EPMD Out of Business

Shelving their initial plans to make this their final album, legendary rap duo Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith have decided to continue making music into the future, as evidenced by their newly rearranged acronym Erick and Parrish Millenium Ducats. The duo’s focus on the bottom line has served them well in the past, ensuring sales by cranking out classic joints. But since their regrouping in ’97 after an acrimonious break-up five years earlier, their chemistry, perhaps understandably, has not really been completely regained. Out of Business though, like their comeback Back In Business shows they can still hang. The intro’s tapping of the Rocky soundtrack is the prelude to Erick and Parrish’s usual rite of wack MC slaying. Effective pugilism is issued on “Check 1,2,” “Draw” and the two equally dope versions of “Symphony.” The album could do with more tracks like this, as the duo probably banks on their veteran status a little too much. On “The Fan,” they repeatedly intone “I know you was a fan of mine” to any new jacks, yet you feel they could up the ante a little. While a solid effort, allusions to their back catalogue such as “Rap Is Outta Control” and the “Jane 6” track are better executed on the accompanying limited edition greatest hits package. (Def Jam)