Simultaneously Hip-Hop royalty and court jester, mainstream hitmaker and underground phenom, Redman is one of the most universally respected emcees ever to pick up a microphone. Introduced by legendary duo EPMD, Red’s outsized personality, surgically precise flow, and twisted lyrical approach made an immediate impact on rap. The Brick City native’s ability to occupy several worlds at once without sacrificing his personality or standards gained him instant respect from his peers (See Q-Tip on “Midnight," Biggie on “It’s All About The Benjamins”), and fans alike.
After 20 years in the game, several gold and platinum releases, too many memorable verses to list, and at least one classic album to his name, The Funk Doctor Spock is still working, and plans to drop the sequel to his seminal album Muddy Waters in 2013. Now is as good a time as any to refresh your memory or familiarize yourself with the catalog of an all-time great. This is The Primer: Redman.
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1. "Blow Your Mind"
Redman entered the game with an off-kilter sound that turned Erick Sermon’s bottom-heavy production on its ear. With the bass turned up to the point of distortion and an amalgam of samples from nearly every legendary funk artist, “Blow Your Mind” was the perfect introduction to what would become Red’s trademark style. Lyrically, Redman blended his clever, hardcore lyricism with his oddball sense of humor to great effect.
2. "Tonight’s Da Night"
Though Redman’s attempts to smooth it out lyrically were thwarted by an irritated Hurricane G, he still eschewed the hard drums, and crunchy bass that were the hallmarks of most of his early production on this fan favorite. Red threw the world a changeup over a laid-back Mary Jane Girls sample, but still stayed in his zone.
Utilizing the same Leon Haywood sample immortalized by Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg, this self-produced gem was a tribute to a fallen friend. Instead of a somber dead homies ode, Red just keeps moving forward like a weed-fueled whirling dervish the same way he did before Rockafella passed on.
4. "Can't Wait"
Red brings the Mary Jane Girls along for the ride again for another of his smoother offerings. Blunts are rolled, Glocks are cocked, and would be competition is left choking in a cloud of smoke as Red “switch[es] speeds like Bruce Lee/Riding a Fuji in a movie.”
5. "Da Goodness"
Redman puts on a clinic in flow over a guitar sample that sounds like it originated from a James Bond soundtrack (specifically one of the weird ones with Roger Moore or George Lazenby). Speeding up, slowing down, on the downbeat, on the upbeat, double-time, Red shows the whole repertoire here, like the aforementioned spy with a sports car full of new gadgets.
6. "Whateva Man"
Habitual marijuana usage may cause a decrease in motivation, says every boring person ever. It never seemed to stop Redman from getting shit done.
7. "Sooperman Luva"
Not unlike EPMD’s Jane series, the adventures of Sooperman Luva were on every Redman album except for 2010’s Reggie. The first one is a must listen, but the fourth iteration on Doc’s Da Name 2000 is highly underrated.
8. "I’ll Bee Dat"
With a catchy hook, and bouncy production, Redman makes all manners of dysfunction, drug use, and mayhem sound like so much fun.
9. "How To Roll A Blunt"
The song’s pretty self-explanatory, and, at this point, most of you are so familiar with the process that it’s more a function of muscle memory than anything else, but many future potheads received their first illicit instructions on weed wrapping from America’s Most Blunted himself.
10. "Da Rockwilder"
While not technically a Redman solo, there was no way we could leave this Method Man collaboration off the list. At barely over two minutes long, “Da Rockwilder” was an unlikely choice for the lead single from Red & Meth’s group album, but the duo’s demolition of producer Rockwilder’s electro hop was undeniable.