Photos By Peace.Images
When I gave word to my little brother that I was going to see EPMD later that evening, he responded with the phrase “What’s that?“
Not only was the “what” instead of the “who” an indicator that Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith were facing an uphill battle in their comeback, it also goes to show how Hip-Hop’s overcrowded market can bury the memory of some of its pioneers.
Fuck it. I know what I was getting myself into.
Rolling up to Skully’s, which is one of Columbus Ohio’s definitive hot spots for local and independent acts to showcase their talents, I was immediately greeted to the sounds of the funky grooves from Connie Price and the Keystones. A live band complete with saxophones, bongos, and trumpets to accompany the typical bass guitars, drumset, and keyboards, the crew from the Left Coast (Cali to be exact), took the audience, who’s age demographic ranged from 18-to well over 40, back to the days of fat gold chains and KangolÂ® hats with the mixing of old school favorites such as Kool G. Rap’s “Ill Street Blues” and Rakim’s “Microphone Fiend” while throwing their own material in the mix. The fact that these brothers were Caucasian didn’t startle the crowd at the least, it just drove home the point that Hip-Hop was alive and well in the building.
After getting the crowd’s juices pumping for some of that classic material, the Keystones announced one more surprise before the men of business took the stage. With a brief introduction, underground champion Percee P took the stage to spread his message. While the majority of the crowd played the background due to their unfamiliarity, there was still nods of approval as Percee ripped through extended versions of his infamous battle with Lord Finesse before capitalizing his performance with “International Hustler”, which appears on the Keystones latest album Tell Me Something.
With the mood set and the crowd’s energy bubbling for the E Double and Pee-MD, the duo took the stage and immediately ripped into “Strictly Business” and “It’s My Thang” before greeting the more than appreciative crowd. Approaching their 20th anniversary in the rap game, Erick Sermon was extremely vocal in his displeasure for the here-today/gone-tomorrow acts of the present, ripping through accapella freestyles laced with ridicule before telling all wack rap hopefuls present “You Gots To Chill.” Not to be outdone, PMD covered both verses for “Please Listen To My Demo” to motivate the rightful heirs to the Hip-Hop throne. Keeping it in “89” for the time being, the businessmen kept it funky with “Knick Knack Patty Wack,” and “So Wat Cha Sayin” as the Keystones supplied the instrumentation, much to the die hard’s delight.
Announcing that they were indeed “back in business,” PMD spoke of the new album, We Mean Business, and a sneaker deal with DC Shoe Co. in the works. Erick Sermon continued to preach to the choir with his tirade on wack rappers and even mentioned MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice before they dropped the needle on “Crossover.” Capping off the night of unfiltered Hip-Hop, the R.I.P. segment gave entry for E Dub’s Grammy Award Winning smash “Music” and they managed to create a mosh pit with the rambunctious “Head Banger” before exiting stage left.
Pic of the mosh pit from Head Banger…
As the game turns down new horizons, it’s always positive to see some of Hip-Hop’s pioneers continue to have a career in a job market known for it’s fickle consumers. In true rap star fashion, EPMD went to the back patio for some networking, signing autographs, posing for pics, giving advice and information about the business, and of course taking demos. It’s moments like this let the fans know that if you put your faith in the right artist, the rewards will be there in abundance.
For more pics from the show, visit the Flickr Photo Set.
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