Rap’s most prominent weed toker has undertaken a departure from what his fans are used to hearing with his seventh album, Redman Presents…Reggie. The typical lackadaisical, high-guy rap has been replaced with different content, flows, and overall atypical creativity style. While it may be unique, how deserving is it of merit? Well, that all depends on how low the bar has fallen.
One of Reggie’s few standout records is “Lite 1 Witcha Boy,” which takes The Funk Doc back to his stoner roots, with a bit of Method Man and Bun B sprinkled in for flavor. Showing his comfort and raw flow, it’s a track that works, and there absolutely needs to be more songs like this for Red to come off successful. Also, the Michael Jackson tribute “All I Do,” is decent as well, boasting intriguing vocals from Red and a smooth hook from Faith Evans. The Ty Fyffe-produced “That’s Where I Be,” doubles as its equal, with the futuristic production, and better flow from Redman brings out a very unique, sci-fi sounding track.
However, that’s pretty much as good as it gets as the album’s shortcomings weigh far more. On joints like “Lemme Get 2,” and “Cheerz,” Red shows his worst. The production is lousy, the flow is lazy and worst of all, his rhymes sound terribly strained. They make it seem like Reggie is forced, as if someone made him put it out; his heart just isn’t in it. “Tiger Style Crane,” is just more of the same, with archaic loops of bass, and awkward name dropping, reminiscent of that out-of-touch old uncle who keeps trying out those decade-old jokes that always fall flat on their face. It definitely closes the album out on a very sour note. Elsewhere, the first single, “Def Jammable,” is still very average by any standards, even with a more accesible approach in studio creativity. While the rhyming is stellar, it’s quickly obvious that Auto-Tune just doesn’t work for Redman, and for the most part, neither does harmonizing. Quite simply, it sounds like T-Pain gone rogue.
Ironically it is the bumbling weed anthem “Lift It Up,” with its schizophrenic electronic mess of a melody that comes as the ultimate low point. Clearly, straying out the comfort zone doesn’t work for him, and all too often does Redman struggle to find a groove that he is relaxed in.
Throughout his career, Reggie Noble has followed the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and it hasn’t failed him yet. While most artists must push their boundaries and explore new ways to show their creativity, Red is one of those few emcees who have found their zone and can just revel in it. Even though his catalogue through the years has been less than innovative, he’s always found a way to make it appealing and enjoyable for the masses. However, Redman Presents…Reggie, treads an opposing path, as the so-called “next-level” styles may be new for Redman, but for the rest of Hip-Hop, they are just as stale and beat as they were when the last guy tried them.