With 1997’s Back In Business, EPMD returned to the rap scene after a five- year hiatus. The duo was well positioned to make a comeback, since the loose, bass-heavy style they pioneered in 1988 had provided the foundation for the ‘90s wave of New York stars that included Nas, Notorious B.I.G. and Redman. Back In Business proved that Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith still had juice. Admittedly, the album falters when they try to imitate their younger competition —“Put On” attempts Mobb Deep, “Dungeon Master” Wu-Tang, “K.I.M.” the Fugees. Thankfully, the majority of the album is distinctly EPMD. “Richter Scale,” “Intrigued” and “Do It Again” are hard-hitting singalongs, and all three songs certify EPMD’s undying expertise when it comes to a catchy hook. The fact that Sermon and Parrish were by this point dividing production credits pointed to internal fractures in the group, but that doesn’t make “Never Seen Before,” “Last Man Standing” and “Get Wit This” any less essential. The songs present the kind of off-kilter funk that could only come from the creative consciousness of EPMD.