Artist: RedmanTitle: Red Gone Wild: Thee AlbumRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow
“Redman ready to rock rough rhymes, renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time.” So yeah, that bit of a verse from EPMD’s “Hardcore” (that’s was in 1990) should let the Papoose disciples know the upstart was a little late on the whole alphabet rhyme thing. Point being, Redman has been around a good minute, yet still doesn’t get enough due. Alas, on his long time coming sixth album, Red Gone Wild: Thee Album (Def Jam), Reggie Noble is back to his old tricks. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Redman kicking fresh lyrics is always a guaranteed deal. This go around, he makes you forget the phoned in affair that was Malpractice and gets back into Muddy Waters and Docs Da Name 2000 mode. You won’t find any diatribes on the weakness of today’s rappers or long-winded tales about how it’s hard out here for a veteran MC. Instead, he raps circles around the competition. On the Scott Storch produced, mimimalist groove that is “Freestyle Freestyle,” he quips “I get you dumb like white people looking for weird noise,” while on the Pete Rock produced horn bevy “Gimmie One,” he kicks, “Promoting Red Gone Wild with no backing, Doc get five on the mic like Joe Jackson.”
While the witty punchlines abound from Red’s end, the album’s beats keep you attentive to the hi-jinks. Besides the aforementioned producers, regulars like Erick Sermon (“Rite Now”) and Rockwilder (“How U Like Dat”) contribute heat with some pleasant surprises like Clark Kent (“Dis Is Brick City”) and Timbaland on the sprinting “Put It Down.” Watts should get more work shortly after producing the smooth, Bob Marley sampling jewel featuring Ready Roc and Method Man called-what else?-“Blow Treez.”
Red is still at his best when he’s having a good time on the mic and letting listeners in on the fun. That can be heard on the further exploits of “Soopaman Luva,” in two parts, or the stock sh*t talking on the Vitamin D produced “Pimp Nutz” or as he drops smooth bars over a lush Love Unlimited Orchestra sample on “Wutchoogonnado.” However, a number of Red’s Gilla House team of rappers aren’t quite ready for prime time. Icadon and Saukrates hold their own on “Get Em” but you can’t help but wait for the next MCs when listening to Blam, Runt Dog and Ready Roc on “Sumtn 4 Urrbody.” On the other hand, Gov Mattic shows promise with his appearance “How U Like Dat,” while Def Squad vets Keith Murray and Erick Sermon showcase a proper posse cut on “Walk In the Gutta.”
It is Red’s scene stealing presence, not his charity with the microphone, that has kept him a fan favorite all these years. Always one to nibble at the mainstream plate while keeping his underground following nourished, on Red Gone Wild: Thee Album Brick City’s native son is back to form and on the loose. But then again, when was he ever tame?