• 14May



    On July 13, 2013, Redman takes the stage as the headliner of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. With 22 years in the game, the artist born Reggie Noble has created a legacy based around his excellence in celebrating the ribald, the insane and lyrically incredible. From taking the torch passed onto him from fellow #BHF13 performers EPMD, to creating his own iconic space, then mainstreaming his legacy by working with Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man, he’s had a career blessed with incredible longevity. In merely selecting ten great hit singles, it negates the level of craftsmanship that Redman has placed into eight studio albums and a plethora of guest appearances throughout his career. This is by no means a definitive list, but certainly a great place to stir both memories and friendly debates about the headliner for theis year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Enjoy!

    10) “Da Rockwilder” (featuring Method Man) - Blackout, Def Jam, 1999

    The pairing of Redman with Method Man may arguably be one of the great synergies of rap history. Friends prior to 1995 weed anthem “How High” being the best remembered single from the soundtrack for hip-hop cultural documentary The Show, 1999 found Def Jam executives putting the duo together for an entire album – a part of the label’s commercial “comeback” after a lackluster late 90s era. Erick Sermon gets behind the production boards on this one and crafts a supreme club banger, a song so subwoofer potent and melodically incredible that it fits in the conversation for “best club banger” of any rap era. Red and Meth’s back and forth delivery here is incredible, proving anyone wrong who cannot find similarity to great pop duets in rap music. Redman’s mercurial personality takes the serious kung fu, Wu-Tang edge off of Method Man, and a laid back “Ticalian Stallion” glides over the beats with a jovial, yet again, jeep or club worthy banger.

    9) “Can’t Wait” – Dare iz a Darkside, Def Jam, 1994

    By his 1994 follow up album to his successful debut Whut? Thee Album, Redman’s reputation as a party starting maniac was on the rise. However, on his second release, as we get deeper into the personality of Reggie Noble, the R & B sampling legacy of Erick Sermon shines on this Mary Jane Girls  ”All Night Long” redux. In an era where rap was settling down after it’s late 80s explosion, it’s tracks like these that guaranteed radio play for artists like Redman, whose rough edges were not yet smoothed for arguably rap radio’s most pop sanitized era. Still, well within the boundaries of what was then deemed permissible, he showcases the personal tumult that highlighted his legendary rhyme style well here, a seemingly ceaseless flow of angst-ridden stream of consciousness on the edge of mayhem.

    8) “Tonight’s da Night” – Whut? The Album, 1992

    “Ayo…ayo Redman, get off that punk smooth sh*t…”

    Well, in 1992, as we’ve already established, he couldn’t.

    1992 was a funny time in rap. Half of the genre was coming from the West Coast and winning the game, the one album wonder successes of Delicious Vinyl artists Young MC and Tone Loc probably striking fear in the hearts of New York executives. Down south the horndog booty bass from Miami was either challenging censorship in the Supreme Court or taking Robert van Winkle to #1, and places like Houston and Atlanta, were carrying forth Compton’s still hot torch telling griot-style stories about just how hard life was ducking bullets  in the hood. In the case of the Delicious Vinyl twins, crossover radio play happened quite often, while artists from every other area mentioned fought the good fight with occasional (yet major) success. Getting spins and attention would be easy. Redman was on Def Jam, and Def Jam set the standard for the genre. However, having an undeniable cut that could gain more than simply initial airplay and give the single some legs was needed. Thus, as a hardcore rapper from New Jersey, including a radio-ready, Mary Jane Girls sampling number in his debut album was the easiest way for his voice to reach it’s greatest potential.

    “Mic check….I can get smooth to any groove….relax the tongue, let the mic take a cruise…” Yep, even on his first album, Redman understood finding the diversity in his talents to take crossing over from being a necessary evil to being an enjoyable activity.

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