I have to give Vibe magazine their respect. They have been putting it down when it came to giving alot of golden era artists the platform to discuss their mindsets whenever they were recording their classic albums. Its also interesting to hear the back stories behind creating some of the most timeless music to date. This feature is on the original hip hop funkadelic himself Redman. Anybody thats a real fan of hip hop should enjoy this and once again THANK YOU VIBE for taking the time to post this!
“It all started at this club called Sensations, which was one of the biggest hip-hop clubs in New Jersey. Everybody went to it on Friday and Saturday…even out-of-towners went there. I was Djing for DoItAll of Lords Of The Underground at the time and this was in 1990. I was cutting everybody’s record from Rakim to Big Daddy Kane and I rapped on the side. So, MC Lyte was supposed to perform one night and I was going to stay home [because I had something to do.] But they told me, ‘Nah, man. Come out.’ We went down there and Lyte ended up canceling and EPMD performed. Now when I first heard EPMD’s first joint ‘You Gots to Chill‘ and later ‘So Whatcha Sayin’?’ I said, ‘I can do this!’ Right before they performed we went to the back room and talked to them. And one of the Dj’s told EPMD, ‘Yo, he’s a DJ, but he spits too.’ So they asked me to spit and ten minutes later I’m onstage with EPMD rapping!’
My boys are looking at me like what the fuck is this nigga doing? [laughs]. What is going on with this kid right here?’ Erick Sermon says, ‘Yeah, this is my new artist coming out.’ And I stopped and looked at him onstage like, ‘ Are you serious, nigga? I actually walked into this shit?!!!’ The ill part about this is I was letting my boy handle the business. At the end of the show, we went to the back of the dressing room where E was giving me his number. My hand goes to meet his hand but my boy’s hand comes in between and gets the number. But I’m like, ‘Cool.’ Because he was handling my business. But let me tell you something. Within that moment that the number was being passed I saw the paper and memorized the last seven digits. I figured the area code was Long Island.
So because my boy tells me he has the number I stepped back because I’m that kind of nigga. I know how to play my position…he’s handles the business, I handle the music. So the first week I didn’t even ask him if he called EPMD. But after a couple of weeks, I’m like, ‘Did you call them?’ And he’s like, ‘No.’ A couple of days pass by and he tells me he called EPMD but he didn’t get an answer yet. This goes on for months. And then he tells me he lost the number! So I ended up calling Erick myself and I didn’t get an answer. I finally reached Erick’s mom, but he was on tour. I’m like, ‘This is Doc from Jersey. Could you tell Erick to call me back?’ I finally reach E and he’s like, ‘Yo…what the fuck! We were waiting for you to call.’ He told me to come to Long Island and I ended up staying with the nigga for three years [laughs]. When I appeared in EPMD’s ‘Hardcore’ song and video that was just crazy. Def Jam had these little virals back then on VHS tape. Q-Tip was another very important person to my career. He had me in A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Scenario’ video when I was first coming out. Niggas in the ‘hood couldn’t believe it. It was amazing to me.”
Whut? Thee Album (1992)
“My first impression when I was working on Whut? Thee Album is that I had to stand out. I’m coming from the [the Hit Squad camp] of EPMD, K-Solo, and then Das EFX, who did a million back then, which was incredible. So I was like, ‘Yo, what do I have to give?’ The thing with me is I wasn’t just doing it for the money. I’m contributing to the world good music because I feel like my music could help somebody in a certain way whether it’s negative or not. So how can I get this point across my way and stand out? The music that played a big part of my life was Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Parliament Funkadelic…but it was also NWA, Ice Cube, KRS-One, and Slick Rick. I had a lot of info to give out. So that’s why I was one of the first dudes on the East Coast hitting them with those skits and that real funk. I was able to adapt to the East Coast and the West Coast because I was listening to everybody.
I had that knowledge of the West Coast feel and the East Coast feel. And I brought that lyricism. But I was also bringing a new era of [weed hip-hop] to the table. It was just what I did. Even though me and Method Man are stars we don’t promote weed; we just let people know that we smoke it. But the fans have to know that we probably lost out on a lot of endorsements because we smoke weed. But even if I knew that back then, I still would have been smoking. As far as creating that whole Dr. Trevis character for the album, that was an alter ego. It was something different that I thought was funny to me. And I’m not going to lie…I was doing a lot of motherfucking drugs back then [laughs]. I was a young cat and I was wilding. I didn’t have any kids until I was 27. I remember shooting the video for ‘Time For Sum Akshen.’ It was incredible. Back then we had real guns in our videos heavy [laughs]. And it was cool to show them.
The idea back then was more on a mental level, not just a show-and-tell level like it is now where I have to show you my jewels or I have to show you my car. Back then, it was about who is the wildest? Who got the wild rap style? Who has the wild hair? Who got the bangers in the video? That’s how you knew you were straight up hood about your whole outlook. Big up to DJ Twinz. Them boys were riding with me from day one and they definitely put me on hard shit as far as New York is concerned. Because them boys were banging out [in Brooklyn]. I’m not a thug [laughs]. I let everybody know that. I ain’t no killer. I love my mama and your mama.
But I definitely ran with some wild boys. So you had to be wild back then to be going from set to set and city to city like we did. I loved it. ‘Tonight’s da Night’ featured a great sample, but I never looked at the record as a real lyrical song like some of those other tracks. I looked at it like something I was having fun on and that was different. I got some records on there that I really like and that are really lyrical. ‘Watch Yo Nuggets’…on that one me and E were going at it. He had that George Clinton ‘Atomic Dog’ in there and we really went at it. And I liked ‘I’m a Bad,’ which was also lyrical. Those are some of my favorites from that album.”
