Redman transcends bland beats with wry rhymes

Redman is better than your favorite rapper. This isn’t an opinion. This is an objective fact.

Easily one of the most consistent MCs out there, Redman recorded an obviously good album with “Red Gone Wild.”

Even after his six-year hiatus, was there ever really any doubt?

Though he’s never been known for being clean, Redman took his triple-extra-grimy style down two notches when “Doc’s Da Name 2000” came out in 1998. From that point on, Redman’s matched-only-by-Busta-Rhymes ferociousness has been diluted with his ludicrous-as-Ludacris sense of humor. The result has been a set of albums headed by the comically criminally insane.

In the past, Redman has had very few guest spots and very few producers on his albums. This time, however, Redman enlists more than twice the amount of producers he’s ever had on any of his previous five albums, and more guest spots than anything that feels natural for Reggie Noble.

His explanation is that he’s showcasing his new squad, Gilla House. But all this really does is show how much better Redman is than the rest of the people featured on his album.

The members of Gilla House may be able to do all right on their own, but sharing tracks with Reggie Noble, they’re just lazy, uninspired wastes of recording time. Ironically, all that Redman does by “showcasing” Gilla House is kill any potential interest that a listener may have for them. Gilla House might as well be another pseudonym for Reggie; after “Red Gone Wild,” Redman will be the only member of the group that is ever remembered.

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As for the big guest stars on “Red Gone Wild,” it’s nice to hear Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Erick Sermon and Keith Murray, but none of them adds anything more significant than their names to the tracks they’re on. Their verses seem bland compared to Redman’s.

“Red Gone Wild” should be a bad album. The guest spots add nothing at all, and an overabundance of producers usually makes an album sound like it suffers from schizophrenia.

And the most noticeable aspect of the beats on this album is that they’re boring. The obvious standout is Timbaland’s “Put it Down.” It’s not great – it just stands out because it doesn’t sound like anything else on the album. A few beats separate themselves by being a little better than most of what’s on the album, but even those can’t escape from the land of par. Scott Storch’s “Freestyle Freestyle” has got to be one of the laziest, bare-bones beats with no real melody that has ever existed. But it works because Redman doesn’t actually need anything more than weak drums to make a good track.

Considering everything that holds “Red Gone Wild” back, it really should be a bad album. Somehow Redman’s verses carry all of the songs with guest spots. Even the obligatory posse cut, “Sumtn’ 4 Urrbody,” which suffers from an excess of rappers that aren’t any good, is worth listening to just for Redman’s part.

As for the problem of too many producers with boring beats on this album, Redman casually steps over this issue with a consistent supply of incredible and hilarious raps. His verses ooze with overlapping setups, punch lines and references that demand the listener’s complete attention. Red’s style has not suffered since his first album. If this was his only release, he’d be hailed as the next great thing in hip-hop.

Redman is so distracting, the beats don’t matter much. Though they’re bland, even if they were great, it’s unlikely that the quality of the song would change much. It’s hard to pay attention to things like background music when you’re busy suppressing laughter so you can hear what Redman is going to say next.

Even with all the characteristics that make your favorite rappers release disappointing albums, Redman prevails. “Red Gone Wild” should suck. It’s fun to give bad reviews, but calling this album anything less than very good would be fraudulent.

Redman does not make rap look easy. He doesn’t struggle with anything either, though. He just shows that he’s better than your favorite rapper.