By dropping words like “pop” and “crossover” while promoting an album on which he dares to use Auto-Tune, Redman gave his fans a heads-up that Reggie isn’t your everyday effort. Based on his real name, Reginald Noble, Reggie is actually an extroverted and exuberant alter ego for Redman, the kind of guy who does production for Shaq if you check your copy of Shaq-Fu: Da Return. No surprise, then, that Reggie the album is heavy on the special guests with everyone from Bun B to Kool Moe Dee landing on the track list, while Redman acts as ringleader and/or hypeman.
Redman has earned the reputation of being a ferocious lyricist that understands the sound and accessibility of hardcore Hip Hop. For two decades he has pushed the genre forward with pivotal releases that demonstrated impressive lyricism and a knack for humor. With a rumored Muddy Waters 2 in the works, Redman comes out of the bullpen to release Redman Presents…Reggie in the last month of the year.
Redman’s inability to carve out a distinct solo career after being relegated to permanent sidekick status has been less a consequence of his weaknesses than his strengths. His best work, from an early partnership with EPMD to two decades of guest appearances and a longstanding partnership with Method Man, has always been complementary, as an odd, refreshingly silly antidote to that of more prickly rappers. On his own albums, with no consistent foil off which to play, the results have been more stagnant, a state that affects Reggie without entirely ruining it.
The thing with Redman is, he’s still a perfectly acceptable rapper. His flow is tight and correct. His lyrics are humorous and relatable. Redman, though, isn’t a name that comes with the expectations of mere decency. He’s the guy that entered the game with one of the best three album ….