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I first got into Redman after hearing the excellent Muddy Waters and after that sought to find his recent releases as well as his back catalogue. It was then that I discovered this album, which was his debut released in 1992.
Since that point Redman has attained legendary status within rap and is simply one of those characters, who like him or hate him it's hard to ignore him.
The album is very much influenced by old school funk samples which gives the album a very retro feeling as this is 70's and 80's funk.
Listening to this album now, it's apparent what qualities Redman brought and that is a rapping style which has an accessible style to it. He displays a sense of humour in his rhymes as well a penchant for well thought out slick punch rhymes.
There is a sense of fun in this album, a stark contrast to the gangsta rap. The bouncy beats are going to be something you either enjoy or find a little too stripped down and bare bones. One of the standouts is Time 4 Sumaskion, which is just an energetic fun song displaying a flurry of rhyme after rhyme.
Rated R is another standout from the song which sees Redman taking out on Michael Myers, Norman Bates, the Devil and many more. The rhymes are creative and original.
Redman's main subjects are weed, drugs, women and taking on anyone who thinks they can better him. However because he does things in his own style, he makes up for the limited subject matter because he injects fun and humour into so much of it.
Redman is undoubtedly a talented rapper but I would have preferred more of a variation on beats. This p funk sounds very dated and struggles to maintain my interest. You might disagree, that the beats should be secondary to the rapping and that's true but a lot of these beats are uninteresting.
Aged 22, the Newark, New Jersey native Redman made his début in 1992 when he release "Whut? Thee Album". He had created a little buzz from appearing on records from EPMD prior to that time, and once the Hit Squad was all up and running with the likes of Das EFX, K-Solo and the legendary pair who started it making a lot of noise in the industry, Red dropped his first album and changed the game for the better by coming with a release considered know to be a Hip Hop classic.
Just as EPMD before him, he seems unafraid to present himself as he is. He announces to the world that he's Reggie Noble, and that he's got a lot to offer the world. He takes a lot of inspiration from the work of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic and so although he may take on the heavily sample-driven music that other Hit Squad members did, he takes things a bit further and seems much more capable of making it clear that he's attempting to bring that sort of fun back through his animated music. Where Dr. Dre was a P-Funk fanatic, he wouldn't have gone as far Redman to show it in this manner. Here the rapper continually splutters out notable phrases associated with 'The Funk', showing desperation to ensure that it's drilled into the heads of the listeners.
Characteristically, this release is very much alike what EPMD was about. The record features lots of Funk-based Rap material. Although he claims that he's about the roughness, Redman's style is quite clearly very accessible because it has a smooth quality which lends itself to the groove-driven music with lots of bass underlining it. The rapper is also sure to rhyme in a style which would appeal beyond the core Hip Hop crowds at the time, this is because his approach is so light-hearted in just the way that his mentors were. However, there is one defining feature which sets it apart from the work of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith; it's very long. Lasting 21 tracks (with skits and interludes included) no other Rap album up to this time had been so long and still managed to be praised so highly, but Redman just pulls it off. Where EPMD would just do neat 11-track records, Red is capable for making things run almost double the length. The album reads as a running piece and would be hurt if split down into individual tracks. He packs in half songs and mixes them in with skits (taking inspiration from N.W.A) and it just seems to all work perfectly for him.
The way that Redman just talks over beats is reminiscent of what was found in the most notable P-Funk records, in their mainstream years, and sounds completely refreshing to hear from him. This comes as early as the "Da Funk", three tracks in, and then he reminds listeners of this at a number of later occasions. He pulls it off amazingly-well without trying to force it, and it just seems to make for a flowing album that just gives more and more. When speaking on the production, it's important to note that the release features mostly Redman and Erick Sermon collaborations on this side of the music. Together they appear to have ideas which draw directly from the "Strictly Business" album from '88 and so will be able to connect with that crowd too. Pete Rock and Parrish Smith also lend a helping-hand, but their influence isn't nearly as prominent.
Although Cypress Hill may have got in there just before him, Reggie still forms part of the first generation of 'Stoner Rap' acts; the sort whose fan base are always guaranteed to be loyal and will ensure for a healthy long-lived stretch in the game. The rapper is sure to keep reminding us of how the use of cannabis has inspired the music he's made and just how funky it ended-up turning out as a result. He may do this in a basic way like with a skit like "Sessed Out One Night", but carries this through into the grooving "How To Roll A Blunt" as a full song. He always keeps things engaging through edginess, but then follows-through with the high quality rapping and incredible storytelling abilities. He does a lot which others wouldn't have managed to get away with and shows how the naive and often themed Rap material from the eighties can be manipulated in a form which isn't anywhere near as corny. This can be seen in something like the "Redman Meets Reggie Noble" cut where he raps and talks as his two personalities ingeniously without making a fuss of just how innovative and creative it was at the time. He sets the standards for many, and does so without appearing to put in much real effort to make it work.
It would be criminal to speak on this album and not mention the singles. All of them are classics and it's guaranteed that you'll enjoy them if you were into the grimy sound of East Coast Hip Hop in the early-to-mid nineties. The Gap Band-using "Blow Your Mind" will take you away with its ascending "All around the world for The Funk" snippet from Parliament's "Theme From the Black Hole" and then the raw Boom-Bap heard on "Time 4 Sum Aksion" shows that he's right on-trend with what his areas was saying at the time. Finally, "Tonight's Da Night" gives the record its calmness and highlights the gentler side of the rapper (even though he claims that it isn't the intension).
In conclusion, this is really a Hip Hop album you have to own. It doesn't really matter what you're into as there's bound to be a certain element of the record that you're going to connect with if this isn't your primary musical style. Redman's comical rhymes make it charming and he's able to top this off with smile-inducing Funk production to keep you engaged through each and every single track. Not a single step along the way is there even the slightest weak point. He holds things together through all the short tracks and interludes and ensures that you'll want to follow his career wherever it went from this point.
1. "Psycho Ward" **Five Stars**
2. "Time 4 Sum Aksion" **Five Stars**
3. "Da Funk" **Five Stars**
4. "News Break" **Five Stars**
5. "So Ruff" **Five Stars**
6. "Rated 'R'" **Five Stars**
7. "Watch Yo Nuggets" **Five Stars**
8. "Psycho Dub" **Five Stars**
9. "Jam 4 U" **Five Stars**
10. "Blow Your Mind" **Five Stars**
11. "Hardcore" **Five Stars**
12. "Funky Uncles" **Five Stars**
13. "Redman Meets Reggie Noble" **Five Stars**
14. "Tonight's Da Night" (feat. Hurricane G) **Five Stars**
15. "Blow Your Mind" (Remix) **Five Stars**
16. "I'm a Bad" **Five Stars**
17. "Sessed One Night" **Five Stars**
18. "How to Roll a Blunt" **Five Stars**
19. "Sooper Luver Interview" **Five Stars**
20. "A Day of a Superman Lover" **Five Stars**
21. "Encore" **Five Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Psycho Ward
2 Time 4 Sum Aksion
3 Da Funk
4 News Break
5 So Ruff
6 Rated R
7 Watch Yo Nuggets
8 Psycho Dub
9 Jam 4 U
10 Blow Your Mind
12 Funky Uncles
13 Redman Meets Reggie Noble
14 Tonight's Da Night
15 Blow Your Mind (1)
16 I'm A Bad
17 Sessed One Night
18 How To Roll A Blunt
19 Sooper Lover Interview
20 Day Of Sooperman Lover
22 Tonight's Da Night (2)
23 Hardcore/Time 4 Sum Aksion