Wednesday, July 26, 2006

#4 - Redman - Muddy Waters

The reason I hold this album so dear to my heart is a ruthless dirtbag named Ray Morant. I came home from school one afternoon and the second I laid eyes on him I knew he didnt seem right. He was the contractor hired to work on my house and thanks to him we wound up with no heat or hot water for the winter of 1997. Forced to stay with family and push a laundry cart theough the cold to wash clothes, it was the Muddy Waters tape I survived off of (to the point where the tape popped and broke in my walkman.

Before a 10 minute introduction of dropping bombs, when Funkmaster Flex was overwhelmed by your new record he would just play it over & over & over & over & over & over and then play it four more times that night to let New York know he was feeling you. Redman's "It's Like That" was one of those records he couldnt get enough of. It was hard and it featured the return of K-Solo, so since Flex loved it, I liked it. If memory serves me right "Smoke Buddah" hit airwaves next and was an instant classic with the Rick James "Mary Jane" sample. Before the days of internet leaks you had to wait maybe 5 weeks at the most after a single dropped for the album to hit stores, not this present 3-9 month buzz building campaign the industry is on. My point is I knew I'd be buying this.

While I've never tried marijuana in any form (blunt, brownie, tea etc), this album painted a picture of its culture akin to Straight Outta Compton detailing the rage of black youth. "Iz He 4 Real" put me in a state of euphoria, "Case Closed" was what I believed at the time to be the hardest song ever. Erick Sermon took his funk to new levels with this album, topically 90% of it was 'I'm a dope rapper that smokes weed and likes women.' "Pick It Up" and "Whateva Man" exemplified what this album was about: make your lane, do what comes natural and make it sound great. To this day the humming harmony on "Whateva Man" is one of the most original out of the clear blue things I've ever heard on a hip-hop song. "Do What Ya Feel" can be argued as the best Red & meth collab that took place before their incredible Blackout album (Get you steppin like stairs, frats, sororities/dont make me bring it back I'll fuck up the majority of niggas lookin hard at me/and port em like authority)

Redman was also capable of flipping flows (drop your money in the slot if your block dont got a real representer cocked for action like my block got), switching from hard to smooth ("Da Bump"). Most of all his creativity knows no limits, from skits with radio announcers cursing to a parody of Tyrese singing about Coca-Cola that ends with a bus robbery to the shortening and mispronunciation of celebrity names in his rhymes (Lorenzo Tate, Scott Pippen, Sean Mike, Ed Griffin), and his ongoing Soopaman Luva series - this album's version with what I knew at the time to be the "One Love" sample was considered amongst enthusiasts as the best of his five.

Golden moment after golden moment Muddy Waters was Redman at his finest. Here's to hoping he resurfaces, what with Def Jam forgetting about any "old" artist not named James Todd Smith and all. Comedic genius, weedhead and incredible MC rolled into one package (no pun intended)