The High Times Interview: Redman

Photo by Dale Shirley

In 1993, Redman—a.k.a. Reggie Noble—was a new-school rapper fresh off a solo debut (1992’s Whut? Thee Album) teaching hip-hop fans “How to Roll a Blunt” when he made his High Times debut on our March ’93 cover. Since then, Redman has hosted our awards shows, headlined (and judged at) various Cannabis Cups and, of course, graced the pages of the magazine numerous times. It’s safe to say that Redman—known as your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper—is also HT’s favorite rapper. Sure, he’s an elite rhyme-maker and brilliant performer who’s achieved success through his solo work, mixtape mastery and long-time collaboration with Method Man, including the legendary stoner flick How High. But if you spend five minutes with Redman, you’ll be swept away by his genuine positivity for all things cannabis. He may be the only guy in the game not trying to get rich off the marijuana industry—an industry he helped pave the way for through his tireless promotion of the plant. We caught up with Mr. Noble shortly after his performance in front of a capacity crowd at the 2017 SoCal Cannabis Cup.

HT: You’ve had a relationship with High Times for a long time ….

RM: Very long time.

And played shows at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.

Absolutely—the best time in Amsterdam.

Do you have a favorite Cannabis Cup memory there?

Taking a picture with Jack [Herer] before he passed. That was legendary for me. And the performance was fabulous, and the place we stayed in—that rented house—it was just full of marijuana. And we rolled a big hash blunt—a big, fat slab of hash, spread that shit out and put marijuana in it, rolled the whole fucking hash slab with weed in it, and that shit was amazing.

How has the weed scene changed since the ’80s and ’90s?

Well, it got stronger, definitely. Got greener. On the East Coast, you know, we don’t get it like y’all get it on the West Coast, so it definitely upgraded in our sector, I would say, by the greenery, by the taste, by the high. But the politics of it has grown—it being legalized, you know—and the medical side of it, how it’s helping people and helping disorders. It’s just fascinating how many cannabinoids pot has—and THC is just one of them. So the science of it, the political side of it… I love how Denver, Colorado, is using it: They’re helping the state grow with it, helping education and things like that. So there’s a lot of things that this plant has done over the years since I came in the game of just wanting to get high.

Now, it’s more business. But I love the way it’s helping people, too. I love the way that medical patients are turning away from over-the-counter drugs and turning to CBD strains and seeing how it’s better. That fascinates me. It seems like I was a part of something and I didn’t know it was going to grow this big, and I was there helping promote it.

Speaking of the industry, you’re involved with a brand called CannaMark that focuses on safety in edibles, right?

Yeah, CannaMarkUSA. Well, Redman and Method Man… we don’t have our name on vape pens, or a Redman and Method Man grow. I’m looking at the bigger picture. I want to be behind the safety of digesting and smoking marijuana when it’s legalized, because I know it’s going to be legalized throughout the whole world. I believe in that. It will be.

But I want to be behind the safety of it, and CannaMarkUSA right now is a company that doesn’t deal with the marijuana plant itself, but it’s the first FDA-approved edible with a 100-percent-all-natural warning label that goes right on the infused candy. We’re just trying to stop kids from ingesting candy that they don’t know [has weed in it], and people trying to blame pot on their actions and shit like that. So we have this label that goes directly on the candy, and it comes with an app: You can actually take your phone and go over that candy to see what it’s infused with. You can take your phone and it’ll read that candy right on the spot, tell you how many grams it’s infused with, even how many bites you should take before you get fucked up, who manufactured it, is it a sativa, indica or hybrid—all the goodies. And it tells you even more. You can look us up: CannaMarkUSA. That’s what I’m a part of.

And a Blazenow app that we dropped—the Redman and Method Man Blazenow app. It’s an app that tells you all the hottest dispensaries and more. I’m behind the company, like I have stock in that company—I feel good in it. So we want y’all to go tune in to that app.

You’ve been part of the High Times family for years. You were on the cover a few times.

Well, first of all, I was knocking on y’all door to be on the fucking cover—first of fucking all, all right? Because, like I said earlier, we was smoking a lot of brown weed. Now, don’t get me wrong: You get some good brown, some good tar weed, some sticky tar—oh yeah, we puts it down in the East Coast for that. But at that time, I seen Cypress Hill on the fucking cover. It was like the first rap group on the cover, and they had that goddamned green bud I never seen that was from Cali. I was like, “There’s something out there, another world that I’m not a part of,” and y’all guys were the first ones to show that, to tie in the rap world with the marijuana world. I was like, “Something’s ’bout to boil,” and I had to be on the cover. That’s when I knocked on y’all door. I said, “I gotta be on it,” and then I took my picture. I had my little blunt—I explained how to roll a blunt and everything. It was good.

Redman’s first High Times cover, March 1993

How long have you been performing with Method Man?

