Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CD Review: Red Gone Wild: Thee Album by Redman

It's been a long time since Redman released an album. How long? When Redman released his last album, Malpractice, Kanye West was still just a producer, no one outside the South had really heard of T.I., and 50 Cent's G-Unit empire was still just a dream.

Now, Redman has finally made his return with Red Gone Wild: Thee Album and it's a triumphant one. While some artists sound rusty when they return after a long hiatus, Redman sounds rested and refreshed. He may mine familiar territory with this new album, but he does it quite well.

During Redman's absence, labelmate Ludacris sort of filled in Red's niche of clever party rapper. However, with Luda going serious on his last album (and winning a Grammy as a result), the timing is perfect for Redman's return. However, don't call it a comeback because Redman doesn't. Listening to this album, it feels like Redman never left.

Most of Red Gone Wild follows Redman's typical formula. There are odes to weed (“Merry Jane” featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg), collaborations with Def Squad members (“Walk In Gutta” featuring Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, and Biz Markie), funny skits (“F**k Ur Opinion” is inadvertently timely), and even another installment of the “Soopman Luva” series (featuring the resurrection of rapper Hurricane G).

There are many solid tracks to be found here. “Rite Now” is a signature Redman track with its Al Green-sampling, Erick Sermon beat. The wordplay is top-notch on the Red-produced “Wutchoogonnado” featuring vocals by Melanie Rutherford and Red reunites with Method Man on the track “Blow Treez.” Red also gives us the beginnings of a new persona on the silly “Pimp Nutz.”

Just like fellow Def Jam artist Ghostface Killah did with his excellent 2006 release Fishscale, Redman doesn't stray too far from what works for him on Red Gone Wild. There are no attempts to be serious, no blatant attempts to be trendy, and no dumbing down of his style to appeal to the current hip-hop crowd. Redman just makes some wild and unapologetically fun hip-hop music. In sticking to what he knows, he has made music that doesn't sound like anyone else's.

Welcome back, Redman. Now let's just all hope that we don't have to wait another six years to hear more from you.

*Make sure to check out my MOG to hear a track from the album!

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