Check out the Essential 52 Hip Hop Albums of the 90s here.
45. Redman- Whut? Thee Album
Biggest Hit: Time 4 Sum Aksion
Basmentalists Choice Cut: Watch Yo Nuggets
Before the hit movies, the platinum albums, the cameos with Christina Aguilera and the High Times covers, a small-time DJ from Newark got scooped up by EPMD in a history changing move. Two banging guest appearances later off of EMPD’S Business as Usual, and Reggie Noble AKA Redman was ready to deliver a flavour filled opus to the world. While Redman has always been on the A-list for hardcore fans of the genre, he’s popped in and out of the mainstream throughout his career, likely by his accord. The legend goes that EPMD basically drafter Redman, K-Solo and Das Efx after the success of their first two albums. While K-Solo was a blip on the radar, Redman and Das Efx became massively popular in the hip hop underground. Erick Sermon supposedly mentored Redman, while Parish Smith took Das Efx.
Sermon has his hand prints up and down on this debut LP. His aggressive hip hop funk that put EMPD on the map and then made them rich plays beautifully with Redman’s rugged no-holds barred style. Time 4 Sum Aksion, Rated R and Watch Yo Nuggets are some of the most flavourful funk-filled feats one can devour from the early 90s. Time 4 Sum Aksion was Redman’s lead single from the LP and it doesn’t disappoint. Dropping a Cypress Hill sample as the chorus, Sermon delivers the funk while Redman raps as though he’s attempting to start a riot. Rated R shows off Redman’s incredible sense of humour as he raps about slaying slasher villains, tricking girls to leave him by claiming he has an STD and of course crushing those rival emcees. Watch Yo Nuggets is the pride and joy of the album, however. With Sermon jumping in shotgun, the two talents deliver one gorgeous extended verse each with only the sample of “When I come around, homeboy, watch yo nuggets,” being scratched up breaking up the verses. This is one of my all-time hip hop tracks. It appeared on almost every mixtape and CD I made as a teenager and will still pop up on my playlists.
There’s plenty of other dishes to sample in this buffet. Redman himself produces a couple of delectable tunes in Redman Meets Reggie Noble and How to Roll a Blunt. This really shows off his range as well as the former is a split personality parody while the latter is a hysterical oral instruction on, yes you guessed it, how to roll a marijuana cigar. Redman has never been known for his production, but it’s completely underrated. The beats he bangs out on this LP are sensational and he does an excellent job of giving himself a distinguished sound to rip over. He also gets an assist on the LP’s second single, Tonight’s Da Night, which was an underground anthem and is crafted together splendidly by Sermon and Redman.
The album’s wonderful blend of humour and hardcore make it an absolute must have for travel, especially with high-end headphones or your whip with bass blasting speakers. Select tracks can still make the cut for your house parties, but the personnel must be considered as the rugged rawness of that nasty Hit Squad sound in the early 90s is enough to send little boys and girls running home crying to their mommies and daddies. Yes, this album has attained cult status and while it’s rare to have a conversation with young hip hop fans and have them dishing out love to our boy Reggie Noble, you will attain instant street credit with Redman on your top ten emcees of all-time list. This is a list he won’t be a stranger to in many hardcore critical circles. If it weren’t for the annoying skits, some of the more dated tracks and a couple of duds, this album would be much higher on the list. It’s ceiling is top 15 material.
Album in a Minute: Redman is a legend and needs to be mentioned in any 90s hip hop conversation. This is the album that started a first ballot Hall of Fame career and the energy and unique flavour that perspires from it’s music should be enjoyed in the selective environment of your choice at least a couple times a year.
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