“Gold Digger” (Def Jam Recordings)
Billboard chart positions: Hot R&B Singles (#14), Hot Rap Singles (#1)
“Gold Digger” was the first entry in EPMD’s new alliance with Def Jam after Russell Simmons bought out the group’s Sleeping Bag Records contract (at a reported cost of nearly $2 million). It found Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith sticking to their rugged jeep-funk formula with an amusing concept about devious ladies and a familiar Funkadelic sample (one De La Soul used a year earlier for the far more successful “Me Myself and I”). Some critics signaled that they were growing tired of the routine, but so what? “Gold Digger” was a banger, and the video dominated Rap City and and Yo! MTV Raps for months. Once again, EPMD tapped into the ethos of hardcore hip-hop at the turn of the decade, and homeboys from coast to coast gave them the seal of approval.
Read more: The 100 Best Rap Singles of 1990