Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV's "Drink Champs," which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly "Drink Champs" episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
The latest season of "Drink Champs" has premiered on REVOLT TV with rap legend Redman, who dropped by to partake in some drinks and a little smoke while taking a trip down memory lane. Originally making his name as a DJ for groups like Lords of the Underground, Redman was discovered by EPMD member Erick Sermon after impressing the Green Eye Bandit with an enthralling live performance. Making a full-fledged leap into the rap world, Redman scored appearances on EPMD's third and fourth albums, Business as Usual and Business Never Personal, before unleashing his own solo debut, Whut? Thee Album, in 1992. Releasing a succession of classic albums (Dare Iz a Darkside, Muddy Waters) during the '90s, Redman quickly became one of rap's most charismatic characters and deadliest wordsmiths, outshining some of the greatest rappers of all-time. With multiple hits and plaques to his name, as well as a reputation as one of rap's ambassadors of marijuana culture, the Brick City native has become a beloved figure in hip hop. From going Hollywood with partner-in-rhyme Method Man to rubbing shoulders with icons who are no longer here, Redman has done it all and enjoyed an incredible career. Years removed from his beginnings in the game, Redman reflects on it all in a fashion that only he can, making for an entertaining start to a new season of "Drink Champs."
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine highlights from Redman's episode of "Drink Champs." Take a look at them below.
1. Redman's Relationship With Harlem Legend Branson
One name that rings bells when discussing hip hop lore is Branson, who allegedly supplied rap's elite with the finest of greenery during the '90s. Being one of rap's most notorious stoners, it's no surprise that Redman's ties with the Harlem legend runs deep. "The Branson spot was an exclusive spot to be at," Redman recalls. "Me and Biggie definitely kicked it out there plenty of times. Biggie used to be there all the time and I used to know when he was out there 'cause if I pulled up and it was champagne bottles lined up, he was up there. It was a legendary spot that I used to wonder 'How in the fuck he had a spot running?' I'm talking about a dispensary in the early '90s, like free. Like everyone knew you'd go there to get your bud and shit. For us, it was a communications spot for us to get bud and for us to talk on the record, as well, and shit because them Cali niggas had that fire out there. We wasn't hardly getting that fire like them Cali niggas. So, that Branson was the closest thing we had to a fresh Cali bud. But, the triangle bag -- exclusive! If you had the triangle bag, you was an official nigga!"
2. Redman and Faith Evans Once Dated
During a previous episode of "Drink Champs," R&B singer Faith Evans revealed that her and Redman once dated as teenagers in New Jersey. Redman himself confirms the story, giving viewers intimate tidbits of their short-lived relationship. "Yeah, me and Faith dated early. You know what's funny? Faith was the first woman my mother caught us in the bed with. My mother came in that room, she was like, "Get y'all motherfucking asses up out my goddamn room!' But, that was my love, though. That was an early age. That was way before anything. But then, we went up in the game and we always remained friends up in this game 'cause it's like [New] Jersey, we got a code. We don't give a fuck where you came from, what route you're going in, we're always gonna stick together because we always felt we had to fight to get in that New York circle y'all tried to block us out from [for] so long. So, when we come up in the game, it don't matter. We stick together, man. From Rah Digga to Treach, we all remain friends still to this day."
3. How He Met Method Man
Redman's working and personal relationship with Method Man is well-documented, and the pair is regarded as one of the most beloved tandems in hip hop history. The Brick City spitter details the genesis of their brotherhood, which was sparked in part by Def Jam Records. "Meth said he met me at a Kriss Kross party and shit. But, I was high. I don't remember that shit, though. I think we did, though. But, when we got really connected was on the 'Month of the Man Tour.' It was a smart idea, too, because we [both] came out with an album around the same time. And we had a same kind of feel. So. it's like, 'Fuck it. Why don't we put these two together on the road and see what we create,' and we was out there smashing shit. And then, they came out with a Red and Meth song 'How High' and it just built from there, man.'"
