Redman: Coming of Age Part One

For years, Redman was once regarded as the king of consistency with albums like Whut? Thee Album, Dare Iz a Darkside, Muddy Waters and Doc’s Da Name 2000. The New Jersey native blazed through the ’90s with a rap style that exuded lyricism, created mosh pits, caused laughter and even allowed b-boys to two-step on […]

For years, Redman was once regarded as the king of consistency with albums like Whut? Thee Album, Dare Iz a Darkside, Muddy Waters and Doc’s Da Name 2000. The New Jersey native blazed through the ’90s with a rap style that exuded lyricism, created mosh pits, caused laughter and even allowed b-boys to two-step on the dance floor. As the ’90s died out and the 2000s eased in, Redman the rapper saw himself shift into a multifaceted entertainer with several Hollywood roles to his credit, including movie How High (2001) and the ill-fated Method & Red TV series. Then came Malpractice, the 2001 album that sold well, but lost die-hard fans. Admittedly unfocused when it came out, Red returns with renewed purpose and a sense of maturity. After an incredible six year hiatus, read how read intends to take back the music as he – one of rap’s wildest characters – comes of age. What’s up, Red?

Redman: You know, it’s business too. You see some of the artists at Def Jam and what’s been going on with that. And some of them coming out with no video and these are my people. You know, with no promotion and then the album just goes to waste. I can’t afford that. You’re talking about Meth?

Redman: Yeah, and I don’t like what happened. I don’t know what kind of business was taken care of for that to happen, but I don’t want that to happen to me. That’s why I was like, “F**k it,” I’ll wait…I don’t want to get in the midst of s**t. It ain’t about no [albums] no more. It’s just about what’s going to get played on the radio. Ain’t that a b***h? You and Meth used to have the huge promo campaign with “The Month of the Man.” Redman: That was ‘94, n***a. Yeah, that’s when Hip-Hop was great. How do you feel about the changes?