Dare Iz A Darkside (1994)
“On this album I was still definitely doing some drugs [laughs]. But there was a real chemistry with me and E. I got into it more on the production side on Dare Iz A Darkside. It was my idea to do the Funkadelic album cover (which was a nod to Funkadelic’s classic 1971 work Maggot Brain). But the overall darkness just came from something different I wanted to do with Dr. Trevis. I was living in a real dark world at that time. I was doing a lot of acid and I was seeing shit [laughs].
As far as E goes, he kind of let me go in and do what I wanted to do for the album. A lot of women hit me about that goddamn album. They tell me Dare is one of their favorite albums which is the weirdest shit to me. I don’t even do ‘Can’t Wait’ at my shows today. I know that’s horrible, right? I suck. I need to be doing that shit. In fact, I hardly do anything off of Dare Iz A Darkside. I think the reason why is because it reminds me of a darker time in my life. It was a weird time. When that record went gold I was like, ‘Damn…are you serious?’
“Muddy Waters is my album! I came into the light on this one. I left some of those drugs alone and started smoking more weed and I was in the gym. I had a kid and I started to slow down. So I was getting grown on this album, finding myself and getting more in-tuned with the rap game. ‘Whatever Man’ is one of those fan favorites. I love doing that one live. I do ‘Sooperman Luva 3’ here and there. I picked that up from my mentors EPMD who had their own [reoccurring song] ‘Jane.’ I thought it would be cool if I had a continuous story I rapped about on each album. ‘Sooperman Luva’ just ended up being one of those songs. And I always do ‘Pick It Up.’ Those are the records motherfuckers be bumping to.”
El Nino–Def Squad (Erick Sermon, Redman, and Keith Murray, 1998)
“I don’t think ‘Full Cooperation’ was a weird song at all. E was producing the entire record so he was very in-tuned with what was going on as far as the sounds in the street. And that sound at that time was those drums that Pharrell was coming out with on NORE’s shit. ‘Full Cooperation’ just fit right in at that time. It represented Def Squad. It wasn’t too commercial. We had fun doing the video, which was a parody on different movies. We loved it. I think Keith Murray is an MC is underrated. And he’s my boy and he’s working on new shit.
The only thing people can say about Murray is his attitude was [very strong]…but you just got to get to know him. Honestly, recording El Nino was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had doing an album, besides Muddy Waters. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but the original El Nino didn’t sound like it does today. There was maybe one skit on it. E did his job, turned it in to the label, but me and Murray listened to it and thought while we had some good songs on there, the sequence was off. We took that album the day it was supposed to get mastered and did all the skits in one day, edited them, and sequenced the album. We turned that album back around to be a hot seller.”
Doc’s Da Name 2000 (1998)
“Back then, I thought I could go platinum. I thought I could reach that shit. But honestly, gold was fine for me. But when Doc’s da Name went platinum I was like, ‘Oh shit! I can do this!’ I tired to treat the album like I was doing Muddy Waters, but with new kind of music. It worked out for me. When I drop a song like ‘Da Goodness’ (featuring Busta Rhymes) in a live show it comes on like it was in a club. People go crazy when that song comes on. This was also the time I was on the Hard Knock Life tour. Before this, me and Method Man were already cool. We figured each other out during the Month of the Man promotional campaign that Def Jam was doing.
That was one of the greatest promotional tours ever on Def Jam. It was a very smart tour. So me and Meth were in-tuned before the Hard Knock Life tour. Being on that tour, there was a connection with everybody. Everybody was one even though we went onstage at different times. We got the chance to let Jay-Z and a DMX, who was huge back then as well, to see how Meth and I got down. We were coming onstage way early with motherfuckers were placing the chairs up. Yet we still got heavy reviews like, ‘Red and Meth has one of the best shows on that tour.’ It was a good connection. We got to sit in each other’s dressing room and see where each other’s head was it from Ja Rule to Jay-Z to DMX…just going state to state and being a unit. That just brought my crew and Meth’s crew more closer. That’s what led to the Blackout album.”
Blackout!–Redman and Method Man (1999)
“The success of the Blackout album and the chemistry between me and Meth is something we can’t explain. If you had a duo or group like us it would have been broken up a long time ago because of huge egos. I think the chemistry between us is we don’t have an ego. We are not trying to beat one another. We are out to make good music and we both basically have the same type of background. How did ‘Da Rocwilder’ come about? You have to understand that me and [producer] Rocwilder are brothers. I know his mom and he knows my mom. K-Solo brought him to me because he wanted me to meet this new producer. This was before the Dare Iz A Darkside album. From there, we stayed in touch. People became more familiar with Rocwilder after the Jay-Z song he did (“Do It Again-Put Ya Hands Up”).
We started working on some songs and on one of them I said, ‘Let’s name this one ‘Da Rockwilder.’ This was very big to him and to me. He was a dude I was helping to get on and I finally had something to say, ‘Hey, this is your pocket, man…go!’ I named the record after him and it turned out to be huge. When you are able to go solo and make money and come back as a unit and make money like Meth and me, why would you want to fuck that up? People saw that in Hollywood and they liked our personality. The thing about Hollywood is they are not going to come looking for you. They been having that shit going since the beginning of time. So for us to be coming into Hollywood like we did it had to be because of our personalities. They really dug us. We wasn’t afraid to smile and we wasn’t doing all that thuggish, stupid shit. And that led to us doing the How High movie. When we did that we got a whole new fan base from that film. They saw the love that we had for the music. We have always been for the people.”
Part II coming up!