Redman Explains Why He & Method Man ALWAYS Put The People First (Video)
Between 2010 and 2015, Redman did not release an album. As he has done throughout his 25-plus-year career, the platinum Def Squad veteran maintained his post as one of Hip-Hop’s most respected MCs largely through performance. Whether kicking bars on TV or to worldwide venues, Redman and his partner Method Man are masters of ceremony. Coming up under EPMD, the Newark, New Jersey veteran has been attached to legendary concert bills such as Hard Knock Life and Rock The Bells (each with Method Man). Earlier this month, the collaborating MCs announced signing on for the Mount Kushmore Tour, alongside Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Wiz Khalifa, and others.
Speaking with Nardwuar The Human Serviette this month, Reggie Noble broke down his mantra when it comes to rocking the stage. At 3:00, Funk Doc is asked how to “rescue a bad show.” He explains, “I never really had a bad show. It’s usually a different connection with the promoter and fans that he attracts. Guys like us: Red’, Meth’, Ghostface Killah, Busta Rhymes, Keith Murray, we’re legends. We’re monsters. We’re titans in the game,” asserts the Gilla House founder. “So when you promote us, you have to promote us a certain way to reach out to those fans that love that underground Hip-Hop. And sometimes, promoters will just have a regular club night, inviting young people who might not be familiar with the music…which is cool, but we’d rather rock for our peers and the young folks. [That way], the young people can see the peers of ours rockin’ at our show. Like, ‘Wow! Okay, this is what went down in the ’90s.’ Sometimes the connection between the fans and the promoter can be unbalanced. When it’s unbalanced like that, and you feel you’re having a bad show, don’t disconnect from the audience,” stresses Doc.
This is where many performers cower, according to Red’. “[There are] a lot of artists that, if the audience is disconnecting with them, they back up from the stage. Their eye-contact won’t be on the fans no more. They’ll just be looking [to the side] getting ready to get the show done. When you [do] that, the show is long as hell; each song [feels like] eight or nine minutes long. You have to connect with the fans. If you find out that the fans ain’t rockin’ with you, you go harder. Throw water in they fuckin’ face! Tell ’em, ‘Wake up! Witness what you’re looking at right here, right now. You’re lookin’ at a legend, you’re lookin’ at fuckin’ greatness! You’re lookin’ at a fuckin’ pioneer in the game; get that shit right.’ Once they see you won’t let up, once they see that you won’t take that fuckin’ eye focus off of them [and that nothing] can deter you from doing your job on that stage, they rock with you. That’s how you save a show that’s going bad. You continue the movement! Don’t shy away from that stage. Don’t start backing up; they’ll notice that and then they’ll start getting on you more. Go at ’em! Jump in the fuckin’ crowd if you got to. Throw a gang of water in they face ’til they know you ain’t playin’ games, and you’ll see the difference after that.”
Nardwuar then asks Redman why Hip-Hop should care about him and his partner Method Man. Together, the MCs have released two Def Jam Records albums. Another release is said to be in the works. “People should care, not ’cause we’re the coolest mothafuckas in the Rap game, [but] because we’re dedicated. One thing about Redman & Method Man, even though we know the world loves us…’cause we have a cult…we never take advantage of that. They say that ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ and dudes like us with this power, we make sure that the fans are first. We make sure, with the shows we do, that we give 150%—not 100%. We put people first. We’re more of a people’s champ [group]…the people’s people. Even though we have that power, we give that comfortability to the fans, to the audience out there. [They think], ‘You know what? I want to smoke with those guys because I like the way they move.'” Like Redman, Method Man has released just one project in the last seven years (for Meth’, who had an nine-year break between projects).
Redman also attributes the MCs’ ability to keep focus on the music and their brand. Other artists, including some in their own crews, have had public controversies. “We never really had no kind of bad media on us [throughout] our career. Maybe a lil’ bullshit here and there, but our whole career, we never had no bad media. We always kept our families straight, our whole crew…from Wu-Tang [Clan] to Def Squad, we always kept everything in-house, inner-circle.”
#BonusBeat: Two examples of great Redman performances in smaller surroundings. First, Red’ performs “Tonight’s Da Night” at 2016’s A3C Festival in Atlanta:
The beat breaks briefly to O.C.’s “Times Up.” In another video from the same show, Reggie performs another early hit, “Time 4 Sumaksion”:
Red’s appearance was part of a 1996-themed set also featuring Bun B, Too Short, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.