Since about 1939… no, I’ve been performing with my dude since 1994. We was on the road. We did the first promotional tour, which was known as the “Month of the Man” tour. Def Jam sponsored that. We was under Def Jam; they put us two together in a van, and we toured the cities doing in-store, shaking hands, communicating .… Which you people don’t know about now because you got all this fancy Internet bullshit, but we actually had to go out and sell records and go to stores and shake fans’ hands and sign autographs right there. We didn’t have too many outlets, so that’s what took us there: that struggle, that motivation of being in a van traveling, knowing that we wanted more. That’s where we created the song “How High”—on the road.

And that became the inspiration for the film How High?

Oh yeah, later on they just tagged on us smoking. We was like Cheech & Chong—they called us the Cheech & Chong of the rap world.

We heard something about a How High 2. Is it really in the works?

How High 2 is in the works. I know y’all bastards out there been hearing us say this for like 10 years. And my mom is up and telling me, “Pray for what you want.” So I’ve been praying about this, and I think Universal—maybe Focus—picked up the movie. It’s being written, but we’re a little shaky on the written part. So you know how that go, the political part of it—I won’t do the shit unless it’s fucking funny. I won’t taint the first fucking one; I’ll leave it as a legend and do something new. But I will not do no corny fucking shit like they did on that other goddamned movie—I ain’t gonna call it out…

Right now, you guys are on the Mount Kushmore tour. Was that name inspired by the HIGH TIMES cover [featuring Snoop Dogg, B-Real, Redman and Method Man on the June 2014 issue]?

Abso-fucking-lutely! Wooooooo! I’m glad I was a part of that, too. I helped put that together. And, you know, just getting all us together—it was time. And who better to do it with than the pioneers of High Times?

The famed June 2014 Mount Kushmore cover


You’re also an honorary member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Shit, the craziest meeting I had out of all the members is RZA. Sitting down with RZA is like sitting down talking to someone from outer space, out of this world.

And you were obviously an important member of Def Squad.

I’m still an important member of Def Squad. That’s my first team.

What are you working on now?

I’m dropping Muddy Waters 2. That’s what I’m doing first. I’m bringing it back… no, it’s already back—fuck that. I’m just giving y’all that ’90s feel of beats, something else different. I like to give eargasms and shit, you know? Ain’t nobody giving eargasms no more. Nobody ain’t fucking you in the ear no more. I want to fuck you in the ear with some music.

What are your thoughts on dabbing and the concentrates craze?

That dabbing is serious. You gotta be a champ to be dabbing all fucking day and do business. That’s just a little bit too much for me. I tried it a couple of times, but I fucked around and tried it before I went onstage. I was onstage, I was fucking up, forgetting shit. But afterwards I hit it, a good, clean sativa dab. But I wouldn’t do it on the regular, because the setup is just too fucking much—you know, you gotta put this here and rig that there and burn this here and burn the right part going in there and then… it’s a little bit too much. I’d rather just roll that blunt, keep it moving. Keep it swift.

What’s the best weed you’ve ever smoked?

Sour Diesel is one of my favorites to smoke because it gives me good motivation, gives me energy. I like to work a lot: I’m in a studio maybe 16 hours a day. I’m a studio bunny, so I can’t fuck with indica too much—not at all during the day. I don’t like to be sluggish; I like to be energized, I like to be creative. But a good hybrid, like the XJ-1, I just can’t get my hands on enough of that goddamned junk. Besides the Blue Dream and some simple, good sativas, a fresh batch of XJ-1—oh my God, you’ll be cleaning and writing rhymes at the same time, vacuuming and shit, sweeping and shit, writing rhymes. And it’s good. It’s like caffeine—I don’t drink coffee and shit, so XJ-1 take me there. And then, maybe at night, I might get a good Cookie or something like that. I like that Gelato too, that new Gelato. Oooh, Lord.

What have you learned about the cannabis industry after all these years?

That I’m not in it for the money. You know that—goddamn, I forgot what I was on, TMZ? I forget who was interviewing me. They was boxing me in, like telling me about, you know, people who’s succeeding in having marijuana farms and investing in marijuana farms and why haven’t I done that yet, why haven’t I capitalized on making money off this plant that I’ve been promoting for years? For one, I’m in it for the help and for the knowledge and to really help people. That’s what I’m about, and that’s what I told them, too.

They tried to box me in, but I stood my ground. My mama called me—and she don’t call me for shit—and she was like, “You know what? I like how you stood your ground. I know your black ass been smoking all these years, and I’ve been trying to get your black ass to stop smoking, but I see what it’s about from that interview, that you’re really serious about helping these people. And they tried to get you out your goddamn zone, but you stayed in your goddamn zone.”

And that’s where I’m at—I want to help people. I’m glad that it’s helping people. I’m glad people can enjoy this plant that we’ve been talking about for years. I’m glad that y’all at High Times are getting out the knowledge and the proper understanding of what this plant is about—and it’s not just about recreational. That’s what I’m glad I’m a part of, and I hope that y’all help legalize this plant through all 50 states. Let’s help your community and let’s help your state grow and educate and put money back in your state.

You’re such a great ambassador for cannabis, and for hip-hop—every time you perform, you always give it your all.

When I’m out there walking with a walker, I’m still going to be performing for HIGH TIMES. Fuck that… yes, sir!


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