You can’t fake the funk. You can’t fake charisma. Redman has had both wrapped in Buddha packed Phillies since he ripped the anchor leg of EPMD’s “Hardcore” in 1990. A consummate showman, his vocal presence on wax has always mirrored his energy on stage and on camera. For him, weed has been ‘gas’ long before the slang was en vogue.
Unfortunately, it’s been four years since Redman’s last proper album, 2010’s Reggie. Muddy Waters 2 was ostensibly supposed to drop late 2013, but there’s been no news since. The original merits revisiting for no other reason than that it’s still damn good. For those keeping count, the most recent Redman offering was last year’s Redman Remixxes, which found Noble rhyming over any beat his sativa addled psyche felt capable of fracturing. He succeeded.
Now, in an era when the Internet and relatively affordable HD cams (thankfully) allow our favorite rappers to release virtually anything they want, Redman has let loose the song/video “Dunfiato,” which may or may not be on the possibly forthcoming Muddy Waters Mixtape. I have no idea what “dunfiato” means, nor do I care. It’s a song by Redman in 2014 and that’s all I need to know.
The beat is one Zilla Rocca quickly identified as Kanye West’s “Livin’ In a Movie,” which you can find on the Freshman Adjustment mixtape that began circulating in 2009. As Zilla reminded me, this was probably made during the era when producers such as Erick Sermon, Timbaland, and DJ Quik were fascinated with Indian samples. (Though Timb’s “Indian Flute” actually utilizes a sample from a Colombian singer – the more you know.) Thus, this track features the indecipherable yet no less enticing cooing of a Bombay beauty. Sample aside, the beat is muted but no less effective, as mellow as it is mobile.
A lesser MC would use this track to rhyme in a monotone drone, but that wouldn’t be Redman. No matter the beat, he is high and hyped, Godzilla stomping through Hong Kong. Weed, rhyming, and women – the tropes remain the same but far from mundane. Lyrical wordplay for the sake of lyrical wordplay is always appreciated around these parts. And, when all is said and done, these are essentially his throwaway bars. He has fun with it and, unsurprisingly, it’s fun to listen.
With respect to the video, it’s as simple as it should be. No games, no gimmicks – just a fish-eye lens and a man sitting alone with his records and a beat blaring at 3:14 in the A.M, his blunt in his hand and a wig on his head. Throughout Redman can barely stay seated. His delivery and aggression are self-aware and hilarious, reminding us that he comes from an era when aggressive miming/gesticulating were encouraged, considered part of being good live MC. Therefore, the message is in the delivery. Redman remains better than most when blunted and sitting down.