Redman: Labels ain’t ready to build artists like they used to and that’s the simplicity of the whole s**t. Labels ain’t ready to go under the car, generate the motor to get the car to run. They want the car already made, furnished with radio play for them motherf**kers to get signed. From that kind of attitude, it brought it down to the artist, like [labels saying] “We need something fire from you, that’s undeniable, that we ain’t gotta work and s**t that’s already getting played…So that we ain’t got to do t hat underground work to push you up there.” Promotions like that been out the door. It’s like basically what we start up on our own. And, you know what? I’m willing to do that. I love it. That game must turn back around to gold – motherf**kers are happy going gold now. What I say on “Tonight’s da Night?” I’m just happy going gold. Now, it’s back to where I want it to be, n***a. You think Hip-Hop is going back to the essence? Once, the big money is out of the picture, you will get rid of the people that are only in it for the money. And, what’s left, are the people in it for the art. Redman: Well, all the get rich schemers out there will soon find out getting those one-hit wonders won’t take them far. They need artists that need to go for the five album, which is hard to find now. Back then, we bred super heroes. We had super hero names. Even before our time, there was EPMD, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Doug E. Fresh. You couldn’t copy those names. Even our era: Busta Rhymes, ODB, Method Man, Keith Murray, Redman, A Tribe Called Quest. Those kind of names were monumental. The names [now], not saying they not cool now, where…everybody is “young” or this and that, which is cool. I’ll never s**t on how the generation turned [out], because it’s our fault. And you gotta deal with it. It’s not super heroes being bred right now. There’s only artists that’s getting radio play and that’s it. Everybody’s trying to make an album full of singles. Everybody’s going to producers and producers want what? Your single. Because they want what? Your publishing. Ain’t no producer gonna give you no beat that’s just for the album. They trying to win. So with everybody trying to win like you said, where is the essence? Where is building the album like N.W.A.? Where are the little skits? Where is having a couple of songs that’s just representing you without partying, without moving, without a hook, without something catchy? Where are those songs at? Business done turned it around from losing its essence. Everybody knows that. When you got White people that knows that…even White people are like, “What the f**k is up with Hip-Hop?” It’s revolutionized. It’s turning around. This is what the young cats see is cool and they’re winning and their feeding their families. All I got to say is, if you’re tired of that, get in the game and make a mother f**kin’ difference. I ain’t gonna talk about it. I’m gonna walk these dogs and make a difference. Right, I get what you’re saying. Redman: So that’s how I look at it, man. Everybody stop having an attitude with each other, with the music and Down South. Down South is doing they thing, man. Let them bang out. And, y’all motherf**kin’ fans…y’all turned into the Apollo. Y’all motherf**kers don’t even know what’s real no more. The streets don’t even know what’s real no more. Everybody needs to turn their ears back on. What do you think of the internet? Redman: Great way to promote. I’m not on there constantly. You used to tour with Jay-Z and now he’s a boss at Def Jam. Some people – NORE, Meth, LL Cool J – have expressed “feelings” about the matter. Redman: All of them my people – I love ’em all – but I’ll be god damned if I sit around and let a man be the stoppage of my gwap [money]. I don’t care if its Jay-Z, Hay-Z. Don’t matter who the f**k he is. I love Jay-Z, he know it, they they know Def Jam only see me two times a year, ’cause I’m bout my business. When I drop an album, even when they not on their job, I’m on my job. I’ve already accepted what the game is. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. You gotta take over, everybody is a boss. NORE’s a boss. Meth is a boss. I’m a boss. LL is a boss. Jay a boss and when bosses come together, we gotta come together to the table right. Do you talk to them about the album? Redman: They always getting at me for the album. They always ready for me to drop my work and, yeah, basically it was up to me to get them the right s**t for them to pump. They want big for their artists. Now, we heard a version of the album in a listening party a while back and we’ve heard singles like “Rush the Security.” This is like a year ago. Redman: “Rush the Security” was kinda something we rushed into and I was glad that they gave me the opportunity to say, “This is what we gonna do.” It was a bad move on my part, because it was never really something that was going to introduce me the correct way. It was a cool single, but it was just as far as it was gonna go. I’ma take every move I make seriously now. I’ma watch what I do and I’m not gonna put no bullsh**t out there. You said something interesting. You said, “introduce me.” It has been about six years since Malpractice came out. Do you feel like you have to reintroduce yourself to the newer era? Redman: Sorta, yeah. With music, yeah, because you know even when I came off tour, they still know all my old s**t. It’s a new era now and even with my fans that are my age and s**t – they’re grown now. I’m not looking at it like I’m trying to compete with these young kids out here. The young cats is feeding themselves and that is great. I love it. It’s just the point, on my term, I have to start speaking at a “growner” level now. I still wild out a lil’ bit, but my s**t is more heavier now, because I’m running with a pack. Gillahouse. When I was doing Muddy Waters and all that, it was just Redman – Redman entity. I got artists that I’m introducing and it’s an entity I’m bringing out now. It’s a different package now. You have a kid or two now, right? Redman: I got four kids. How is that? Redman raising kids. Redman: Its great, because you know what? I waited till I had kids till I was like 27. I ain’t have kids when I was 21. I was doing my thing. You gotta think to yourself, “You’re successful. Why wouldn’t you want your kids [ to see that success].” I wanted to be young going to school with my kids. You can’t be having kids at 35 and expect when he’s 16 and you gonna be dilly dallying. Nah! You gonna be an old ass parent. Just like when I go take my kids to school or visit them at their boy scouts or whatever. Some of them parents be grown as hell driving busses and s**t, mustaches be everywhere. I be young as hell in there. I like my kids to see what I’m doing so they can get the influence and maybe want to get into pursuing something. I heard you were married. Redman: Nah, I ain’t married. Meth was married. Everybody knew that though. You said you will be more mature on Red Gone Wild. That’s almost hard to imagine.

Redman: Well, it’s like, it’s like…I’ll put it to you like this. I ain’t gonna be talking about a whole lotta…What I really talk bout is the same thing – smoking. Getting your business time. I’m in the hood. How I handle my work in the studio…I’m tight on my flows…and telling these muthaf**kas I’m not a gangsta. Why do you stress that? Redman: Because I’m not a gangsta. I know what a real gangsta is. I might be accepted in doing gangsta things, but I ain’t no gangsta. Don’t get it twisted. I will do what I have to do if you f**k with my family or f**k with my plate of food. That’s [the case] with any man. That’s just grown responsibility and I don’t that being a gangsta has anything to do with that. Real gangstas do real gangsta s**t. You can’t be seen doing no gangsta s**t. You can’t be doing no TV, you can’t be on camera..,I’m far from a gangsta. I’m just a working father. I say, “The blood of a father rides twice as harder” because I got something to live for. I got something to lose.