How Classic Is Redman's Whut? Thee Album | Album Review

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Redman came along in a time when Def Jam was failing and they needed another superstar. Lyor Cohen said that Redman was that next big thing and that Redman was what they were looking for. Personality wise and musically he was sellable artists, although this album would only sell to Gold in the United States. But there’s no doubt that Redman would go on to have a long and successful career in the music business, even taking on the responsibilty of most of his marketing (on Doc’s Da Name 2000). But what was Redman’s background like and what lead up to the release of Whut? Thee Album?

 A similar photo of the cover in the  Whut? Thee Album  CD inlay artwork

A similar photo of the cover in the Whut? Thee Album CD inlay artwork

What Happened Before Whut? Thee Album ?

Reggie Noble aka Redman spent a huge portion of his youth selling all kinds of drugs and DJing at parties and clubs. Then at age 16 (in 1986) he picked rapping, as he was heavily influenced Biz Markie who had a comedy rapping style. Four years later in 1990, Redman was discovered by Erick Sermon (from EPMD) at a show Redman was DJing at. It was during a freestyle session backstage that Sermon heard Redman’s skills as a rapper. He was very impressed and invited Red to perform during EPMD’s set. They then took him on tour where he would freestyle rap and do DJ sets. He was now apart of the Hit Squad and was given two guest spots on EPMD’s 1990 album Business As Usual. One year later he was signed to Def Jam and began recording his debut album under the tutelage of Erick Sermon.

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Review - What Are The Best Tracks?

Whut? Thee Album begins with a great intro skit (skits would become one of Redman’s best assets) before he launches into “Time 4 Sumaksion” which packs a solid punch with a quick beat and plenty of energetic rapping. Produced by Erick Sermon this track has the feel you would expect, but tailored to Redman’s style. E-Dub produces 99% of the album with only a Pete Rock co-prod. on one track (and a Mr. Bozack (Redman) co-prod).

“So Ruff” borrows heavily from Parliament (the legendary funk group) and is an ultra-bouncy track which is more mid-tempo and laid-back. Lyrically it has a storytelling structure. “Rated R” samples one of Eric B. & Rakim’ vocals and is one of the best tracks on the album hands down. Lyrically we see Redman really come into his own, with his trademark outlandish boasting and sick humor. A gem on the album.

 Another shot of Redman in CD inlay artwork for  Whut? Thee Album

Another shot of Redman in CD inlay artwork for Whut? Thee Album

“Hardcore” has a heavy ass beat with Redman dropping a simple, freestyle vibey verse. A simple and short, yet effective track. “Funky Uncles” is a skit which shows us Redman’s ability to make hilarious skits with interesting characters. “Tonight’s The Night” is a great track and one of the most interesting because the beat is really melodic and smooth yet Redman is kicking hardcore lyrics over it. A nice chilled track.

“How To Roll A Blunt” is co-produced by Pete Rock (who was mad hot in 1992 with Mecca and the Soul Brother) and this track is pure quality. The lyrics which are as you would expect, weed orientated and the music is original sounding, just a great track overall.

 Yet another similar shot of Redman from his debut  Whut? Thee Album

Yet another similar shot of Redman from his debut Whut? Thee Album

The best track on Whut? Thee Album is “A Day Of Sooperman Lover” which gets our CLASSIC rating. One of the reasons for its classic’ness is how the beat starts out in one style before seamlessly switching up and going in another direction. This technique had been used by Dr. Dre and also by Ice-Cube on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (the latter is one of Redman’s big influences). The beat begins with a low-key soul vibe before launching into a high energy James Brown track with a beatboxing segue in between. Lyrically the whole track is tied together by the Sooperman Lover theme which Redman would revisit on his subsequent albums.

 The CD back cover showing the tracklist for  Whut? Thee Album

The CD back cover showing the tracklist for Whut? Thee Album

All in all, Whut? Thee Album is a great album. It’s entertaining, the beats are solid, and there are plenty of songs on it (14 in total). It really wets your appetite for more Redman music and luckily he had a lot more material to come.

How Classic Is Whut? Thee Album ?

CLASSIC: "A Day Of Sooperman Lover" - DOPE: "Time 4 Sumaksion", "So Ruff", "Rated "R" ", "Jam 4 U", "Hardcore", "Tonight's The Night" - GOOD: "Da Funk", "Watch Yo Nuggets", "Blow Your Mind", "Redman Meets Reggie Noble", "Blow Your Mind", "How To Roll A Blunt" - SUB-PAR: "I'm Bad"
Alexander Ramalho