Redman is, quite simply, one of Hip Hop’s finest performers. Every erratic move on stage is a calculated one, honed through nearly two decades of non-stop touring. But tonight is an especially personal performance. The artist some know as Reggie Noble is performing for his beloved Brick City. And, oh yes, he’s got Method Man with him (to say nothing of the fact that they’re opening for Snoop Dogg – so you know it’s a smoked-out affair). On-stage antics include crowd-surfing/walking, accepting – and smoking – blunts from the crowd, and a high-octane emceeing performance that shows why the two partners-in-rhyme are considered two of the best to ever do it – both on stage and in the booth. Suffice it to say, the five-hour drive through the harrowing traffic I-95 has to offer was more than worth it.
But tonight, I’m not simply a spectator in New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom. I’ve been honored with the opportunity to interview Redman himself. After a night of ridiculous setbacks including, but certainly not limited to, struggling to locate a press pass, then waiting outside of a tour bus for 45 minutes, I finally reach the man of the hour. Redman sits alone in the the back of his tour bus, housed in a small, but comfortable private room. Creature comforts include a Playstation 3 and a new copy of DJ Hero. Since it’s 1:30AM, easily two hours since the end of his set, I can only hope that my trip hasn’t been in vain. The road manager indicates Red, ever the hustler, is willing to sit down for a spell.
As I sit down, I see what many would expect: Redman with weed broken up on the table. But here’s what threw me for a loop: “Can I smoke on this?” asks Red, referring to the interview. It’s clear that even Redman’s favorite habit plays second fiddle to his career. As the interview proceeds, Redman is, at times, extraordinarily deliberate and precise with his responses, though not insincere. I suspect it’s these qualities that have allowed the greatest emcee to ever come out of Brick City to have such a long and storied career – in a game where veterans are all-too-often cast aside.
HipHopDX: First of all, congratulations on the success of Blackout! 2 and on an outstanding show.
Redman: Yes, thank you. Redman in the building!
DX: So how’s it going? How’s life?
Redman: Everything good. Blessed, I’m still living. We still got our arms and legs, we’re breathing. That’s enough for me.
DX: Now, before we get into the album, let’s talk Def Jam. Recently, Def Jam had its 25 year anniversary. As you were and are a big part of the label’s history, what can you say about its legacy?
Redman: [Pauses] Their legacy is…monumental. Their legacy painted a picture in Hip Hop. Definitely. I’m glad to be a part of that legacy. Their legacy is what all businesses, I would say, would want to take action in looking how they rose from the bottom to the top. This is like any business: whether you selling toupees, whether you selling records – whatever you’re doing, you want your business to grow. And their progress is definitely an outlook on what all business should take a look at – how they grow as a family. Now, just like any other business, you know, you always got an outcome at the end. But as far as their legacy, how they grew as a business and as a family, is monumental. I don’t think…I have never seen nothin’ like that before. To grow as a business…and have fun in doing it.
Click here to read the rest of the Redman feature on HIPHOPDX’s website.
Reggie Noble 9 ½ in stores December 8th!
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