Artist: RedmanTitle: Ill At Will Mixtape Vol. 2: Straight Outta Lo-CashRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Low-Key Heinzelman
It has been four long years since Redman’s last album Malpractice, and the clock keeps ticking away. With his situation at Def Jam not looking too pleasant at the moment, Redman decided to keep everyone’s mouths wet with his Ill At Will Mixtape series. Just as Vol. 1 did, the second edition in the series combines the usual assortment of freestyles and new tracks. However, unlike most mixtapes, Ill At Will Vol. 2: Straight Outta Lo-Cash (Gilla House) is an album with solid replay value due to new songs that are actually worth hearing.
While part of Redman’s time off the past four years may have been spent making sitcoms instead of new albums, Ill At Will Vol. 2 is proof that Funk Doctor Spot hasn’t lost a step. Red is the same as he ever was on Straight Outta Lo-Cash with witty wordplay and stankin’ attitude. The awkward and choppy keys on “I’m High As Fuck” may not be the type of production fans are dying to hear, but Red’s superb lyrical talent is enough to overcome such obstacles. It is just great to hear Redman hungry again, no matter the questionable beat selection. Red remains in this form throughout the mixtape, especially on the vintage club anthem “Turn Dat Shit Up”, as he takes the listener all around the Garden State, from Newark to Paterson. However, while Jersey is always going to be Redman’s home, he journeys over to NYC in search of some weed on “G.W. Bridge”. The gritty track features a funky reggae vocal sample, which combines with hard-hitting drums and police sirens for a trip down the back blocks of Uptown and Harlem world.
With no new album in site, Ill At Will Vol. 2: Straight Outta Lo-Cash is as close to new Redman material as you are going to get. The mixtape is a reminder that even though he maybe on the shelf at Def Jam, it is not because his talent has deteriorated.