May 30, 2024

HIT SQUAD REUNION SHOW (NYC) – Review, History Lesson & Video Footage

image by fraze1972

Last night New York experienced an incredible reunion show by the original Hip Hop crew that paved the way for the Rocafela Dynasty, YMCMB and just about any other hip hop crew that came after. In the early 90’s the Hit Squad established dominance as the ultimate hardcore “super-crew” consisting of EPMD, Redman, K-Solo, and Das EFX. It was on EPMD’s third (and some say best) album, Business As Usual that the “Hit Squad” was first mentioned. That album featured Redman. K-Solo had been featured on an earlier album and Das EFX on their next one, Business Never Personal, which also contained the mega hit “Headbanger“.

Full article and video of “Headbanger” performed live @ Best Buy Theater February 24th, 2012 after the jump.

The song “Headbanger” featuring K-Solo and Redman was their biggest song and became the signature for the squad, their anthem. Soon after, Erick Sermon (“E”) and Parish Smith (“PMD”) had a falling out and the group EPMD broke up. There was reportedly a “heated altercation” (Wikipedia) on the set of the video shoot for the song.

When EPMD broke up, Erick Sermon and Redman recruited Keith Murray to join their half of the crew and renamed it “Def Squad“. (Mally G pka “Lil Jamal” was an honorary member as well, bodying the Busta Rhymes‘ song “FlipMode Meets Def Squad“). Parish Smith continued on using the name “Hit Squad”, with Das EFX, DJ Scratch, and some others, who were under his management. In 2006, the crew reunited and all prior beef was water under the bridge, the two squads (Hit Squad/Def Squad) performing together for reunion shows.

Last night’s Hit Squad Reunion Show @ the Best Buy Theater in Manhattan showed that the love for this amazing super crew is still there in 2012. The place was packed wall to wall with fans, including DMX, Lil Fame of M.O.P, Method Man, Tame 1, Psycho Les, Mr. Walt (Beatminerz), Jay Smooth (Underground Railroad) and Mazzi (S.O.U.L Purpose), Swel (Arsonists), Sav Kills and J. Ronin, just to name a few, all who came out to witness the historical event. And of course, ya boys HYDRA and PH, were in the house, representing The Plague and! With the exception of Method Man who did his verse on Da Rocwilder with Redman, no one outside the Hit Squad crew performed, but heads were there to show love and support for this legendary crew who inspired so many.

Speaking of inspiration, Erick Sermon humbly told the crowd that “EPMD came from Run DMC” and that without them and Jam Master Jay there would have been no EPMD and no Hit Squad. DJ Scratch, one of the group’s DJ’s and the group’s main producer, explained that Jam Master Jay is the one who brought him to EPMD to become their official DJ. Dressed in Run DMC signature hats, glasses and gold rope chains, DJ Scratch did a JMJ tribute routine and the group performed a brief rendition of “Peter Piper”.

Everybody pretty much did their hit records they were known for as individual groups or artists and then we were treated to the collaborations from EPMD albums and of course the grand finale was the Headbanger. Redman’s presence dominated the stage everytime and he tore it down all night. EPMD was solid, looking exactly how they always do – all black, hoodies, Erick with his sweatband and PMD with his bucket hat. These guys do not change. When So Watcha Sayin’ came on the crowd lost their minds! Keith Murray’s performances were a little erratic, but his energy was so high, he got the party amped with his presence and delivery. Besides Redman he definitely had the most energy of the night. He dropped a few lines in a verse here and there but the crowd was more than happy to fill them in. In fact, the most 30-something crowd knew most of the words to every song performed all night. And allot of these are records between 10 to 20 years old!

Overall it was a great night. The only minor disappointment for me personally, is I wanted to hear Redman and Keith go in on FlipMode Meets Def Squad. I wondered why they didn’t do their verses from that, but I thought about it after the show and that was Def Squad, not Hit Squad material. Still, Keith Murray was there and he was never even in Hit Squad, so now that they all rollin’ together that woulda been nice. That and a surprise appearance by Mally G would really blown my mind (wonder what happened to dude; he was nasty).

Peace to Peter Oasis and Live ‘N’ Direct for putting together quality Hip Hop shows and here’s hoping for many more to come.

Stay blessed!

@GMS_MCMI | @MCMIreport | @Keithmurrayrap |@therealRedman | @PMDofEPMD |@DASEFXNYC |@DJScratch | @iamEricSermon

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