REDMAN Whut? Thee Album (RAL/Columbia, 1992)
Although known to the world as an unpredictable, skilled, and hilarious MC (and, more recently, a zany TV and movie actor), Redman came up in hip-hop as a DJ, around age 12. "I did the 'hood things," he says today. "I sold drugs, was out in the streets. But I always stayed with the music."
While DJing in clubs around his hometown of Newark, NJ, MCing was always in the back of Red's mind. He recalls: "I always kind of wanted to MC, but I really got into it when I heard EPMD and Biz Markie. I knew that I had that same energy inside me. Everybody else was more technical, but EPMD was more slow within their flow, natural."
As fate would have it, Redman met his idols in '91, at a Newark club called Sensations. DJing at the time for Newark MC Doitall (from Lords of the Underground), Redman stood in the back as his friends took turns freestyling for Erick and Parrish before the show, trying to impress the two, who had recently begun building their Hit Squad family. "My boys told erick I could rap, too, so E asked me to freestyle. I started spittin' and EPMD put me on stage that night." Shortly after bringing him on tour with them (he doubled as K-Solo's DJ), Erick and Parrish hit up Def Jam for a Redman LP deal. "After EPMD had put out Das EFX and K-Solo with Hit Squad, they pretty much had muthafuckas in the industry where they wanted them."
That album was mostly recorded at Charlie Marotta's North Shore Soundworks studio on Long Island. E Sermon oversaw the process, but Redman was left to figure out things on his own more often than not. "I was under a lot of pressure to learn," Redman remembers. "E showed me a couple [of recording] moves, threw me in the studio and just left me there. But I picked up shit real quick, and Erick was always around if I needed him."
After a couple of months in the lab, Redman emerged with a killer piece of wax that mixed loose-limbed humor and deeply funky beats lived up to the EPMD aesthetic while adding new layers to the Hit Squad sound. Released in September '92, the LP went gold behind hit singles "Blow Your Mind" and "Time 4 Sum Aksion."
The Sooperman Lover tells us how he freaked the funky fly stuff on his debut:
"Time 4 Sum Aksion"
That was the second single. After "Blow Your Mind," "Aksion" was much bigger. The video for that track was wild, man. We had guns in that video. I was getting electrocuted in an electric chair too. That was when hardcore videos started taking off, and the networks didn't know how to handle it.
That's the only cut on the album where I didn't do my own scratches. DJ Scratch [from EPMD] did the cuts on that track. There were a lot of stories on there. I learned the personality of rap from Slick Rick and KRS. Storytelling was definitely a pain in the ass for me. I had to work harder on that style.
"Rated 'R' "
I was a big horror movie fan, as you know from that song, so being in the Seed of Chucky movie [earlier in 2004] was great. I'm glad to be part of the Chucky thing.
"Blow Your Mind"
The part with the Korean translation [With the funky fly human being/Watch me freak it in Korean...] was done by Sophia Chang, who used to work at Jive Records. She's Korean and I asked her to write that part for me. I told her to talk about weed, women... [laughs]. You know, the shit that I do.
"Redman Meets Reggie Noble"
Reggie Noble is my name, and he was more in tune with the album itself. Redman was the name being sold, Redman was wilding out, doing what he wanted to do.
"How to Roll a Blunt"
That was Pete Rock on that one [he co-produced]. I used to go over to Pete Rock's house all the time and do beats with him. He's still hot, even today. Everybody was on my dick for that song, for showing people how to roll a blunt in a song.
-Brian Coleman, XXL (March '05)
I just copied all that shit straight from the magazine! Y'ALL BE GREATFUL!