April 8, 2007

Redman - Whut? Thee Album (September 22, 1992)

Reggie Noble's debut album, Whut? Thee Album, is surprising in that it actually moved units, selling gold in a time when nobody really gave a fuck about the East Coast. He was discovered by EPMD and provided guest shots on a couple or their albums, before unleashing this on the public. This future founding member of the Def Squad (along with Erick Sermon and Keith Murray) proves that he has the talent and tenacity to make a cohesive album, as opposed to a random collection of shitty songs.

I hadn't heard this CD in a while, so I found two more things equally surprising. First of all, Reggie's flow sounds an awful lot like Erick Sermon impersonating Redman. Second, Redman actually produced or co-produced almost every single song on here, something he most certainly doesn't do anymore.

Back in 1992, Def Jam seemed to care a little bit about their artists, as they didn't yet have a president who only worried about what his own next single should be. Redman seems to have been given complete creative freedom, judging by the extensive samples and ridiculous skits this album is comprised of. Your spirit dies a little bit inside when you realize that Reggie Noble doesn't have this kind of pull at his own label anymore; hence, Red Gone WIld.

Nevertheless, Redman is one of the best rappers period, and I'm sure at least one of my two readers will back me up on this fact.

1. PSYCHO WARD
Redman's weakness has always been the sheer number of stupid skits that he puts on his albums, and the trend started here. The Dr. Trevis character that seems to survive from album to album debuts here.

2. TIME 4 SUM AKSION
Probably the most popular song here, and it samples an even more popular Cypress Hill song, in this case "How I Could Just Kill A Man". This song still knocks, though.

3. DA FUNK
It's weird; I know that Redman is rapping, because some of the nimble wordplay resembles what he does now. But when I hear this album, I picture Erick Sermon doing karaoke.

4. NEWS BREAK
Another skit. Kinda frustrating in that this skit interrupts the last song mid-sentence.

5. SO RUFF
The samples used on this song are more interesting than the final product.

6. RATED "R"
This voice thing is really taking me out of the album experience.

7. WATCH YO NUGGETS (FEAT ERICK SERMON & CHARLIE MAROTTA)
Erick Sermon featuring himself. Who knows who the hell Charlie Marotta is.

8. PSYCHO DUB
...

9. JAM 4 U
"This is for motherfuckers who talk that sellout shit"?? Dude, you had a sitcom on Fox, of all channels!

10. BLOW YOUR MIND
Really, really dated.


11. HARDCORE
Produced by both Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith of EPMD. Surprisingly, the beat isn't all that great, at least until Red stops rhyming.

12. FUNKY UNCLES
Funny title, sure, but it's still a fucking skit.

13. REDMAN MEETS REGGIE NOBLE
I like it when rappers rhyme with themselves in the booth (see: Biggie's "Gimme The Loot").

14. TONIGHT'S DA NIGHT
The second most popular song on this set. Still sounds good, even with the false start.

15. BLOW YOUR MIND (REMIX)
Both the original and this remix are very meh.

16. I'M A BAD
"If you can't hear me, then my record label didn't push me." Truer words were never spoken (see again: Red Gone Wild). Hilarious interlude involving Red doing Miami bass shit somewhere in the middle.

17. SESSED ONE NIGHT
...

18. HOW TO ROLL A BLUNT
One of the best rap song titles ever. Co-produced by Pete Rock, which would actually mean something to those of you who actively seek out "real" hip hop instead of listening to G-Unit and Dipset "battle" back and forth.

19. SOOPER LUVER INTERVIEW
...

20. A DAY OF SOOPERMAN LUVER
And yet another recurring character was born. Le sigh...

21. ENCORE
Really more of a reprise of "Blow Your Mind (Remix)".

FINAL THOUGHTS: Whut? Thee Album is an okay enough debut from a very promising artist, someone who actually has skills and is fucking hilarious (those who caught that episode of MTV's Cribs know of which I speak). Listening to this album, though, has just reinforced the idea that hip hop music seems to be utterly disposable, unlike other genres, whose catalog titles still sell thousands of copies a year (I see you, Pink Floyd). That's a very depressing thought to end on, especially since I love hip hop, so I'll just stop here.

BUY OR BURN? Tough call. Diehard Reggie fans who don't have this for some reason should buy this quickly. Everyone else, such as those who only know Redman as "the other guy" from How High, should download it and give it a test drive. This is some old-school shit, and it shows in the beats (nobody samples this much anymore).

BEST TRACKS: "Time 4 Sum Aksion"; "Tonight's Da Night"; "Hardcore"

-Max

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6 comments:

  1. Buy, Buy, Buy.....lol...i love this album..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Erick Sermon featuring himself. Who knows who the hell Charlie Marotta is.
    Whaaat!??
    Get your game up my man. If your going to have the balls to critique some one who does something that you most likely could never measure up to. At least gain a bit of knowledge behind what you are talking about. Charlie Marotta is a legend. The Reason why Hip Hop is Relevant.

    Thank you,
    Check me out @ www.WHOISXZEL.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. i love redman...thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  4. max haven't you noticed that redman's verse in Hardcore and the beat was in the 1990 EPMD album, Business As Usual, redman's verse was his debut verse

    ReplyDelete
  5. AnonymousMay 18, 2011

    this album is just classic

    ReplyDelete
  6. AnonymousJune 01, 2014

    Ahhh.

    Back when Redman actually cared...

    Alas, He delivered 3 back to back classics.

    I like to imagine that some greasy teen's head exploded hearing this shit.

    Looking directly at you, Soulja Boy fans.

    ReplyDelete