“EPMD 2” by Nas (ft. EPMD and Eminem)
“EPMD 2” may serve as a homage to EPMD in title, with the pair of classic rappers also getting a feature and a couple of additional shoutouts therein. But the lyrics aren’t about any one topic in particular.
Or if anything, they can be said to be themed on the vocalists by and large biggin’ up themselves but again, are not really about any specific topic, i.e. the artists being afforded the freedom to spit about anything they want.
So in a way, we can say that it is your standard braggadocio rap, though with more of an emphasis on the rappers’ musical greatness as opposed to, say, their riches. But there are some interesting comments on a diversity of topics made therein. For instance, PMD seems to briefly harp on the subject of reparations for African-Americans.
Meanwhile, Nas implies that he has Haitian mafia connections. Moreover, he seems to criticize the practice of women getting their bodies artificially augmented.
Then Eminem comes in with one of his extended, free-stylish outings. During the early goings he relies heavily on a Christmas-inspired motif to get his points across. But perhaps most notable is him giving a shoutout to a number of rappers who died recently. These rappers include:
- DMX (1970-2021)
- MC Ecstasy (1964-2020)
- Prince Markie Dee (1968-2021)
- MF Doom (1971-2020)
And with such in mind he is also compelled to give a shoutout to his hip-hop homey 50 Cent, who is very much alive and kicking, as seeing him again is not something to be taken for granted.
Indeed in the intro of the song this idea of ‘giving roses while a person can still smell them’ is brought into the equation. So with all of that in mind we can postulate that such is why Nas once again chose to honor EPMD, i.e. showing love to a classic hip-hop act while the opportunity is still ripe.
EPMD is a rap act who, tracing their heyday back to the late-1980s / early-1990s, even predates Nas. And the two emcees holding the group down, since day one, are Erick Sermon (aka E) and Parrish Smith (aka PMD).
As alluded to earlier, EPMD hasn’t had a hit record in decades. But they are considered legends by fans who are actually familiar with the early days of the rap genre, which would likely explain why they’re still active to this day, with both Sermon and Smith being in their early 50s.
And to note, despite both EPMD and Nas having been in the game for around three decades now and both acts originating from parts of New York that aren’t too far from each other, this is the first time they have collaborated. However, as implied by the title, Nas did come out with a track prior entitled EPMD, doing so earlier in 2021.
Despite both tracing their origins back to the late 20th century, Nas has managed to stay a lot more industry-relevant than EPMD has. For instance, he won his first Grammy Award as recently as 2021 (for his 2020 project, King’s Disease). But that said he never officially collaborated with Eminem, another established A list rapper, to date. Thus this marks Nas’s first collaboration with Slim Shady also.
This particular song is from “King’s Disease II”, the follow-up to the aforementioned album, with both being products of Mass Appeal Records, an indie label that Nas helped launch.
The four aforementioned vocalists (Nas, E, PMD and Eminem) are credited with writing this song in conjunction with its producer, Hit-Boy.