Redman Reflects On MTV Cribs and What It Said About Who He Is
Whether you’re a Def Squad Head or a lover of pranksters, Redman’s episode of “MTV: Cribs” is that of legend. At a time when celebrities—especially rappers were showing gold-leaf wallpaper, infinity pools, personal chefs and garages that looked like Italian car dealerships, Reggie Noble was the antithesis.
In year 2001, Redman welcomed “Cribs” to his pad in Staten Island, New York. From a refrigerator/freezer that had both fish-sticks and a box of $1 bills, a tired shower-curtain, a messy floorspace, two turntables (and an early Stones Throw Records 12″), and a passed-out cousin on the carpet—Redman was a man of the people. Even with a platinum album, a movie deal, and a position as one of Def Jam Records’ flagship artists, Funk Doc was (and is) an Everyman.
Thrillst and author Chris Faraone looked back at the moment. “An Oral History of Redman’s Notorious MTV Cribs Episode” brings back Red’, MTV producers, and even the sleepy cousin to reflect on the moment.
“While everybody was trying to show a lavish house, the lavish life of living, that’s not always the case,” Redman explained, looking back. “Not every entertainer’s living lavish. They may have a more lavish set on the street, but it’s still real for a lot of cats out here in the entertainment game. We’re okay, but we’re not rich, and that’s what I wanted to display to my fans… I always try and think about what the ‘hood would say when I do things.”
Red’ added that he originally purchased the home in Shaolin as “a real-estate project,” but Method Man’s band-mate found he liked the seclusion of the townhouse, away from his Newark hometown, and the glamor of New York City.
“They show up fucking early,” Redman recalled, who was notably drowsy during the taping. “I wanted to at least clean up a bit, since I ain’t have any real furniture in there and shit, and I thought I had a little bit of time and I didn’t. When they knocked on the door I was still sleepy-eyed and they were like, ‘You know what, this is good, let’s just roll with it.” He adds, “We just winged it.” The history retrospective debunks the popular myth that the episode was staged, accentuated, or simply “faked” for humor and publicity’s sake. “Everything you see was real. It’s just everyday life for us.”
In a moment that has certainly been a highlight in Redman’s 25-year career, the MC stresses that being real is key. “Once you do things and keep things 100% with yourself, you can never lose.”
At a time when social media has allowed artists to be more accessible to fans, was Redman ahead of the curve in keeping it real during the last days of the “shiny suit era”?