Strictly Business (EPMD album)

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Strictly Business
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 7, 1988
StudioNorth Shore Soundworks,
Island Media Studios
(West Babylon, New York)
GenreGolden age hip hop
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: 1988
  4. "You Gots to Chill"
    Released: 1988

Strictly Business is the debut album by hip-hop duo EPMD. It was released on June 7, 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 2012, the album was ranked number 453 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[3]

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.[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[6]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[7]
Mojo5/5 stars[8]
The Philadelphia Inquirer3/4 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[11]
The Source5/5[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[13]
The Village VoiceA−[14]


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".[5] 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.[14] 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.[16] Sounds judged it to be the 50th best album of the year,[17] while Spex ranked it as the 8th best.[18]


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.[19] In 1999, it was judged to be the 4th-best hip hop album of 1988 by ego trip.[20] In 2001, Dance de Lux ranked Strictly Business as the 11th-best hip hop record of all time.[21] 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,[21] and was moved up to 453 in a 2012 revised list.[3] 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.[21] 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.[21][22] Strictly Business is now widely considered to be a classic release[23] and a seminal hip hop album.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Performer(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 4:26
5 "It's My Thing" EPMD 5:45
6 "You're a Customer" EPMD 5:28
7 "The Steve Martin" EPMD 4:44
8 "Get off the Bandwagon" EPMD 4:25
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



Song Chart (1987)[27] 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


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "EPMD > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – Searchable Database". RIAA. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  4. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Bush, John. "Strictly Business – EPMD". AllMusic. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Gold, Jonathan (September 11, 1988). "The World of Hard Rap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "EPMD: Strictly Business". Mojo. London: 115. [T]he raps are delivered with a casualness bordering on the slovenly, heightening an atmosphere that combines playfulness with menace.
  9. ^ Tucker, Ken (July 21, 1988). "EPMD: Strictly Business (Fresh)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  10. ^ Juon, Steve "Flash" (January 28, 2003). "EPMD :: Strictly Business :: Sleeping Bag/Fresh Records". RapReviews. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  11. ^ Ryan, Chris; Brackett, Nathan (2004). "EPMD". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 281. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ The Source. New York (150). March 2002.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (August 30, 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "The Source's 5 Mic Albums". Archived from the original on January 11, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  16. ^ "The Face Lists". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  17. ^ "Sounds Lists". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  18. ^ "SPEX – Popular Music Best-Of-List – 1988". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  19. ^ "The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums + 100 Best Rap Singles". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ a b c d "Acclaimed Music – Strictly Business". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  22. ^ de Sylvia, Dave. "EPMD – Strictly Business Review". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  23. ^ Bush, John. "EPMD > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  24. ^ "EPMD, TLP". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  25. ^ "EPMD, BLP". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  26. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1988". Billboard. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "EPMD > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  28. ^ "American album certifications – EPMS – Strictly Business". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]