Do you know exactly how old Redman is? Apparently he’s the ripe old age of 44, yet he still seems to embody the lifestyle of an ageless party animal who will smoke all your weed, drink the last beer and possibly convince your girl to go on tour with him to Asia right after he beats you in a game of NBA 2K14. Having never missed a step since his incredible debut spot on EPMD’s ‘Hardcore’ back in 1990, Reggie Noble has delivered seven solo albums without ever delivering a sub-par vocal performance. He also gave us the greatest MTV Cribs episode of all time with his run-down apartment boasting a collection of VHS porn and a “dollar box”. (The less said about 2004’s Method & Red show, the better).
Redman has been dropping videos from his next mixtape over the last few months, and by all accounts he’s still as sharp-tongued as ever. That being said, if you weren’t previously a fan of the Funk Doctor Spock over the past 25 years then you’re not likely to become a convert now, but for the rest of us it’s refreshing to see that a lifetime of rapping while wearing cheap sunglasses you copped from an airport kiosk has done nothing to dull his wit.
Likewise, his regular partner in Rap Game Beavis and Butthead shenanigans, Method Man, also proved that he can still out-rap the young whippersnappers – as he demonstrated on ASAP Mob’s ‘Trillmatic’ single. But, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many of their contemporaries. Are we to believe that the secret to eternal rap youth and verbal dexterity is simply smoking large quantities of weed and playing video games? Or is it a geographical thing? With Red repping Brick City in New Jersey and Tical hailing from Staten Island, could being slightly removed from the big city play a contributing factor?
I suspect the real reason can be attributed to the era itself – both of them cut their teeth in the ultra-competitive early ’90s era, where you really had to compete for rap radio airtime and bragging rights with the likes of Biggie Smalls, Big Pun, Big L and Big Meal (who may not have had the impact as the first three but has the greatest upsized rap handle ever). Let us not forget that although both Red and Meth have platinum selling albums under their respective belts, selling a million on a major label 20 years ago was not exactly a road to eternal riches – hence their forays into marginally amusing stoner comedies (How High 2 coming soon!) or that time that Redman went to gawk at the “simple pleasures of third-world living” with celebrity pals Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba.
While many of his contemporaries are content to tour and trade off their past glories, Redman approaches rapping like the sport that it is, realising that the only way to keep yourself match-fit is to never take a break from writing and recording, and that it’s more important to win new fans rather than rely on an ageing fanbase to continue to support you. That and smoking a lot of trees while playing Xbox, obviously.
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