It’s easy to look at people like Snoop, LL, Ice Cube, and Jay-Z and think that rappers have long careers. The reality is that most Hip-Hop careers rarely go past two albums. The longer your career, the more likely you have to reinvent yourself to prevent from becoming a relic. Some like the aforementioned awesome foursome have done this with great agility. Others are so entrenched in their identities that their transition can be a bit rough.
Redman stands as one of the greatest solo emcees of his generation. However his ascent was over 15 years ago, and with a span that long, there is bound to be a turnover of fans. With only 2 albums in the last decade (although admittedly there were a few mixtapes), Mr. Noble hasn’t been out front much. There have been a couple of stellar performances, and a very solid sequel to the Blackout Album, and he still stands as a superior performer, but will be he able to transition his sound to a new generation of listeners?
His latest single “Oh My” finds Redman a bit left of center from where he has stood traditionally. Gone are the funk driven grooves of Erick Sermon. In their stead is a fairly slow laid back rhythm that you could expect to hear Bun B or 8-Ball & MJG rhyme over, not Newark’s finest. The double snare and the whiney drawn out voices on the edge of the chorus are very Nuevo south in terms of production. You’ve heard it before in slight variations over the past five years.
Along with the rhythmic departure comes a very pedestrian rhyme scheme of A/B which is strictly purposed for punch lines. While punch lines are Redman’s forte, he never had to depend on that basic setup before, which is a bit disheartening. In addition, as a long time fan, listening to Red “Hop out the ride…looking fly” is really not one of the reasons I fell in love with his music. But the purpose of songs like this are not to assuage old fans but perhaps to cast a net wide enough to catch new ones.
I can see people latching on to this, as the beat is really smooth, and it’s so slow that you can’t help but learn the words, but in my opinion, this song is beneath his capabilities as an emcee. However the same could be said for Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 and you see how successful a transition album that was. Draw your own conclusion. Enjoy “Oh My!” Minus the lions and tigers and bears. Peace.
Redman “Oh My” Redman – Oh My
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