Monday, November 29, 2010

Redman,“[Now], Def Jam Are
Not Leaders” ((XXL INTERVIEW))

Newark, New Jersey native, Redman is gearing up to release his latest album Reggie and he couldn’t be more excited. After establishing himself as a rambunctious soloist in the early 1990’s, Red has since done collaborative albums with his Def Squad fam (El Niño) and of course Wu-Tang’s Method Man (Blackout! and Blackout 2). Now this industry vet is ready for all eyes to be back on him and he’s using his legal name (Reggie Noble) as inspiration for his next opus.

Reggie marks Red’s seventh solo effort, his first since 2008’s Red Gone Wild. While touring overseas on a 20-city European tour, Red spoke candidly with XXL about his new album, the state of his label Def Jam and trying to top his 1996 cult classic album Muddy Waters. How’s the tour been going; any interesting stories from overseas?

Redman: Just the usual. Just the energy levels at the shows have been excellent.

They must be ready for the new album Reggie. What can fans expect?

Yeah the new album Reggie. It’s just the alter ego of Redman. Just stepping up a little bit more. On the new Reggie album there is an alter ego or whatever. I just wanted to step out the box a little bit. The beats are bigger. You won’t be hearing none of the Redman antics like you usually hear, like the hard beats, Superman Lova of skits. You know just a little step out the box. I was actually doing this album when I was doing the Blackout 2 album with Meth. It was suppose to be a mixtape, but it came out as an album. I was actually supposed to put out Muddy Waters 2 now, but this album came along. I’m gonna put out this album then Muddy Waters 2 next.

The first single is “Def Jammable,” how did you pick that one?

The story behind that one—when I write I just think of, either when I do the hook first or I start writing first sometimes I take a lyric out my rhyme and put it in the hook. I think that’s what happened with that one, because I was fucking around. I did one lyric then I started bullshitting with an adlib and I was like, “Jammable, def jammable.” I was like yeah ok why not? I’m a team member. I’m a team player. I’m for the people, I don’t give a fuck. I love this album, because it’s just something different. The music is more bigger and just more musical than usual. Not your typical drums, a little more musical, a little more conceptual. Not just spitting a 16 and a hook, it’s a little more conceptual than my usual albums. I kind of hit on a couple of bases that I don’t usually hit on albums. I’m not political or none of that, but I kind of state a little facts that Reggie [Noble] was feeling.

You’ve been on Def Jam your whole career. How do you feel about Def Jam now as opposed to the 1990’s, when you first signed there?

Well [now], Def Jam are not leaders. They’re not leaders plain and simple, because it’s changed. They’re not leaders like they used to be. In the ’90’s they were leaders. They were the label that you considered the mechanics of hip-hop; they’re under the car. They were the ones under the car getting greasy, getting dirty, fixing that muffler that drags when everybody loved that shit and was following it. Now they’re playing the follower. They’re followers, they’re not building artists no more like they should. And that’s just the game. It’s not they fault. We got into the Internet world and shit is moving fast and came so fast and came so quick that labels couldn’t exist, but still they got the money and they’re a company. They’re supposed to adjust. I think they need to get that going. Being a label, being on top.

So you’re saying labels are playing the game of catch up in terms of following the Internet?

Yeah they have to play catch up. They have to catch up now. The way the labels were ran back then in the ’90’s. We had tapes and even from studio equipment a lot of people weren’t prepared for that— like getting rid of their 24 track reel tapes. So yes, it came up quick on a lot of labels with this viral [thing] and [now] you’re able to do songs in the comforts of your own home and not having to go to a big studio. They shutting studios down, you can get known through Facebook or whatever. You don’t have to wait for a label to put you out now, so yes I think the labels are shut down a little bit and sizing down a lot.

What do you think about the rumors of L.A. Reid leaving the label?

I don’t know. When I met L.A. Reid he seemed like good people. He seemed like he was interested in the music. I can only go by how I meet people and what’s the energy they give to me. He was good peoples, interested in the project, but I just didn’t think he understood it or what needed to be done maybe as far as working with different sizes of artists— big artists, underground artists as well, because we’re all under one umbrella. I think if he’s leaving maybe he wanna go somewhere where he’s comfortable and get more work done. It’s all a business. Not heart felt. I’m cool with Sha Money anyway, so that’s the main guy I’m talking to.

Has your film with Method Man How High 2 gotten the green light or are there difficulties there?

Well with How High 2 it’s just a paperwork thing. It’s a business thing. It’s not our fault that we ain’t come out with it yet. Universal owns the names, owns the characters. We definitely promoted it for years, so I’m waiting on it too just as well as you are. It’s a business thing. We looking for it— that’s it. If you ever want a Red and Meth movie please holla, we’re free agents, but the next movie we work on will be marijuana related. We’ll keep that in the deck.

What’s the status of the Blackout 3?

We in the midst of writing. We’re gathering beats. When me and Meth do an album we go in quick. It’s not real hard. We treat it like a mixtape. We get the beats gathered and start writing. Then when we start going in we do it right in my studio in Staten Island and we knock it down. We could knock an album out in two weeks.

You’ve also mentioned Muddy Waters 2, how do you try to top the original? Many fans considered to be your best album.

I’m not trying top Muddy Waters. I’m just trying to really rewind the time on the album. You know. you got a lot of people [that] say, “Remember that ’90’s shit?” Not just saying I’m doing that ’90’s shit, I’m talking the real sound of some ’90’s shit. Trying step back from the now time. I’m not at all trying to top it. Matter of fact, I might not even call it Muddy Waters 2 [any more]. I just might call it Muddy or Even Muddier, but not call it Muddy Waters 2, because I ain’t even trying top that album at all. — Nicole LoPresti


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