Redman is hip hop’s most adroit auteur.
He constructed his brand new album, Reggie [Def Jam], with a deft attention to detail that’s more befitting of a filmmaker than a rhyme slinger. As a result, it’s his best album and the rap event of 2010. In fact, Reggie ebbs and flows like a big budget studio flick—there’s action, suspense, drama and even a little romance for the ladies. However, Redman’s impenetrable rapping guides the entire vision. He’s clever, catchy and cunning, dropping prophetic street wisdom on “Mic, Lights, Camera, Action” in one breath and then referencing Step Brothers during the “Intro” in another. This is Redman at his most raw and real. Meet Reggie…
Redman sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about the road to Reggie, his favorite horror movies, the plan for Blackout! 3 with Method Man , directing and so much more…
Did you have one vision for Reggie from the beginning? Or, did it come together one song at a time in the studio?
It came together song by song. There was no vision. It actually started off as a fucking mixtape. I engineered Blackout! 2, and I was doing a mixtape in between there. It just started coming out as an album though. I had some good songs that had original beats, and I thought, “Wow, why am I going to just waste these on a mixtape to giveaway? Let me start put something to it.” The album started forming that way.
Do you feel like you were on a creative hot streak?
Absolutely! When I wrote Blackout! 2, I was writing Reggie as well. I balanced that ’90s feel on the Red and Meth album to this new feel on Reggie. When I was writing, I had to keep that balance. I didn’t want simply do a whole lot of new shit on the Red and Meth album as far as music goes because we were going after a feel on that.
On Blackout! 2, you were hearkening back to that old school vibe, whereas on Reggie you could go into a new space.
Yes, Reggie is about going out of that box.
How do you feel like you made it out of that box?
You know what? I’m going to tell you what the fuck really happened in that state. I learned how to engineer. I learned how to record myself, lay it down, fuck with it and do what the fuck I want. When you’ve got that kind of freedom, you go in the studio with no opinions. I’m in there by myself, and I’m doing what the fuck I want. It’s always great to work by yourself when you’re doing a job like this. You have a good engineer there, but you typically ask him, “How does that sound? Do you like that?” This way, my engineer respects doing my own work because he comes there and does the work I can’t do. When I record, I have such freedom now. From this album, I want people to get growth. That’s it. There’s no alter ego, personality or none of that shit. There’s just good music and growth.
There’s growth, but you still preserve the identity you’ve always had.
I try not to lose you too much. I try to keep it funky and in that area.
What’s the story behind “Lemme Get 2″?
Well, Rich Kid did the beat. I also really wanted to introduce my artists on there like Saukrates , Ready Roc , Runt Dog and Melanie. I wanted them to have a song that wasn’t just a “keep it real” song. Sometimes, an artist will simply be on a crew record or something. I didn’t just want to do that. Ready Roc and I did a song. Then Saukrates and I did a song. Saukrates is very authentic with his music. He’s got an album done by the way. When his album comes out, you’ll hear why he and I came up with “Lemme Get 2″. I wanted something different that would stand out. That’s how it happened.
You reference every movie from Avatar to Step Brothers. Are you a big movie fan?
Yeah! That’s just me. I watch a lot of movies, and I go off of shit I see. Sometimes, I don’t even know I’m doing it [Laughs]. I love a lot of stuff from movies. I’ve been on the road since I was 18-years-old. Living the fast life, I learned a lot of my morals and shit from TV shows and movies. I’m not going to lie…
What are some of your favorite movies?
Some of my favorites of all time are Bachelor Party and Animal House. I’m a horror flick fan too. I know my horror flicks. Suspiria was one of the first horror flicks I ever saw. That’s one of my favorites! I love movies like Bustin’ Loose with Richard Pryor. I’ve got a whole lot. I can’t even go through it because it seems like I’m cheating myself if I say a couple.
Suspiria is a personal favorite. That definitely freaked me out the first time I saw it.
Didn’t it?! My mother took me to see that when I was like ten! She fucked me up at that age seeing that shit [Laughs]. I’m looking for this other movie called The Brood. Remember that shit? It came out back then with Suspiria. It’s about the bitch that was having the little monster babies! I’m looking for that fucking movie [Laughs].
There was something so evil about Suspiria.
It’s so fucking wicked in that house! Suspiria has also got the woman that was in Animal House! When the lady came through the fucking chandelier and she was getting stabbed by the knife in the beginning, that shook the shit out of me! It was raining constantly outside too in the movie. I’ll tell you what else did it for me—the fucking music! Remember that shit that kept playing and playing? It’s crazy, man! I’ve got the DVD. I have to watch it all the way through again. When the monster was in the bed, it’s scary shit! Rosemary’s Baby is great too. The Exorcist and the new cut are both awesome as well. That scares the shit out of me to this day. Blood Beach came out back then too. Remember Blood Beach?
I haven’t seen it!
You didn’t see Blood Beach?! Get out of here! When the sand was sucking people up underneath, it’s terrifying! You have to see it. That came out around the time of The Brood. I’m looking for those!
Was “Reggie (Intro)” a freestyle?
No, I wrote it like a freestyle because it has no hooks. Sha Money gave me the beat. He’s a great VP by the way. He was A&R-ing beats before he got on it, and he has a great ear for beats. I had an intro already, but with the way the album was sounding, the intro I had was more Muddy Waters. I might put it on a Muddy Waters joint. The current intro is the perfect introduction to some new shit. That’s the way I look at it.
“Tiger Style Crane” is the perfect way to cap everything off after the rest of the album.
I’m glad you said that! That’s what I looked it as. If you we were still missing something album, there you go. It takes it back to the streets right there. That’s the ending of it. You can’t say nothing. It gave you all elements.
The album goes to outer space, to the clubs and then back to the streets.
Absolutely! I’m glad you got that visual.
If you were to compare Reggie to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Good fucking question! I like questions that make me think [Laughs]. I want to give you a good answer for that one. I usually think of movies when I’m doing this shit. I would compare it to something that moves fast like Snatch <http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/movies/title/0,,2216017,00.html> . That’s an excellent movie put together from beginning to end. Reggie could be The Other Guys <http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/movies/title/0,,5001958,00.html> because playing cops is something that’s out of the box for Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. For The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson to be together was pretty genius too. Samuel L. Jackson played it both ways as far as being dramatic and funny. The Rock is definitely funny, and it was hilarious to see them teaming up. That was something new for all of those guys. That’s how I look at the album as The Other Guys!
Why did you call this album