Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
ERICK SERMON | No Pressure
Def Jam (1993)
Selected by Daryl McIntosh
Hardcore rap fans didn’t know quite where to turn as 1992 closed with the announcement that EPMD’s Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith were parting ways. Thankfully Sermon’s production on albums like Redman’s Whut? Thee Album helped us keep hope alive until the release of No Pressure in October of 1993.
The LP’s lead single “Hittin’ Switches” stuck to EPMD’s signature hardcore pedigree so much that you almost anticipated Parrish to drop in for a few bars as in years past. As hard as it was to comprehend the breakup of one of rap’s most impactful duos, No Pressure cemented the Green-Eyed Bandit as a premier producer and legitimate double threat when gripping the mic.
Perhaps its highlight, however, was that No Pressure formally introduced a young, fellow Long Island native named Keith Murray on the song “Hostile” and stamped the entrance of a new collective of Sermon, Murray, and Redman, who would go on to be known collectively as the Def Squad.