Red Gone Wild

Brick City rapper Redman obviously picked the right line of work for someone who wants to be sixteen for the rest of his life. Characterizing himself alternately as a humble father, proud common-man-type, and low-class criminal with a heart of gold, he massages the same subject matter that seemed topical in 1994's Whut? Thee Album. At this point, it's tempting to shout "dated rapper" or "one-trick pony," but no critic could really do so in good faith. No other artist has surpassed Redman in his niche. "Freestyle Freestyle" shows Redman in peak battle-rap mode. Yes, this guy can actually quip without having to set up every joke several verses in advance. And he delivers clever one-liners throughout, making references to the famous Redman Crap Cribs episode and less-successful enterprises, for all you archivists of Redman lore. Also, his anime album cover of the rapper trapped in the body of a blunt-smoking King Kong deserves some respect. Although the production on Red Gone Wild doesn't exactly push the envelope, veteran beatmakers Erick Sermon and Timbaland weave together some cannily spliced samples from Al Green's "Right Now, Right Now" ("Rite Now") and Bob Marley's "Sun Is Shining" ("Blow Treez"). Redman's other ventures show the rapper at his most blunted and blazed (How High?), but he obviously put the swisher out, at least for a moment, to make Red Gone Wild.


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