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Q&A With Parrish Smith of EPMD

Hip-Hop Vets Get Back to Business With Fillmore Show

Business has been a bit slow for EPMD since the duos last album in 1999, but Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith decided to open up shop once again in 2006 and a new album could be in stores as early as this year. The group is performing in San Francisco for the first time since 1999 on March 10th at The Fillmore. Parrish Smith spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from New York.

SF Station (SFS): What led to EPMD getting back together in 2006?

Parrish Smith (PS): Erick and I were both using DJ Dice and Eric and I both were doing shows basically at the same time, so Dice put us on the phone. We talked back and forth for a while until a show came up in Detroit and we said that we would do it. After that, Redman asked us to come do a show in Philly. We came out in the middle of his show and it was crazy. From there, weve been rolling.

SFS: How does the EPMD of 2007 sound?

PS: The sound is crazy. Were not trying, its just chemistry.

SFS: Are you working on a new album?

PS: Yeah, we are working on a new album that will be called We Mean Business.

SFS: Who's handling production?

PS: Naturally, Erik is going to do some tracks, Im going to do tracks and we are going to do tracks together. DJ Scratch does production, so hell do his thing. Basically, we are just following that vibe from all of our other albums. EPMD fans know what they want to hear from us in 2007 and its our job to give them what they want.

SFS: Do you miss anything from the late 80s and early 90s when you were getting a lot of exposure?

PS: There was a lot more respect for hip hop within the culture. Now, its just about money and getting paid. I think the difference is back then cats went out of their way to sound different. No one sounded the same. Now, everybody just says, What do I need to sound like to be on the radio?

One of the best things about now is we still have our talent and energy, but we get to put our music out on our own label and we get to tour. All the concerts were doing are being setup by ourselves.

SFS: Is your approach to making beats any different since sampling is more regulated than it used to be?

PS: No, we are going to do the album the way it is supposed to sound. We will worry about the business later. Once you start worrying about the business while you are creating music, you are just robbing yourself.

SFS: What do you listen to now?

PS: Mostly underground artists, but 50 Cent and Jim Jones have some new stuff out that I like. KRS-One has a new joint with Nas that I like. A lot of people from the golden era are starting to get with kids from today. Its all coming back 360.

SFS: So youre still making dollars?

PS: Yeah, but now we are self-contained. There is no middle man.

EPMD play at The Fillmore with People Under the Stairs on Saturday, March 10th. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $30.