Redman: Reggie

C+

Redman

Album: Reggie
Label: Def Jam
C+

Redman

Album: Reggie
Label: Def Jam

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Redman has made a career out of not fixing what isn’t broken; he’s never been the type to chase trends or stray too far outside his comfort zone. Even his pop-culture references are older than some of his peers’, so on his latest, Reggie, it’s a little jarring hearing Auto-Tune on the chorus of “Full Nelson” and “Lemme Get 2.” Redman has made other changes as well. Mentor, Def Squad affiliate, and longtime producer Erick Sermon is nowhere to be found, and the meat-and-potatoes funk of Redman’s early albums has been replaced by waves of icy synthesizers. Lyrically, Redman remains one of hip-hop’s most incorrigible, consistent smartasses, but on Reggie, he unveils a softer side, whether he’s paying tribute to Michael Jackson and President Obama or engaging in a free-associative ramble about eating Thai food, flying on Continental, or listening to elevator music on flights. Reggie suffers from a dearth of standout tracks, and it features guest appearances from Redman’s Gilla House squad that do nothing but cast doubt on Redman’s judgment in protégés: It doesn’t help that Bun B and Method Man are on hand on “Lite 1 Witcha Boi” to make Ready Roc and Saukretes look worse by comparison. Reggie introduces a kinder, gentler Redman, and while the lack of skits is refreshing, it’d be kind of nice to have the old one back.

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