|Genres||East coast hip hop|
|Def Squad, Federal District, Michael Nixx|
The Hit Squad was a 1990s hip hop collective of East coast hip hop artists formed by Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith better known as EPMD. The collective separated when EPMD broke up for the first time in 1993, later reforming as Def Squad. The collective later reintroduced itself in 2006 as "Hit squad" with a sub division of new up and coming artists titled "Team Takeover" featuring artists such as Nymrod, Comatose, Nam Nitty, and the recent youngest member Michael Nixx.
After the success of their debut album Strictly Business, EPMD sought to mentor new artists. The first artist to make a guest appearance on an EPMD album was K-Solo. Solo was featured on their second album Unfinished Business on the song "Knick Knack Patty Wack". The first mention of "Hit Squad" appeared on EPMD's third album Business as Usual on the track "Hit Squad Heist". The lyrics mention Redman, K-Solo and Tom J of Knucklehedz. Redman is also featured on two tracks of that album.
In 1993, EPMD released the single "Headbanger" from their fourth album Business Never Personal. The single featured K-Solo and Redman and the music video features appearances by most of the Hit Squad. The single reached #11 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart. The single's success made "Head Banger" the Squad's "signature song". The album also features Das EFX on the track "Cummin' At Cha".
In late-1992, tensions grew within the Hit Squad. According to an article in The Source, Squad members alleged financial impropriety by Smith who owned their management company. Smith's home was invaded by armed intruders believed to have been hired by Squad members. While Smith declined to publicly give details on who was behind the invasion, Sermon was arrested and briefly detained for questioning, but no charges were filed. EPMD officially broke up in January 1993. Redman and Hurricane G continued to collaborate with Sermon while Das EFX and DJ Scratch remained under Smith's management. K-Solo pursued separate endeavors. The debut album by Knucklehedz became lost in the shuffle in the midst of the breakup and was shelved.
Sermon later formed the Def Squad with Redman, Jamal aka Mally G and another protege Keith Murray. Smith continued to mention the name "Hit Squad" on his subsequent solo albums and on EPMD's reunion albums, but it remained unclear who the members the new Squad were. Smith appeared alongside rap unknowns Blast, Poogi and L The Pro on the classic 1997 Tony Touch mixtape Power Cypha 2, credited as "PMD & The Hit Squad". In 2004, Smith released an album titled Hit Squad: Zero Tolerance using previously unreleased verses by the original members combined with his latest new artists.
As of the 2006 EPMD reunion, most of the former Hit Squad members also reunited along with Def Squad rapper Keith Murray. A new album for the Hit Squad/Def Squad is planned.