Redman

Red Gone Wild: Thee Album

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Back once again with the ill behavior, Redman's Red Gone Wild: Thee Album is the kind of bumpy ice cream van ride through the ghetto that fans crave. The wit is there and as strong as ever with lines Kool Keith would salivate over like "I'm in my underwear like Damon Wayans in Colors" ("Pimp Nutz") or "My bitch be like 'damn, baby, wash your feet'/She say the hair on my chest look like taco meat" ("Sumtn 4 Urrbody") or a whole bunch of others that are way too nasty to repeat. Old friends like Def Squad kingpins Keith Murray and Erick Sermon are on the guest list along with a whole honor roll of old-schoolers who all feel as vital as ever. Producer Pete Rock brings a piano and horn banger to the album ("Gimme One"), Timbaland is more aggressive than usual with his beat ("Put It Down"), and Scott Storch mashes the Neptunes and Kraftwerk sounds with his inspired loops ("Freestyle Freestyle"), but as big and as diverse as the guest list is, the album hangs and flows effortlessly. It has everything to do with Red's bottomless bag of punch lines and his uplifting spirit, which could make you smile even as he's verbally cutting you to pieces. You could argue that the blaxploitation-flavored "Soopaman Luva" suite would be a better ending than the raw party starter "Suicide," but that's about it, unless you think party song followed by smoking song is redundant, which probably means you wouldn't enjoy any Redman album. That he's able to throw it back to the good old days after all this time, fame, and his ventures into other media just speaks to how much natural talent lives inside the man. How he makes it look so easy and backs up every outrageous claim of domination with whip-smart proof is nothing short of stunning.

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