EXCLUSIVE: Rap Legend Erick Sermon’s Journey to a Heart Attack and Back


The second week of November 2011 was almost surreal. The Hip-Hop community and much of the entertainment world was already reeling over the sudden, untimely death of rap legend Heavy D at age 44 on November 8. Then on the 12th of the month, a tweet went out from DJ Scratch that reverberated across the Internet with an unthinkable message:

“Erick Sermon had a heart attack today.”

Hip-Hop newsrooms scrambled to find out details, while A-list celebrities began to call around to each other to figure out how to reach Sermon. After Heavy D’s passing just days before, all anyone seemed to want to know was, ‘Is Erick going to make it?’ Scratch’s tweet then reassured:

“He’s ok, but still send your prayers.”

For some, a catalog of musical memories was undoubtedly streaming through their minds that day. Sermon is, after all, one of the pioneers that helped transform rap music from a fad in the ‘hoods of America into a worldwide cultural phenomenon. Alongside rap partner Parrish Smith, he created the group EPMD, a member of rap’s royal Def Squad/Hit Squad, that also includes Redman, Keith Murray, and others. Over time, Sermon also crafted a reputation for being one of the top producers in rap and R&B, with a client list that is still unmatched to this day. So, the thought of losing him and Heavy D in the same week was devastating.

For others, the second week of November served as a tragic eye-opener. Before then, we all thought, ‘People aren’t supposed to have heart attacks or die in their early 40s,’ especially in the prime of their lives as artists, family men, and entrepreneurs. But to the surprise of many – especially 42-year-old Erick Sermon – the unthinkable did happen.

AllHipHop.com spent the afternoon with an eager, healthy-looking Erick Sermon this week to hear firsthand about his three-month road to recovery – and why his heart attack means you don’t have to have one, too:

Check back over the coming days for more of AllHipHop.com’s exclusive interview with Erick Sermon, where he describes his mission to school the youth on the (true) definition of “Hip-Hop.