Last Friday (December 3), HipHopDX spoke with legendary emcee/producer/actor Redman at Def Jam's New York offices. Slouched in a leather chair with his black Nikes resting on the pool table in what Red called "the Jay-Z room," the emcee spoke to DX about his just-released album, Reggie and well as his decision to create a sequel to his 1996 effort, Muddy Waters.
Many fans are noting Red's decision to break from his traditional Erick Sermon and Rockwilder-produced Funk base on past albums for more R&B and Electronic-tinged tones on Reggie. Asked about what he's experimenting with his sound after 18 years, Redman explained, "I've got artists to take care of. I'm not naive to the game [and] I'm definitely not a sore veteran rapper," as far as changing trends. The emcee once mentored by EPMD, who now guides Gilla House, pointed to the luxurious room at his label and said, "But I want to be a boss. I want to be a Lyor Cohen." As far as the bold musical changes, Red revealed that it was not label-directed, as some have stated. "This shit right here started out as a mixtape. I was doing the [Redman & Method Man Blackout! 2 album], engineering it, and I was doing a mixtape at that time. It ended up an album."
Within that Gilla House clique is an artist familiar to underground Hip Hop fans in Saukrates. The Toronto, Ontario-based emcee/prouducer/singer appeared on Reggie's "Lemme Get 2" and "Full Nelson." Asked about their relationship, Red explained, "I met Saukrates a while ago...I heard his tapes [first]," referring to 1997's The Brick House and 1999's The Underground Tapes, which featured Common, Xzibit and O.C. Redman continued, "I got real familiar with his music and what he was doin' up there in Canada and I liked the movement they got up there, that whole Circle movement. If you do your homework on Saukrates, you'll see where Drake came from, as far as singing and rapping at the same time." The two began working on albums together for Red's 2001 effort, Malpractice, where Sauk produced "Uh-Huh." "When I put Saukrates on, he had an album out - that they're very familiar with in Canada, he's got a fan-base up there. He wasn't with a team, besides The Circle, but I knew he needed that pull. He's still reaching for that too. He needs distribution. He has a hot album with Universal Canada, but we're tryin' to get him [exposed] down here in the states." Redman hopes to change that domestic recognition as be brands Gilla House in coming years.
Another element of Redman's future is his sequel to beloved 1996 album, Muddy Waters. HipHopDX asked Redman why that album, as his first three albums: Whut? Thee Album, Dare Iz A Darkside and Muddy Waters are often debated among fans as their favorite. "Because [Muddy Waters] was one of my pivotal albums, in branching from that darkness of Dare Iz A Darkside," explained a candid Red. "I was doing a lot of drugs on Dare Iz A Darkside. I have chicks that come up to me and say, 'Yo, Dare Iz A Darkside is my favorite fuckin' album, ever.' I swear, I have not played Dare Iz A Darkside damn near since I did it. Seriously! I was so lost, I was so fucked up during that album."
Looking back to the November of 1994 album that lived up to its name, Redman was asked if the musical outcome was intended during the creative process. "Come on, I produced some of that shit on that album. I was wylin' back then. I ain't care, I was wylin'."
As news of Muddy Waters 2 has already dominated websites and blogs, Redman clarified that the album's importance may change the title. "Muddy Waters is the one that branched me out from that darkness to the light and started gettin' me to where I was. Plus, I have more concepts on there too, so that was [why]. I probably won't even call it Muddy Waters 2, 'cause that's a classic, I'll probably call it...Muddy Waters...Even Muddier."
Redman Presents...Reggie is in stores now.