Prior to his Def Jam days, and even before making a name for himself at Slip-N-Slide, Rick Ross says he drew inspiration from another former labelmate.
“I used to be chillin’ at the homie Erick Sermon’s crib in Long Island,” Ross recalled while filming a viral video at the Cannes Film Festival. “This is history that a lot of motherfuckers don’t know. If you go back to that Erick Onasis album, I’m on that album.”
Sermon would eventually leave the house that Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin built after EPMD broke up. Due to contractual issues, he began recording under the name Erick Onasis as a nod to Greek businessman Aristotle Onasis. Ross, who was then recording under the name Teflon Da Don, appeared on the 2000 album Def Squad Presents: Erick Onasis on the track “Ain’t Shit To Discuss.”
At their peak, Sermon and Parrish Smith introduced fans to Redman, Das Efx, Keith Murray and K-Solo, who all enjoyed solo success after being members of Def Squad and Hit Squad. They were the precursor to outfits such as Ruff Ryders, Roc-a-fella and even Ross’ own Maybach Music Group roster. As someone who is often praised for his ear for beats, Ross said he drew inspiration from EPMD’s “Jane” series.
“This shit just brings me back to when I made ‘Maybach Music’ part one through three,” Ross added. “My first time seeing that was in EPMD’s music with ‘Jane.’ I loved all the different parts. As I listen to all that classic shit, that shit was really inspirational.”