If you don’t love Redman, I’m going to think that you really don’t love hip-hop. How could you? Redman is one of the most important universal pieces to this culture and art and unfortunately doesn’t get enough credit for his contributions to the rap game. On December 10, 1996, he dropped an album with “classic tendencies” that increased his star power, inspired one of the greatest rappers ever and should have firmly put him in every hip-hop heads Top 5 for at least 1 year of conversation, if not longer. That album was Muddy Waters.
The hype for this album for me starts with “Funkorama”. A song that makes Erick Sermon’s compilation album, Insomnia that dropped earlier in 1996. “Funkorama” and “It’s That Hit” by Keith Murray had solidified The Def Squad trio as my personal favorites in rap.
Needless to say, after hearing that, you telling me Redman was whack would have gotten you punched in the back of the head like Security did dude in Players Club. Later in the year Redman would drop another joint with K-Solo called “It’s Like That” and let us know the album is on the way. What makes that such a big deal is K-Solo and Redman got split up in the EPMD breakup. I didn’t think we would ever hear Red and Solo on a track again, if it wasn’t Headbanger. So glad I was wrong on that.
“Dissed you dismissed you yeah I fixed you
Let your girl suck on the s**t that I piss through”
It was at that moment, I knew I would purchase the Muddy Waters album.
Muddy Waters is one of the most fun, lyrically savvy contributions to hip-hop culture ever. The production, lyrics and skits just put you in a mode to create. It may honestly be the greatest album to just go Gold.
Redman was always considered a dope emcee, but in 1996, he was rapping out of his mind! He literally does not take 1 bar off on this entire project. In an era where the ability to rap was in the Top 3 of “rap star criteria”, Redman was showing every track how he could out rap any rapper breathing whether the beat was on or off.
You know “Pick It Up” and “Whateva Man” are classic joints. You know when Red and Meth got together and did “Do What You Feel” it was going to bang, but you didn’t expect the birth of “The Stick Up” skits or the branding of WKYA Radio [We Kickin’ Yo A$$] and “IKSRAFO” [Im Knocking Somebody Right Da Fawk Out] to be synonymous with the Redman brand.
“Soopaman Luva 3” is the best chapter in the series and is also my favorite joint on the album next to “Welcome” which is just an interlude, but can’t be skipped.
It may not be documented as the turning point, but after “Muddy Waters” dropped, all of a sudden a lot of rappers started giving us a short joint with no hook and just bars. A lot of rappers felt they needed comical skits to transition throughout their album and a lot of rappers felt they needed Erick Sermon on production or they remixed Erick Sermon production through the rest of the 90’s into the 2000’s. It was also a turning point into what a “weed-head” look like and acted. It wasn’t just the “Gangsta’s puffing on Chronic” after this album.
Last but not least, Redman’s career and this album inspired a guy by the name of Eminem. Check out Em’s old radio freestyles after hearing some 95-96 Redman and understand “Reggie” was at the top of that list on “Till I Collapse”.
You won’t get great street tales, real life struggle, the club banger, the “something for the ladies” track or the standard single with Mary, Lauryn, Boyz II Men or Jodeci on the hook, but what you will get is every element of hip-hop at it’s core and what needs to held in high regard. Fun, lyrically dangerous and phenomenally produced, “Muddy Waters” can compete with any album of 1996, 2006 and 2016.
Respect To Redman. Muddy Waters is more classic than we truly recognize.