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Not taking long to so do, EPMD released "Unfinished Business" within a year of their début in the hope of making another Hip Hop classic. The Brentwood, Long Islanders set off Spring of '89 in a big way as they reminded the world what they had done the year prior when created a release that this genre would never forget. Sure not to be phased by 'the curse of the sophomore record', they got down to business intent in offering more of the Funk Rap that earned them their underground fame.
Here Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith (Erick and Parrish Makin' Dollars - EPMD) take on largely the same formula as they did when putting together the timeless "Strictly Business" release. This time around, with the help of DJ Scratch (known now as 'Jam Master Scratch), the pair get together and bring nothing but the Funk to the listeners. Using a number of classic samples to do so, they seem to borrow from a similar collection of songs as they had the first time round (with the Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle" and Rick James' "Mary Jane" never too far away). Once these seem to be right and in order, they proceed to do damage with competitive rhymes which bounce of each other's in the tag-team format.
The pair set the album off in a great way by unleashing the one and only single "So Wat Cha Sayin'" at the top of the release. From there, they're able to hit listeners with a range of cut which will sound completely new to them. As it wasn't even a 12-month gap between releases, you shouldn't expect any significant changes to what they offer, and this is certainly the case here. The opening cut may sound a bit sharper than their groove-driven début LP, but from there it sounds like the rest of the recordings could have just been unused cuts from it. Having said this, the quality isn't any worse. It's just that they'd never be able to make things sounds quite as innovative as when they first appeared on the scene.
Although their Hit Squad affiliate Redman may have been all about promoting the rough stuff when he put out his first album, here EPMD offer smooth Hip Hop at a time when there was little around. As it was only really Rakim around at the time when their first album came out, there weren't any other competitors. Even though Big Daddy Kane and a few others had come along in the time in-between, it still sounds refreshing to have such laid-back material from certified B-Boys. As a result, it seemed to do more to lay foundations for the artists who came up around this time and into the early '90s.
As ever, the pair remains animated through the album, but this time they are sure to get a little more serious when it's necessary to do so. The autobiographical "Please Listen To My Demo" does as expected (considering its title) and has them exploring slightly darker times in their lives. Their harsher sound is also seen through the sequel to "Jane" in which they do more to promote the very inviting storytelling style which Slick Rick had made famous the autumn prior on "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick". Interestingly, their production has quite evidently improved as they manage to match the chilling sounds with their subject matter (when their début was almost entirely just jeep-beat bass and untameable funkiness).
It's expected that they do mature with the music, but this process seems to be almost too rapid for them as they appear to be much more aware this time and so it takes away from the naivety felt with their first. Where things sounded to be almost fluked on "Strictly Business", it all appears much more thought-out this time around. This progression, however, was necessary to give them much more longevity (as they would go on to have). Here they do much more separating. They split the more lyrical cuts from recordings where it's all about the production. They might go for something funky for something like "Knick Knack Patty Wack", but here they seem to be much more intent in showing what else they can do for a song such as "It Wasn't Me It, Was The Fame". They do things uncharacteristic of them; for "You had Too Much To Drink" they take their Rock fascination a stage further and get even more Run-D.M.C.-like and even jump on the House sound for "It's Time To Party".
This is a great follow-up to their first album. It's another EPMD record you shouldn't be without. Having said this, there are quite a few surprises which are bound to provoke a reaction as they don't quite match expectations of their music (based upon the straight "More Bounce..." slaps heard through "Strictly...". It's another great one, but seemed much more to be a representation of a specific time period than others they released and so at times doesn't feel as timeless and in places in quite obviously dated.
1. "So Wat Cha Sayin'" **Five Stars**
2. "Total Kaos" **Five Stars**
3. "Get The Bozack" **Five Stars**
4. "Jane II" **Five Stars**
5. "Please Listen To My Demo" **Five Stars**
6. "It's Time To Party" **Five Stars**
7. "Who's Booty" **Five Stars**
8. "The Big Payback" **Five Stars**
9. "Strictly Snappin' Necks" **Five Stars**
10. "Knick Knack Patty Wack" (feat. K-Solo) **Five Stars**
11. "You Had Too Much To Drink" (feat. Frank B) **Four Stars**
12. "It Wasn't Me, It Was The Fame" **Five Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 So What Cha Sayin'
2 Total Kaos
3 Get the Bozack
4 Jane II
5 Please Listen to My Demo
6 It's Time to Party
7 Who's Booty
8 Big Payback
9 Strictly Snappin' Necks
10 Knick Knack Patty Wack
11 You Had Too Much to Drink
12 It Wasn't Me, It Was the Fame