• 16May



    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!

    4) “Blow Ya Mind” - Whut? Thee Album, Def Jam, 1992

    In 1992, rap was arguably still raw enough as a genre where a rapper’s debut album could literally just feature tightly crafted and braggadocios flows to take a performer to the next level. At a time when rap was all about gimmicks in presentation, Redman – alongside performers like Das EFX, Keith Murray and numerous other Hit Squad/Def Squad affiliates – were the antithesis. Unadorned and grimy with boom bap symphonies tempered with soul, the style wasn’t so much “back to basics” as it was setting the baseline standard for what rap’s most boiled down essence should aspire to reach. “Blow Ya Mind” is a tremendous lyrical performance from Redman-as-neophyte, One of MANY times on his debut release that he excelled in creating a combustible, yet still populist style for not just his own career, but hip-hop as a genre to follow.

    (TIED) 3) EPMD (featuring Redman and K-Solo) – “Headbanger” - Business Never Personal, Def Jam, 1992

    After already establishing a dominant position in rap’s golden era, in introducing Redman to rap’s mainstream on “Headbanger,” EPMD set about establishing their long-term legacy in the genre. There’s no trickery here, just straight up boom bap, turned up to 11 – “headbanging” music. Yes, by 1992, EPMD were dependably rough, rugged and raw with their rhymes. But Redman’s hyperkinetic energy leaps out of the track and assaults the cerebellum, the emcee’s hunger for success readily apparent in his wild raps. Though at the time we as devotees of hip-hop culture had no idea what a “funkadelic flow” was, it was in Redman’s charismatic insistence that we listen to every word that he said that we got the point, and ultimately why he’s the headliner at the 2013 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. If there was a moment to look forward to at this year’s event, the guaranteed performance of this song would be one of them.

    (TIED) 3) “Ill Bee Dat!” – Doc’s da Name 2000, Def Jam, 1998

    Redman’s a rare breed of emcee, the kind of artist that understands the value of humor and vaudeville in the history of black music. One of the finest examples of this notion is in the song “I’ll Bee Dat!” In the late 1990s, rap took making money and having an idyllic presentation as a serious matter. However, in one song and especially one video, Redman took a hilarious pot shot at hip-hop culture and continued in a long path in his career of creating populist moments wherein everyone can smile, laugh and appreciate the often absurd nature of popular culture. As a song, “I’ll Bee Dat!” features a great hook delivered with an inimitable madcap style that’s is a classic Redman staple. In the video, Redman lampoons pretty much every commercial on the market in that era. However, when the attractive female biker waves at Redman and crew in front of the Bodega, then proceeds to run into the back of a car and take a spill into the rear window – that’s not just the embodiment of great physical humor, but a moment that sets Redman on an entirely different level.

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