Five years ago Redman had his biggest hit with the Rockwilder-produced “Let’s Get Dirty” and then he was gone. Well, not all the way gone. He was doing the acting thing with Method Man on the Red & Meth TV series while at the same time putting together a crew called the Gilla House Movement.
Now Red is gearing up to introduce his crew to the world as well as drop a new album, Red Gone Wild, in March. We caught up with Red while on the Rock the Bells tour with Raekwon, Smif n’ Wessun and Supernatural and talked about the new album, his side projects, and what he thinks of the current climate of hip-hop from the labels to the streets.
How’s the tour so far?
The tour is good. I mean it’s a slow start, I guess the promotion on it wasn’t super, super great. Not too many people know about it. But hey, we’re here to let them know.
Everybody wants to know when the album is dropping?
March, man. It’s dropping in March and believe me, when the album drops, I’m gonna keep dropping ish. I got a whole crew I’ve been working on the last three years and we’ve been building up material. The game has been in shambles, ya know.
Why did it take so long? It’s been five years since Malpractice….
It’s just business. I could have been done with my album, but this time, the way I’m going with this album compared to previous album, I got a crew now. If I had to do a regular Redman album, I would have been finished. I just had to worry about myself. But it’s different this time, I’m grown now, I got to have an entity, I got to start up a crew, because I don’t want to be rapping forever, ya know? So that takes a little time, a lot of building and plus within those three years there’s been a lot of…. Let’s put it this way, when I came out with last album, before this one, everybody who I worked with at my label, Def Jam, is gone.
Yeah, so just take it as a complete wash out. Everybody who I worked with on Malpractice is gone. I got new staff, new people, new bosses and between that time of people being gone and getting fired from the label, within that three years, there’s been a lot of twisting and turning. You know the label wasn’t stable, you come out with an album, they give you half a video, then you’re back to the drawing board, who wants that? So the real question is, not why did it take so long but why did it take so long for the label to get their stuff together? As you can see, with artists that are on there now, on Def Jam, and what they’re going through now for artists that dropped albums this year. You can see what’s going on. Ya’ll ain’t stupid. You see what kind of promotion my man Meth is getting, and Ghostface, you see what’s going on, ya’ll are not crazy. Then, ya’ll will be the first ones to say, why aren’t they getting any promotion? Why didn’t he do this or that? Why doesn’t he have an album out? Why? Because patience is the key. Why would you drop an album when ish isn’t right? Would you drop something at the radio station if the situation ain’t right? Would you go ahead and force something out and knowing that you’d be going back to the drawing board and do another album in a couple of months?
Definitely wouldn’t, and would look at all the options.
Me either. It was all for the sake of my crew, the people I work with. I just feel that I couldn’t have put all this work in and be back to the drawing board in two months, with a crew load of people on my album and it sounds good. I felt that March was the right time, Jay done dropped, the Def Jam hype would slow down, and they would need somebody to hold the label up and that’d be me. From then on, I’m never going to keep it quiet. Matter of fact, after Red Gone Wild drops in March, I’m dropping Muddy Waters 2 in November, I ain’t playing no games.
During those Def Jam rebuilding years, did you ever consider going indie?
Well, I did two mixtapes. I did the
Regarding Def Jam, you think Jay-Z is doing a good job leading it?
Well, I’m gonna tell you like this, I’ve never been one to complain about another man and his job. I feel like, if I complain I’m making an excuse of where I’m at. That’s one thing I don’t do, I don’t make any excuses for where I’m at because of some other man. I’m not making no other man be blockage of my money. So how is Jay-Z running the label? You got to think to yourself, hey could you do it better? And I’m like, eh, it’s his first time running a label and in the next year or so, he’ll smooth it out, you never know. I ain’t going to make no excuse for him because you know, like I said, you got a choice. If you don’t feel ish is right at the label, you can say I don’t want to drop now. Nobody forces you to drop an album. They gave me slots to drop my album, they gave me two times. They said, ‘Look, I got a window for you. I got a window for you here to drop in August; I got a window for you here to drop in November.’ I didn’t take it.
So it just wasn’t right?
