Having recorded two undeniable hip-hop classics right out the box, EPMD met with a modicum of disapproval for the first time ever upon the release of its third album, which was graded down by some fans and critics because it seemed to be, yes, more business as usual rather than any sort of musical maturation or progression. Unbowed, Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith returned with what, at the time, was rumored even before it hit shelves to be their final album together. Indeed, the duo broke up not long after Business Never Personal came out. It was a perfect way to go out together. The album proved to be both a commercial and artistic triumph at the time, and with each passing year, it sounds more and more like their finest -- if not their most historically important -- recording. Unapologetically underground throughout its career up to this point, the duo was savvy enough to throw a bone to an ever-growing rap-listening public in a supposed bid for "Crossover" appeal even as it was taking its concluding bow, thereby negating any cries of "sellout" that otherwise might have been tossed at the group's reputation for independence from any commercial concerns. Frankly, though, it would have been a difficult claim to make stick against EPMD anyway. Despite its appealing Zapp sample and hook, "Crossover" is every bit as coated in street soot as the rest of its music. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly the catchiest thing the pair had ever created. The rest of the album is harder hitting but in every respect as captivating, running from the abrasively metallic "Boon Dox" to the crowd-moving Hit Squad posse cut "Head Banger," and returning the group more often than not to the scowling (though often tongue-in-cheek) intensity and minimalistic aesthetic of its first two records. And if Erick and Parrish hadn't yet made the impending end of their partnership explicit enough, they do so on the final track, where they finally, figuratively kill off Jane, the transvestite prostitute who had hawked them through each of their albums.
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AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart