Interview with Redman (11/15/2008)

Interview with Redman

You’ve done work with Def Squad and received major recognition in the early 90s. What changes have you undergone over the years? Where are you now as an artist?

As far as now, man, shit, its just more work. I got more independent. So Gilla House it’s affiliated with Def Squad, it has my new artists that I brought on stage. Socrates, Rock, the whole crew. Back in the day it was me being me and worrying just about myself. I’m making sure how we are presenting an album now. I got more responsibility. Just like EPMD brought me out, I’m gonna bring artists out now. So I have a bigger responsibility, I’m a boss now and I guess I’m more grown now. So you gonna hear more grown music, just more of what we are supposed to do. Gilla House, that’s what it is.

You’ve done a lot of work with Mef, both musically and did a movie together. What should we expect next in your collaboration efforts?

Yeah. Mef is on my next album. We gonna do Blackout II, probably like in August we’ll start working on it. How High II is being written right now. We got shit in the mix. It’s just about sitting down and getting the movie written correctly. And as far as the album it’s about just me and him doing what we do. But you’ll be seeing all that soon.

You have always infused your music with many sounds not commonly found in Hip Hop. Do you feel that the musical boundaries of Hip Hop are not pushed enough?

You know what it is, its not that it’s not pushed enough. It’s a new wave coming in. It’s a new Hip Hop revolution. Its about are you with the evolution of it or not. Just like when Mef came in the game it was a new evolution of Hip Hop. So, its either you do or not. You can sit back and be mad at it or you can join in and be a part of it. I look at it like I love anything that allows the next man to get off the streets or coming out of jail. You know Hip Hop is a plausible child for a lot of motherfuckers, so if you are doing from the West, South, North, East, it don’t matter. Now evolutionary everyone is mad about Hip Hop flaws, but its what you make of it. You know Hip Hop artists that’s discovered now, like Redman, Nas, you know Method Man got an album now, show your support. Don’t step back and be one of the spectators saying ‘Hip Hop is dead’ or ‘we don’t like where Hip Hop is going’. There is still some real Hip Hopers out there, they just gotta be reached and it’s not enough of us to make a point. I’m with everything Hip Hop, I love it.

What major differences do you see on the today’s music scene, compared to the 90s?

Well, when I came out you was a superhero. What I mean by that you had names like superheroes, like Keith Murray, Redman, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, those were superhero names. And even the generation before us. Rakim, heavy names, household names, Whoodini. You don’t get names like that. Now its Lil’ this, Lil that. So when I came I would never trade it for the world, because I think from the year of ’90, when Hip Hop was evolving to this new shit that we was on, it was like a good turnaround. It was not what it’s about now. You was a superhero. It wasn’t as vicious as the game now. The game is more business. And its more money, but you see what happens when business come in it diluted Hip Hop. It diluted being a superhero. I don’t think the artists today get the real feeling when your record is being played. When you get your record played now, its no big deal, like ‘oh, yeah, your record’s played’. Before there was a record on the radio and it was ‘Yo!’, n—-s tuned in. That’s what it is. So what you expect?

What do you think Hip Hop is missing now?

I think its missing the essence. The essence of building an album. And what I mean by that is that you got a lot of artists like I said that’s business yo. When there is money there is business, when there is business there is money. What I mean by that is. Take NWA. Ice Cube first album. Slick Rick. Rakim. The essence of album cuts. Album cuts depending on kind of person you are. Nowadays nobody know how to build an album no more cause everybody got serious. What I’m getting at is the business of Hip Hop. Say you got a new artist. Producers, and listen to this shit now, Slick Rick, Ice Cube, The Bomb Squad. They brought they own sound. Now producers are the stars. So they giving beats like this. When you go to each producer what are they trying to do? they trying to get you a single. It’s business. It’s publishing. Singles being publishing. If you go to each producer and get a beat from each producer they gonna give you a single, so you will have an album of fucking singles! No essence of Hip Hop, no album cuts, no just raw beat. Everything is single driven now, everything is radio driven, everything is commercial driven. 90’s was that boundary between the old and the new. The ‘90s would tell what the new is gonna be like and where the old is coming from. That’s why I’m glad I started in the 90s and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And what people need to know, the new artists, they just need to know how to build an album. And what you need to do is go do your homework, go get NWA album, Ice Cube album, Slick Rick, Rakim. Go analyze these albums and go build your own motherfucking album and stop making an album for the singles. That’s what it is. It’s more simple than that. Its simple mathematics.

You’ve done work with artists all over the country. Do you feel that New York Hip Hop is still on top, despite the success of non-New York music?