I just didn’t take it. It didn’t feel right man. And for the cats who dropped in August, they ain’t getting nothing. I’m really pissed about my man Meth and what his album is doing. He’s not getting the right promotion, but you know, that’s the name of the game. And you know, I can sit here and say ‘yeah, Jay ain’t doing his job’, but I ain’t dropped my album yet for me to say that. But once I get out there on that road, and once my album is out, I’m not going to sit around and depend on Jay. He know it, I know it, and the label know it. They know I’m self-sufficient. You will never hear me in an interview saying ‘F*** Jay, he ain’t do the man right’. Jay is his own man and I’m my own man, I feel I’m just as big as that nigga. So maybe I can get in there, hit the road and tell him what to do. Like I said man, sometimes it just takes patience, sometimes it might take a long time for you to drop an album, but hey, why not have the patience and do it right.
So what’s up with the crew, Gillahouse?
Gilla House Crew, Gilla is short for gorilla. I like gorillas, everybody knows that I’m a gorilla since my first album, so I just shortened. Gilla House isn’t just a gang, it’s a movement. We’re a movement of good music. What does Gilla mean? Gilla means over the top. When we’re in the studio… put it this way, you know when you’re dealing with anybody doing any kind of work or a hobby or anything they love, you want to show it to somebody. You’ll be like ‘This one is nice, I want to show you this one’ then you get to one you ain’t so proud and you say ‘This one I’m still working on,’ Gilla is eliminating all that. It’s everything over the top. It’s like ‘Do you feel good about this song? Is it Gilla enough? Will it get the crowd rockin’? Nah, I just kind of like it—well ‘x’ it then.’ There’s no in between, no BS. Everything is off the rocker, everything has to be Gilla. And we definitely want to state that we’re not just a gang from the street because we’re from the hood. We’re a movement of good music and we want everybody to recognize that so when we do you come out, they ain’t ‘Okay, here goes another rap group with a gang of people doing videos’, nah we just want to be known as Gilla House and everyone will be like ‘We’re just going to support them because they’re going to give us some good music.
So who is in the crew?
The crew consists of Saukrates from
So other than the Gilla crew, who else do you have on the album?
No special guests man, I don’t consider these special guests but like Meth, Snoop, you know me and Snoop are always trading off verses for each other’s album so and Nate Dogg. You know I keep it simple, I don’t try to go for the big win or reach like “Oh, you got so and so, or you got so and so singing’, I just try to keep it family so I can show my fans that it’s still hip-hop going on without the special guests on every record. So I got people that’s family on there that you would not be surprised to see on there. Now, I’ll tell you what I did do different is I didn’t have Rockwilder and Erick Sermon produce the whole album. I got tracks from other people as well.
Can you spill the beans?
Man, I don’t like shooting names like that, that’s never been my forte. I got like five or six producers on there and you know they’re already from…. Well, Eminem did one… you know it ranges from Eminem to Scott Storch. Timbaland did one. And you know, it sounds funny for a Redman album, you know ‘Scott Storch on a Redman abum!!?!’ But I’ve known Scott Storch for awhile and I see Timbaland and these are cats that I see. So when thy give me some music, its not like they’re reaching for the big single like if Scott Storch was going to do something for Jay-Z or 50 Cent. They ain’t reaching for the big single like that; they’re reaching to give me something big that’s in a Redman sense. Because they know that Redman has a core of fans that’s not mixed with this commercial stuff that you hear on the radio. So they’re like, ‘We wanna give this nigga something that he can rock with for his following. So it’s cool, you ain’t gonna hear, ‘Oh he got the big singing single, or he got the big Scott Storch or Timbaland single’, so nah it’s none of that. It’s good and I like it.
So any Def Squad projects coming?
Of course, we got Def Squad coming. We got the Keith Murray project finished and it’s on the way. Def Squad is on my album as well, they help promote the push. And hopefully we can get in here with a Def Squad album, probably in the middle of next year.
What about you and Method Man?
A new Blackout album from me and Meth, we’ll probably be working on that next year. We need to do that now, we’re lazy. You know, the game done changed and we’re trying to keep our head above water. I just want people to know about me and Meth. We learned from a lot of mistakes, we’re not sellouts. We’re out here, we’re back in the hip-hop game and we’re trying to get everyone circling on the Red and Meth thing like it used to be. We want to get our smokers back. So if ya’ll ain’t hearing us, we’re in a tight grind right now to make the situation better. So we’re going to work on this Blackout 2 as soon as we get both our stuff together.
What about movies and acting?
