ‘I’m Housin’ came in 1989, and the only previous 7” release was confined to the UK – it now fetches sky-high prices. Hence this reissue couldn’t be more timely, showcasing just how fresh E Double E and PMD sound over even the most rudimentary but feverishly catchy of beats.
That was their genius – trading ‘slow flow’ punchlines over deceptively simple backings – and that’s exactly what you get here. The loop of Aretha Franklin’s indelible 1971 gem ‘Rock Steady’ does all the heavy lifting musically, the only adornment a brief vocal snippet taken from their own ‘It’s My thing’ – EPMD is a world premiere.
At a time when sampling was still in its infancy, and before producers started to pride themselves on obscurity, and on chopping up samples creatively, this was the approach of many a hip-hop song, and rap was none the poorer for it. When you have voices as distinctive and strong as EPMD, less is more.