In honor of Black History Month and being that this here is a music column, I wanted to take the time out to highlight and expose some key fixtures in Urban Music for the month. For today's first edition, I wanted to highlight TVOne's great episode of their show Unsung.
If you are not familiar with what exactly Unsung is, it's somewhat like VH1's series Behind The Music, except with urban artists who for one reason or another never reached their full potential. The show has exposed viewers to the lives of artists like: Tammi Terrel, Minnie Ripperton, Angela Winbush, Isaac Hayes, and more.
On last night's episode, they highlighted the duo, then trio, EPMD. EPMD (Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) made up of Parrish Smith, Erick Sermon and DJ Scratch have become synonymous with hip-hop. The trio, who is most well known for projects like Unfinished Business and Strictly Business, as well as songs like "Strictly Business," "So Wat Cha Saying"and "Crossover" just to name a few, have been responsible for the careers of many. Indirectly, the group helped launch the careers of Redman, and Keith Murray (watch the episode to see why). They also can still be seen as fixtures in hip-hop with a new crop of artists paying homage to them, notably, DMV-based duo DTMD who play with their name with the acronym meaning Dunc and Toine Making Dollars, as well as their debut album, titled Makin' Dollars.
For the episode, Unsung documented essentially the rise and demise of the group. We see the early forming of the group in terms of their upbringing in Brentwood, New York, as well as their meeting and forming of the group. We see how they became a trio when they recruited DJ Scratch to join the group who at the time was the best DJ in the world (he won that title, I'm not being biased). We also see the negative things that affected the group which ultimately helped end the group -- rumors surrounding a break in at Smith's house supposedly at the hands of Sermon.
Great episode, watch the episode here. Make sure to check back in tomorrow for the next icon in urban music.