Twenty years and counting. EPMD released their first CD, Strictly Business in 1988. And the critics said hip-hop wouldn't last. From Bronx blocks to suburban streets to West coasts, hip-hop, despite slumping CD sales, is still going strong.

Nothing could be more obvious at 11 p.m. on Sunday night when Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith stormed the stage. Looks like they're still “ E rick and P arrish M aking D ollars.” The Long Island, New York duo was ranked No. 7 on MTV's list of The Greatest Hip-Hop Groups Of All Time.

Not wasting one moment – no “say hey, ho,” “which side is more hype” crowd participation rallying – EPMD launched into classic hit after hot joint, including “Richter Scale,” “It's My Thing,” “You Gots To Chill,” “Strictly Business,” “Knick Knack Patty Wack,” “The Big Payback” and “So Wat Cha Sayin'.”

The audience hooted and howled, screaming the words to each song. It was like a glimpse into rap's golden era.

EPMD had tricks up their sleeves too. The old school icons brought backup, their homegrown crew, the Hit Squad. Das EFX, rappers Skoob and Dre dropped their chart-toppers, “They Want EFX” and “Mic Checka.” The Brooklyn boys showed everyone why their unique flow was so infectious …“Riggity-row, giggity-gadzooks, here I go …”

Next EPMD returned with “Please Listen To My Demo,” “Jane,” “Gold Digger,” “Get The Bozack” and their Gold-selling single, “Crossover.” As they broke out into their finale, “Head Banger,” the crowd couldn't help but get restless, wondering whether Hit Squadian Redman was in the House (flyers for his March 27 release, Red Gone Wild: Thee Album spotted the club's counters).

Yup, Funk Doctor Spot was there. Delivering his verse for “Head Banger,” he stuck around after EPMD and Das EFX cleared the stage and performed his verse from his popular ditty, “Da Rockwilder.” Needless to say, the rafters shook.

Through the night, Sermon was especially vocal about our need to keep real hip-hop alive. “You're not going to hear any Laffy Taffy tonight,” he clowned, referring to D4L's hit. “Don't let fast food rap come into your system,” he pleaded.

Smiling the whole time, which is rare for a rapper, Parrish summed up the group's feelings about their situation: “This is our 20th Anniversary. It's a dream come true, Cali!”