How High 2, definitely. Matter of fact, when we do the How High 2, we’re going to promote the Blackout 2 as the soundtrack to the movie, that will be great. As far as acting I’ll do it if they ask. As you can see, for me, I do certain parts that mean something. You don’t see me all over the films but, I did a couple, put it this way, I don’t want to be just an actor. I think acting is great, but I really want to direct. I have a movie that I’m writing that I want to direct probably within the next two years after I learn more. The acting thing yeah, I’ll probably act if it’s in my own movie, but you gotta understand I haven’t played in a lot of parts. My track record of movies is pretty good, I ain’t do a whole lot of movies, but the ones I did counted. Like The Seed of Chucky, I was kissing up on the star of the movie ya know! What can I say about that? I was up with the star of the movie. I did How High and I did the Seed of Chucky and in both of them, I didn’t die early! I died in the middle of the movie so I had a pretty good run. I had offers for other movies and I read for other movies and what they see in me, they see so much talent but they know and I know, as in acting I need to learn more. Like if you turn on the camera, I can go, you know what I’m saying? But there’s certain things I need to learn about acting that I know, because I think acting is a gift. Just like rapping. I feel kind of offended to think that an actor can just come in and just start rapping and be the man, ya know? Nah, you got to put in time.
So you’re working on the writing side of things then as well?
Yeah, that’s what I want to do; I want to learn the craft for that. Put together nice writing teams, write my own movie, shoot the b**** and get the money.
So are you still hanging around
Does Jersey have its own hip-hop scene or is it just kind of melded with New York?
Yeah, we got our own separate thing, we don’t rock like New York cats. They know it and we know it. It ain’t no secret. Jersey cats was the the ones poppin’ off with punchlines since way back in the day, I’ve been spittin’ punchlines since 1991. Jersey definitely has its own thing and that’s what we’re here to state too. On my new mixtape, “Live from the Bricks”, I’m stating that Jersey takes a lot of heat for New York. When we out on the west coast they don’t say that the east coast is Jersey, they say that the east coast is New York. So we rock for New York, if we out there we rep the east coast. So we take a a lot of heat for New York so we need some kind of homage from these New York cats on the radio, ya know? Jersey is on a rampage right now… we don’t give a…
So what’s your opinion of the game as a whole right now?
I love it. It’s just making us work harder that’s all. I’m not complaining about down South, I love down South. I’m glad that they got their shine and doing wat they want to do. And I put it like this, if ya’ll are tired of the down South movement, put out some stuff that’ll make a change, shut it down. Everything that goes up, must come down. Everybody knows that. Down South ain’t going to reign forever, just like east coast couldn’t reign forever, just like west coast couldn’t reign forever. Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound had that west coast going on with The Chronic for three years, then it had to slow down. New York had it going for awhile and it had to slow down. Down south got it going right now and they’re going to have going for another year or so, then it’s going to slow down. It’s all about who’s going to be ready it’s time to get down. I love it, because if you notice, me and Erick Sermon are always down in Atlanta. I shot Muddy Waters’ “Pick it Up” in Atlanta. We did the first “How Can I Be Down?” conference in Atlanta. I had the tapes, I was selling the tapes and doing my own promo, everybody seen it. I had the big afro selling my ish, that was in Atlanta, that was at “How Can I Be Down?” So we always try to keep Atlanta poppin’ because Erick Sermon moved down their like 10 years ago, so we always tried to get some hip-hop down there. Everybody knows that. So we’re glad that Atlanta down south and everybody is doing their thing, so we’re not worried about it. I only say that because I know the talk in the streets and when you’re talking how you feel about hip-hop and where it’s going. That question is really about what do you think about the new artists in the game that’s evolving hip-hop and the new artists is mostly down south cats and I think its great. And if you notice, it’s coming back around to piano beats, that’s what we started with like Planet Rock, Soulsonic Force, those were all keyboard beats. And it came back right around to it, you got to dig the revolution and you got to be on your rap game to really know what’s going on. Is it really down south or is it just really coming back around? So you got ask yourself that man, I’m just very appreciative of music.
So you don’t agree with Nas assertion that Hip-Hop is dead?
Well, that’s Nas’ opinion. Maybe Nas feels like hip-hop is dead. For me, if hip-hop is dead we wouldn’t be able to get a dime out here. We can barely get a quarter out here anyway, but if hip-hop was really dead we couldn’t get a dime from no one.
Any last words?
Yeah man, I just want everybody to support the Gilla House Movement. Anybody who’s a Redman fan, support the Gilla House Movement. I’m not stopping anything, my music just got grown. And if you’ve been a Redman fan all these years and you grew with me, you understand what I’m talking about. I can’t go back talking about the young stuff I used to, I’m a grown man now. I’m still crazy but I’m grown. Just keep supporting me and what we’re doing and I’ll see you in a hood near you!