Two Long Island kids plunder their parents record collection and form the blueprint for modern hip hop. More durable and listenable than any golden era debut, more so I’d say that many even in the 90s and beyond. Something about these Long Island crews – De La Soul, Public Enemy – widened the scope of hip hop production, dipping deeper into the crates for any sample source they could find: Eric Clapton, Steve Miller, Kool & The Gang, Zapp. The flows are so silly and off-kilter that they perfectly match the beats: Erick’s mush-mouthed delivery and Parrish’s pedestrian street boasts can’t really be taken seriously but you’ll find quotes and lines in here other rappers have used ever since. And they have an understanding of how to put together a song, a hook, even with a relatively minimalist approach. It’s all in the details: they know when to change the beat, or echo out the vocals on a key line or scratch in their own lyrics. Notice how Jay-Z and Nas both took beats from this album, how others have been used for countless freestyle sessions, and EPMD themselves sampled and self-referenced it the rest of the their career.

You Gots To Chill