No school like old school for Pro Bowl raps


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

A couple of premiere old-school rap acts are coming to Honolulu as part of the NFL Pro Bowl entertainment package this weekend.

“;Erick and Parish Making Dollars”;—better known as EPMD—are MCs Erick Sermon and Parish Smith, who have been representing the East Coast, off-and-on, are now entering their 23rd year. And Oakland's “;Godfather of Bay Area hip-hop”; and master pimp Too $hort has been going strong for nearly as long.





        On stage: 10 p.m. Friday

Place: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.


Tickets: $25, $50 VIP


Call: (877) 750-4400 or visit www.ticketmaster.com



Speaking by phone from Long Island, N.Y., Parish Smith remembers doing a gig here in the islands with DJ Honda during that time between 1993 to '97 when they weren't working together. He enthusiastically gives a shout-out to the hip-hop fans on the island of “;Miliki,”; remembering his time there—and I'm sure the folk of Molokai will appreciate the greeting.

“;I'm doin' real good,”; he said, “;and this is something me and Erick wanted to do for a long time. It's great to be put in position to do live shows again once we dropped 'Blow.'”;

“;Blow”; is the 2007 hit song that put EPMD back in the biz. Smith is proud to say that, with the help of that song and other old-school hits like “;Strictly Business,”; “;You Gots to Chill”; and “;I'm Housin',”; “;we killed on the 'Rock the Bells' circuit,”; first in 2006 in their first show together in eight years at New York's B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Then, in '07, they repeated the success, making special guest appearances on RTB bills that included Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine.

You can also find “;Blow”; on their recently released “;We Mean Business”; album.




On the Net:




“;The tracks I like particularly on the album are 'Putten Work In' (guest starring Raekwon from Wu-Tang), 'Listen Up' with Teddy Riley, 'They Tell Me,' 'Jane' (the latest same-titled sequel song that dates back 20 years), and 'Left 4 Dead.'”;

Rappers KRS-One and Redman also guest on the album. The guys continue to work with people like Redman and Keith Murray as members of their Hit Squad extended family.

“;We've been rockin' ever since we got back together in '97,”; Smith said. “;The world's constantly changin', but we've returned to our game.”;

And he's looking forward to the all-star football game himself. “;I played some ball at Southern Connecticut State University, thanks to a scholarship. In fact, that's where me and Erick started writing the songs for our first album 'Strictly Business.'”;





        Place: Fashion 45, 2255 Kuhio Ave.

Time: 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday


Tickets: $25 and $75 VIP presale, $35 and $100 at the door


Call: 723-0481 or 699-1862 or visit www.myevolution.com



ANOTHER RAPPER who funked it up right from the get-go is Too $hort, nee Todd Shaw, originally from Los Angeles until he moved to Oak Town when he was a teenager.

Now 42, Too $hort was an honoree at VH1's “;Hip-Hop Honors,”; standing alongside other acts Slick Rick, Cypress Hill, De La Soul and Naughty By Nature. $hort has proven to be an adaptable rapper over the years, working either Down South with the crunk, or back home in the Bay Area and the hyphy scene.

Never a flamboyant personality, there is nevertheless one constant in Too $hort's career that has remained controversial, and that is his plain talk about the underground sex biz. It's not so much celebratory, but it's definitely raw and unapologetic. “;Bee-yatch,”; anyone?

He's a guy that embraces the mack daddy lifestyle—much to the consternation of women outside of the hooker-and-stripper line of work. In a 2007 interview with Swindle magazine, he said, “;I think my most obvious contribution is the way everybody uses the word 'bitch.' That was my gift to rap.”;

After making his reputation as an underground independent, Too $hort blew up with the national re-release of his now-classic 1988 debut “;Born to Mack.”; That and his next three albums, “;Life Is ... Too $hort,”; “;Short Dog's in the House”; and “;Shorty the Pimp,”; have made him a rap icon.

“;My initial intention was to be the most popular underground rapper that ever existed,”; he said in the magazine interview. “;I didn't want to be face-recognizable famous ... I wanted to be the guy that made these crazy records where you loved the music and didn't really care about the personality.”;

His latest album on his own Up All Nite label is 2006's “;Blow the Whistle.”;