Strictly Business (EPMD album)

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Strictly Business
Studio album by EPMD
Released June 21, 1988
July 1, 1991 (second pressing)
Recorded 1987–1988
North Shore Soundworks
Island Media Studios
(West Babylon, New York)
Genre Golden age hip hop
Length 45:22
Label Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records (1989 release)
Priority/EMI Records (1994 reissue)
Producer EPMD
EPMD chronology
Strictly Business
Unfinished Business
Singles from Strictly Business
  1. "It's My Thing"
    Released: 1987
  2. "I'm Housin"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Strictly Business"
    Released: August 27, 1988
  4. "You Gots to Chill"
    Released: 1988

Strictly Business is the debut album by golden age hip-hop duo EPMD. It was released on June 21, 1988, by Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records around the world and BCM Records in Germany. It peaked at No. 80 on the Billboard 200 soon after release,[1] yet it earned an RIAA gold album certification within four months of its release.[2] In addition, it has received much positive critical attention since its release. In 2003, the album was ranked number 459 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The album is known for its lighthearted party raps and funky sample-reliant production. The album has no guest emcees or producers except DJ K La Boss. The album is broken down track-by-track by the group in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau (A-)[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[6]
RapReviews (9.5/10)[7]
Rhapsody (favorable)[8]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[10]
The Source 5/5 stars[11]
Spin (9/10)[12]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[13]


Strictly Business peaked at No. 80 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.[1] Of its four singles, three landed on the UK Singles Chart and two reached the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Although none of the singles reached the Billboard Hot 100, the album was able to go gold within four months of its release.[2] Initial reviews of the album were strong: Allmusic gave the album a five star rating calling the album "simply amazing".[14] The Source assigned the album a 5-mike rating making it one of 43 albums to ever receive this rating.[15] Robert Christgau also gave it an A- rating soon after its release.[16] Strictly Business was also featured on various "best of 1988" lists. The Face ranked it as the third best album of the year, and ranked its title track as the 25th best single of the year.[17] Sounds judged it to be the 50th best album of the year,[18] while Spex ranked it as the 8th best.[19]


Years after its release, Strictly Business has continued to attract critical success. In 1994, Pop selected it a complement to Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full on its list of The World's 100 Best Albums + 300 Complements. In 1998, The Source placed Strictly Business on its 100 Best Rap Albums list and included two of its singles on its 100 Best Rap Singles list.[20] In 1999, it was judged to be the 4th-best hip hop album of 1988 by ego trip.[21] In 2001, Dance de Lux ranked Strictly Business as the 11th-best hip hop record of all time.[22] In 2003, the album was placed on Blender's 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die list and ranked number 459 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[22] Additionally, the Rolling Stone Album Guide, which initially rated the album as three and a half stars out of five, awarded the album with a five-star rating in 2004.[22] Retrospective reviews by Spin (1995), the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2002), Martin C. Strong (2004), and Sputnikmusic (2006) have respectively allotted the album a nine-out-of-10 rating, a four-star rating, a five-star rating and a seven-out-of-10 rating.[22][23] Strictly Business is now widely considered to be a classic release[24] and a seminal hip hop album.

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced by EPMD

# Title Performer(s) Sample(s) Time
1 "Strictly Business" EPMD 4:47
2 "I'm Housin" EPMD 4:01
3 "Let the Funk Flow" EPMD 4:16
4 "You Gots to Chill" EPMD
  • "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang
  • "More Bounce to the Ounce" by Zapp
  • "I Can't Stop" by John Davis and The Monster Orchestra
  • "Catch A Groove" by Juice
  • "Strictly Business" by EPMD
5 "It's My Thing" EPMD
  • "Different Strokes" by Syl Johnson
  • "Seven Minutes of Funk" by Tyrone Thomas and the Whole Darn Family
  • "It's My Thing" by Marva Whitney
  • "Long Red" by Mountain
  • "The Wall" by Pink Floyd
6 "You're a Customer" EPMD 5:28
7 "The Steve Martin" EPMD
  • "Let Me Come on Home" by Otis Redding
  • "Pee-Wee's Dance" by Joeski Love
8 "Get off the Bandwagon" EPMD
  • "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band
9 "D.J. K La Boss" DJ K La Boss (Scratches) 4:31
10 "Jane" EPMD 2:59


Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Germany 1988 BCM Records Vinyl LP B.C. 33-2125-43
Germany 1988 BCM Records CD CD 076-555722
Germany 1988 BCM Records CD B.C. 50-2125-46
United Kingdom 1988 Sleeping Bag Records Vinyl LP SBUKLP 1
United States June 7, 1988 Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records Vinyl LP LPRE-6
United States June 7, 1988 Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records Cassette CSRE-6
United States June 7, 1988 Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records CD CDRE-6
United States July 1, 1991 Priority/EMI Records CD 0499 2 57135 2 7/P2-57135
United States July 1, 1991 Priority/EMI Records Cassette 0499 2 57135 4 1/P4-57135
Worldwide (Snoop Dogg-approved remastered Priority Records’ 25th-anniversary edition) February 23, 2010 Priority/EMI Records CD 50999 6 26869 2 1/P2-26869
Worldwide (25th-anniversary edition) September 3, 2013 Priority/UMe/Universal Records CD 374 986

Chart positions[edit]


Chart (1988)[1] Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 80
U.S. Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 1


Song Chart (1987)[25] Peak
"It's My Thing" UK Singles Chart 97
Song Chart (1988) Peak
"Strictly Business" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 29
UK Singles Chart 90
"You Gots to Chill" U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 22
Song Chart (1989) Peak
"I'm Housin'" UK Singles Chart 89


  1. ^ a b c "EPMD > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved December 29, 2008. 
  3. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007.
  4. ^ Strictly Business (EPMD album) at AllMusic
  5. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  6. ^ Los Angeles Times Review
  7. ^ RapReviews Review
  8. ^ Rhapsody Review
  9. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  10. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  11. ^ The Source Review
  12. ^ Spin Review
  13. ^ Sputnikmusic Review
  14. ^ Bush, John. "Strictly Business Review". Allmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  15. ^ "The Source's 5 Mic Albums". Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  16. ^ Robert, Christgau. "EPMD Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  17. ^ "The Face Lists". Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Sounds Lists". Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  19. ^ "SPEX – Popular Music Best-Of-List – 1988". Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  20. ^ "The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums + 100 Best Rap Singles". Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  21. ^ Sacha Jenkins, Elliot Wilson; et al. (1999). Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan USA. ISBN 0-312-24298-0. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Acclaimed Music – Strictly Business". Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  23. ^ de Sylvia, Dave. "EPMD – Strictly Business Review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  24. ^ Bush, John. "EPMD > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  25. ^ "EPMD > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]