• 17May



    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!

    2) “How High” (featuring Method Man) - The Show Soundtrack, Def Jam, 1995

    As rap music settles into its fourth decade of existence, it’s entirely possible to make a well-reasoned argument that marijuana has become the fifth element of hip-hop culture. Drug use has always had its proponents in rap music, however, none had the charisma of Redman and Method Man being blessed with a Silver Connection flip on the hook in delivering the message. Even if not a fan of weed, you’re a fan of this song. By ’94, Redman and Method Man arguably represented the commercial crossover of rap’s upstart grimier style. Redman was three albums into his storied career, and Method Man – by virtue of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers and his own solo debut Tical - had sliced open the rap industry with a kung fu samurai sword. Combining these two elements on one party friendly track about getting “so high that [you] can kiss the sky,” arguably changed the marketing of marijuana in tandem with rap music and hip-hop culture. Of course, as mentioned throughout this countdown – Redman’s unique ability to combine wild flows with vaudeville acting and once-in-a-generation charisma made him an unstoppable force with the right track.

    1) “Time 4 Sum Akshun” - Whut? Thee Album, Def Jam, 1992

    “Reggie Noble’s pissed!”

    By 1992, rap was in a place where it’s commercial aspirations were potentially attempting to eclipse the importance of it’s street-smart sensibilities. However, in one vicious diatribe, Reggie Noble became “Redman,” and the castles made of sand  being built on rap’s solid foundation were crushed by baseball bats and Timberland boots. In the video for the song, Redman’s being asked to “focus [his] mind to release [his] anger,” while he’s a prisoner in an electric chair.” Within 16 bars, he’s “ready to rumble,” “hard enough to chew a whole bag of rocks,” crushing brain-frames, and pinning wack rappers to the ground. In being the exact right performance at exactly the right time, his second single ever may indeed be his best. In being the gritty underdog that successfully beat the bloated rap beast into submission, he’s cemented a legacy that he still protects to this day.

    Need more ammunition? Check out this video at the 20:47 point. Five years after being convicted for the rape of Desiree Washington, beloved outlaw and ex-heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson used arguably Redman’s best performance ever to accompany him to the ring in his first fight back in 1995. While the result was a dubious two knockdown first-round TKO win versus over-matched Massachusetts heavyweight “Irish” Peter McNeely, the true star of that fight forever is the notion that after having been removed from ruling urban popular culture for five years that – in choosing Redman’s “Time 4 Sum Aksion” – Tyson could return and showcase that he was just as relevant as ever before.

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