Def Squad

Def Squad Presents Erick Onasis

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Erick Sermon, "the Green Eyed Bandit," the premier East Coast funketeer, and one-half of one of hip-hop's pillar groups, EPMD, returned as Erick Onassis alongside the Def Squad in the summer of 2000. Featuring a host of guests from the four corners of hip-hop, the E-Double took his funky experimentation into the next millennium with Erick Onassis. Claiming millionaire status and taking on the moniker of one of America's old money clans (similar to Jay-Z's Rock-A-Fella title), E lays his brand of brash and bouncy beats as the background for a slick gangsta-player persona trading in his trademark lisped, laid-back flow. Erick Onassis and his cohorts for the album are in-your-face, claiming cash money as king. There is precious little else on this album but bragging over funk tracks. But to the E, the funk is all that matters and the musical and emotional range consists only of how deep into the river of funk he wants to take the listener. E teams up with an eclectic and well-chosen mix of artists, all of whom play off of his down-bottom grooves expertly. "Why Not" features "the Ruler" Slick Rick in a rehash of the hook from Rick's classic "Mona Lisa." Def Squad heavy-hitters Redman and Keith Murray throw their hats in the ring for "Hostility." The West Coast-inspired "Focus" features Cali's Xzibit and DJ Quik. Eazy-E appears posthumously on "So Sweet." Def Squad crooner Dave Hollister adds his vocal styling to "Can't Stop." But the best cut is arguably "Van Gundy," a posse joint in which E's old tag-team partner Parish Smith bats clean-up. While musically this album drives along in basically one gear, overall the ride is pretty smooth and enjoyable.

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