The crowd cheers Trifekta to first place (c)Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Photofiles

Redman has jumped off of stages and into crowds – and off of airplanes into clouds. It’s that kind of recklessness and willingness to take extreme risks that has enabled the New Jersey rhymer to sustain a wild rap career that has lasted nearly 20 years.

“It’s like my personality in the music,” says Redman during an interview from Def Jam Records’ New York office. Redman’s seventh album, Redman Presents…Reggie, was released on Tuesday. “It allows me to branch off into any area that I want because I’m open,” he continues. “I could be your hardest asshole and I can be the easiest guy to get along with. That’s what my music is. I have people music. I don’t just have, ‘OK, I’m a thug. I can’t smile.’ Or, ‘Fuck that. I don’t do that X Games bullshit.’ I don’t have that kind of look. I have the kind of look like, ‘Hey. I like that guy. He smokes. He pays his bills. He steps in his pants one leg at a time just like we do,’ and that’s the feel and the vibe that I give off to people, so when I do things like the X Games or a Gillette commercial people see me and be like, ‘Wow. Look at this dude,’ not, ‘What the fuck is he in there for?’ It was like, ‘Yeah, well, why not?’ It’s just his personality.”

Redman’s larger than life personality shines through Redman Presents…Reggie. He teams with DJ Kool for the animated boast-fest “That’s Where I Be” and drops several laugh-inducing rhymes on the vivid “Tiger Style Crane.”

Though the funk-based production that was the signature of his earlier albums is absent on Redman Presents…Reggie, one long-running constant appears: a song dedicated to his love for marijuana. It’s a passion he’s been documenting since “How To Roll A Blunt,” which appeared on his spectacular debut album, 1992’s Whut? Theee Album. The Funk Doc’s latest ode to the sticky green is “Lite 1 Witcha Boi,” which features fellow tokers Method Man and Bun B.

“Because me and Meth and groups like Cypress Hill, we’re for the marijuana movement.”

Redman and His Love for Weed

For Redman, making weed songs remains vital. “Because me and Meth and groups like Cypress Hill, we’re for the marijuana movement,” he says. “We’re not just on the record saying we’re high smoking. That’s played out. That’s what the new cats do. There’s a movement going on. There’s laws being passed and I can actually say I was right there on the frontline before it actually started happening. So when I do songs about marijuana, even if it’s one song on my album about marijuana, it’s for the movement. It’s for the pot smokers because they expect that.”

Few expected Redman’s collaborations with some of pop’s biggest stars, though. His appearances on “Dirrty” with Christina Aguilera and the “Get The Party Started” remix with Pink, for instance, may have been considered risky moves to some, but not Redman. For one, he brought his typical Grade-A lyricism to each appearance. Secondly, he’s a music fan, not just a rap fan.

“I’m worldwide music,” he says. “Aguilera did a song that fed from a song I did with Rockwilder called ‘Let’s Get Dirty.’ She did the beat over, just with an R&B feel. It’s like, ‘Why not be a part of that?’ When I do songs with other people that’s not rap, that’s in the pop field or whatever, I don’t look at it as just me crossing over. I look at it as me bringing that underground intelligence to their fans. You’ve got to let their fans know as well that there’s underground music going on, and that was my mission. This hip-hop is not just a rap career. It’s a movement. We’ve got to keep this shit going the correct way, so I feel as though I had to introduce the underground feel, like ‘Who’s that with Christina? Who is Redman? Well, he had albums and he did How High,’ and then they go back and read up on that and they fuck around and be like, ‘Yeah, I like him.’ Then they’re a new fan of mine now. I’m just grabbing her fans. That’s all.”

Notable Redman Collaborations

  • Method Man
  • Pink
  • Christina Aguilera
  • De La Soul
  • Dru Hill
  • Missy Elliott
  • EPMD
  • Keith Murray
  • Aaron Hall

It’s that level of confidence that allows Redman to remain rooted in his core musical principles: delivering elite-level lyrics, pushing himself creatively and not being afraid to try new things and be himself in his music. The latter, of course, includes heavy doses of humor, even while many other rappers maintain ice grills 24/7.

We like to smile.  We like to have fun.  But we’re fucking dead serious and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“It’s not even a way of just trying to be funny,” he says. “It’s just adding personality. Everybody’s so fucking hard. Get the fuck out of here with that. Where’s the game about being fun? This hip-hop game is not just about sorrows and blues and what the fuck you went through. People like to have fun. People like to listen to hip-hop and have fun, as well. That’s why I bring that aspect of the game in. I want to keep that feeling of fun in it. Keith Murray has a saying for Def Squad. ‘We’re dead serious even though we’re smiling.’ We like to smile. We like to have fun. But we’re fucking dead serious and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Experience Redman's personality and humor with long time colleague Method Man:

 Like Redman's music? Chime in below in the comment section.

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Follow Soren Baker on Twitter: @SorenBaker


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