It was the early 90′s, during my middle school lunch break when a Haitian friend handed me the cassette tape that would change my life forever. I can still remember the first time I heard it. I put it on my boombox as soon as I got home. On it were songs from Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep and more east coast hardcore rappers. The content of the music was beyond my understanding at that time but I couldn’t stop listening to that tape. There was this one particular song that I kept rewinding and that song was “How High” by Redman and Method Man from “The Show” original soundtrack. I must have played that song over 500 times and knew the lyrics from beginning to end. I was blown away by the imagery in the lyrics how poetic they were.
Since then I have been a Redman superfan. The man is a lyrical genius and at the same time one of the most comical MC’s to ever bless a microphone. I thoroughly enjoy hearing ALL of his work; even his shitty material is 20 times better than anything on the radio. The new, the old, the underground and the commercial stuff. My favorite album of his would have to be “Muddy Waters” followed by “Dare iz A Darkside”. I get excited anytime he comes out with new material, because with as much bud as he smokes I don’t understand how he keeps coming with that ferocious flow. He’s such a character that he’s crossed all streams of entertainment. He’s always putting out new material, touring and doing features. Point blank- the man works hard. He’s had some hit and miss albums in the past so I’m hoping this one is a home run. This album is supposed to be an alter-ego concept, so let’s see what “Reggie” has to say….
1. Reggie Intro — Congos and a chopped up piano melody get your head bobbin’ before the big beat drops and rattles your speakers. The Funk Doc prescribes a straight dosage of poetic lyricism while making you laugh at uppercut punch lines. I like this one, it sets a great platform for the album to go by. I had to press repeat on this one a couples times.
2. That’s Where I B feat. DJ Kool — This one is heavy on the synthesizer, but in a bad way. The melody gets annoying. I’ve never been a fan of DJ’s screaming over the track. The production is very commercial. It’s on the Hip-Pop tip. Redman of course is able to flow for days on any beat you give him but it’s a track you’ll forget about.
3. Def Jammable — This is one of those songs where the beat makes you cringed and quickly skip to the next song. Redman again saves the track with his lyrical ability but it is very hard for me to enjoy this tune. I couldn’t wait for the song to end. Dj Khalil was in charge of the production. Swing and a miss on this one.
4. Full Nelson feat. Ready Roc, Runt Dawg & Saukrates — The beats seem to get bigger and chunkier with every track. This is a club banger waiting to be played. It isn’t really what I want to hear when I listen to Redman but it will get the bodies moving on the dance floor. The chorus will have people singing along, but I never thought I’d hear Redman doing auto-tune.
5. Lift It Up — All these beats sound the same to me. They are all heavy on the dirty south drums with crazy synthesizer use. Although the track is short, I didn’t really feel it. It sounds like another album filler and forgetful track.
6.All I Do feat. Faith Evans — Redman’s always been down with the R&B side of music. With the help of the talented Faith Evans, The Funk Doc declares lyrics of love and devotion to the number one lady in his life, music. The laid back melody rides perfectly with Faith’s sultry voice. It took me getting mid-album to press that repeat button.
7. Lemme Get 2 feat. Saukrates — Complex piano melody is layered over hard hitting percussion to set up a nice beat for Redman to come and lyrically demolish. It has a softer feel than the other tracks on the album and is rather enjoyable. The chorus got a little annoying to me, but it’s bearable. Saukrates spits some great verses and adds to the track.
8. Mic, Lights, Camera, Action — Super producer Rockwilder brings the heat with this tune. Echoing melodies ride heavy bass driven synthesizers and drums as Redman kills it in the booth talking about politics, social status, and hip-hop. I heard potential in the song and pressed repeat a couple times. It grows on you with each listen.
9. Cheerz feat. Ready Roc & Melanie Rutherford — Ready Roc comes out taking no prisoners laying down some solid verses. Melanie Rutherford adds that soul flavor to the track with her smooth vocals. Redman shines like a star as he says a toast for hip-hop and drops heavy science for your listening pleasure. The only negative is that the beat sounds like the others on the album.
10. Rockin’ Wit Da Best feat. Kool Moe Dee — I love the old school drums being used but I wish they wouldn’t have used the synthesizers. Kool Moe Dee is a lyrical assassin but I don’t think it should be called a feature when Kool Moe Dee doesn’t even rhyme on the track. Redman destroys the microphone digging deep into his cranial cavity.
11. Lite 1 Witcha Boi feat. Method Man & Bun B — Each of the three lyricists throw down smoked filled lyrics that will enhance your musical high. Those dirty south drums go well with the funky melody provided by the production team “Da Audibles”. Redman, Method Man and Bun B always put out quality material when they work together. The beat gets a little redundant by the end, but it’s a good track.
12.When The Lites Go Off feat. Poo Bear — As soon as I heard the first 10 seconds I knew I would dislike this song. The way the melody is set up and the type of percussion used makes this is a hip-pop song. It’s a radio hit waiting to be played. Not really my cup of tea and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Sounds like another filler on the album to my ears.
13. Tiger Crane Style — At least the album ends on a strong note. The infectious beat grabs your ear drums and bangs them till your head is going from side to side. The Funk Doc comes correct with witty lyrics and comedic one liners but it seems like too little too late to save this album. I did hit repeat a couple times because this song is great to jam to.
So by the end of the album I find myself happy that it’s over. There are a couple of tracks buried deep within the album that I would listen to on the regular but this project is all filler and no killer. This is the first Redman album with no Erick Sermon production and there are no skits or comedy bits. It was supposed to be a mixtape but Def Jam picked it up and decided to make it an album. This is one of those cases were the label should of waited for Redman to put together better quality material. The album sounds like it was put together in 1 month and it favors the club scene. This album doesn’t hold a light to some of his other work. I’m disappointed because Red and Meth delivered a solid disc not too long ago. Redman is supposed to drop “Muddy Waters 2″ next year. I’m counting down the minutes because I wanna leave this album in 2010 where it belongs. I’m probably being biased due to the fact that I know how nasty Redman is as an artist and for a first time Redman listener this album might turn them off. Regardless of this album Redman is still in my top MC’s of all time. Check out the album although this will definitely be for the commercial rap crowd instead of the hardcore hip-hop fans.For all things Redman please visit www.reggienoble.com.
Here’s one of the best tracks off the album “Tiger Crane Style”…