For the March, 1993 issue of High Times, Greg Casseus profiled the incomparable Redman. In honor of his birthday April 17, we’re republishing it below.
Redman in 1993
For the High Times interview with Redman (a.k.a. Reggie Noble), we bring a pack of Phillies Blunt cigars and a bag of healthy green buddha. Redman is the new-school rapper who tells everyone “How to Roll a Blunt” on his fat debut, Whut? Thee Album. Before he arrives, several attempts at rolling The Perfect Blunt fail miserably. Redman, wearing a blue jumpsuit and EPMD hat, strolls in and immediately begins showing off his technique.
“I split it down the middle with my fingernails, you know, real simple,” he says. “Sometimes I leave the ass on, sometimes I take it off, it depends on how I’m rolling.” Redman’s referring to the curved end of the cigar. As he undresses the Phillie, he stops short of peeling away the blunt’s outer leaf, as advised by Cypress Hill’s B-Real in High Times. “I don’t separate the paper,” Redman relates, “’cause I roll my shit thick. I don’t roll, like, little thin ones. Peace to B-Real and to all them Cypress Hill n!gg@s ’cause they’re dedicated reeferheads. That’s what we need, muthafuckas who’s for real.”
Redman rolls it up, licks the whole blunt and then dries it with the flame of his lighter. “This looks like some good shit,” he smiles. “Let’s burn it.”
Redman, in case you haven’t heard, is probably the most outspoken rapper since Cypress Hill on the subject of buddha. Whut? Thee Album (RAL/Chaos) contains dozens of references to blunt smoking, most notably on the raucous party anthem, “How to Roll a Blunt.” So what’s up with pot’s sudden and pervasive prominence in hip-hop?
Red says, “Hip-hop came from the street and everybody knows the street is full of drugs. Weed is all over. People got this idea that hip-hop is nothing but violent street shit for the n!gg@rs, so weed is just another part of the violent shit. What they don’t know is that there’s been more cases of drunk driving and dying because of drinking, or dying over fuckin’ tobacco cigarettes than weed. You can’t die from weed!”
Red doesn’t see his heavy involvement with the blunt issue as jumping on a bandwagon. “When I saw Cypress Hill, I was happy that a rap group finally stepped up,” he explains. “I was gonna do it, but Cypress Hill came out first. I want people to know that I’m not ashamed of what I do.”
“I don’t just get potted. I know what’s going on in my environment, with the community out here. That’s why I did ‘So Ruff.’ But the rest of my shit is strictly funk—Afrolistic, Funkasaurus Rex-type shit. I don’t really talk about politics and racial shit. I leave that to different groups for the simple fact that if everybody talked about the same shit then there would be no categories in rap. It’s like different flavors for different neighbors.”
As a member of EPMD’s now-infamous Hit Squad, along with Das EFX and K-Solo, Redman has developed a hardcore funk sound. He writes all the lyrics and half the P-Funk-heavy music with Erick Sermon of EPMD. “I met them in Newark, New Jersey, where I’m from, at a club called Sensations,” Red says with some reservation. “I ain’t really stressing that because every interviewer asks me that—they don’t really stress my shit or what I do. Just say I met them and shit went down.”
It’s time to roll another blunt. Redman takes the opportunity now to compare Phillies and White Owls. “Some people don’t use Phillies. Muthafuckas is usin’ White Owl for the simple fact that it is a thicker flavor, but it’s nastier because it’s thicker. It burns real slow. Real slow.”
Redman carefully lights the brown bomber. “A lot of people have a problem with lighting a blunt! That’s one of the hardest things about the whole shit ’cause, see, muthafuckas think it’s like a cigarette. They just put it in their mouth and light it. That’s why they always get a canoe.”
Redman kicks back as the sweet smoke fills the room. “I treat my music as an individual, you know, as a person, a human life,” he says in a burst of thought. “You gotta puff weed to really get deep like that.”