4. His Feelings on How High 2
One topic of conversation was Redman's feelings about the forthcoming sequel to How High, Red and Meth's classic 2001 stoner flick. Starring rapper Lil Yachty and comedian DC Young Fly, How How 2 will be missing two key ingredients: Redman and Method Man's undeniable humor and charisma. However, Redman gives the two youngsters his blessings while explaining him and Meth's reasoning for not appearing in the film. "Not disappointed because I'm a kind of dude where I'm about the youth," Red responds when asked about his feelings about the sequel. "I'm about the youngins' coming up, and Lil Yachty and Young DC to feed their family like how Red and Meth fed our family off the How High entity. It was a good thing to be able to say that we started that shit. But, because of business rights and because of political [reasons], we're not a part of it. They're gonna create their own characters now. They asked us to be in the movie, not even [as] cameos, but to be in the movie, as well. But, we as grown men, we want to move on and own our own shit next time because we don't own High High. We came up with the ideas for How High. But, they own the characters and everything. So, we're gonna move on. And we already have a movie that's being written right now. Hopefully we can start shooting it by the end of this year or [the] tip of next year, and we're gonna own that shit and that's what it's about."
5. What Inspired His Legendary "MTV Cribs" Episode
Redman's 2001 appearance on "MTV Cribs" is hailed as one of the greatest television moments that hip hop has been responsible for, as the New Jersey native kept it unapologetically authentic with the public on the episode. In contrast to other "MTV Cribs" subjects -- who opted to rent homes to keep up the facade of a lavish lifestyle -- Redman's obligation to stay true to himself prompted him to go against the grain and give an unfiltered glimpse into his living accommodations. "It was like going near to their last season damn near 'cause I know I wasn't a part of the first couple of seasons, I know that," Redman recalls. "But, the only thing I know is they expected something else. We talked about it and they was like, 'We want you do 'MTV Cribs.' I was like, 'Aight, cool.' They said, 'We got a house we would like to put you in,' and I was like, 'Oh word,' and I had to think about that shit. My brand was on the line. Just in the midst of that decision, I had to make a real executive decision on that answer and I said, 'You know what? No, I don't want to rent a house, I want y'all to come to my house.' And they ain't have no idea where the fuck they was coming to. This house was in Staten Island. This was like a real estate project I was doing. But, I ended up staying in that bitch because I ain't have nowhere to go. True story. I ended up living there, I ain't have nowhere to go. So, these motherfuckers showed up, like, a half hour early trying to be all cocky and shit at my door, and they came in my shit and they was like, 'Damn.. this is where you staying at, for real?' I was like, 'Yeah, this is where we shooting at, for real.' And they was like, 'Okay, let's get the cameras rolling, let's set up.' They came in with an assumption and they left with an understanding. With appreciation of how an artist can be so known to the world, but appreciates staying in a spot like this to generate his brand. And still, to this day, I'm right in that spot."
6. What Hip Hop Has Done For Him
The saying "hip hop saved my life" is a phrase that has been uttered by countless figures who have benefited from their love of the culture. When asked what perks hip hop has bestowed onto him, Redman shares a similar sentiment. "Good fucking question. Besides putting money on the fucking table, it allowed me to be that nigga who I am. It helped mold me because I knew I wasn't working a 9 to fucking 5, and I knew I wasn't gonna be able to take orders from nobody -- waking up in the morning. The reason why I rap is 'cause I didn't wanna wake up in the morning, I'm not a morning nigga. I can't wake up in the morning taking orders from no motherfucking body, not even my mama. I need to mode, I need to get into myself and as creative as I am, I know that I would not be able to get up and take orders from 9 to 5, and be the man I'm supposed to be. Even though I did and I got fired from every job I had. I ain't quit, I got fired. So, what hip hop [has] done for me is molded me into this person who I am and actually brought out the reality of this world because I was able to travel here and there. Travel to this country, travel to this state and see how motherfuckers work, see how people work over here and live. See how people appreciate their culture over here, so it also opened my eyes to this fucking world, man. Shit, man, the only thing I knew was Newark. And I was afraid, like 'Look nigga. Either I'mma be rapping or selling drugs 'cause I ain't going to no 9 to 5, waking up and shit.'"
7. The History of the Hit Squad
One collective that made plenty of noise during the early '90s was the Hit Squad, which was led by EPMD. It consisted of a roster that included Redman, K-Solo, DJ Scratch, and Das EFX. Redman gave the Drink Champs a breakdown of how the Hit Squad initially came together and how it helped create a buzz for his album. "Das EFX was the last member to come in. And when Das EFX got signed, then I got signed. Then, we kind've came up with the Hit Squad. I think Parrish did it and we went out on the road. We called ourselves The Hit Squad. I don't think I had a strong single or anything. But, I was on the road with them. It was kinda before my album that we had the Hit Squad. I was going out doing freestyles and I was murdering shit. Murdering everything on the road every time they brought me out, I was murdering shit. We kind of started Hit Squad before "The Headbanger." I was on their third album when we went out on the road and then, we came up with "The Headbanger." So, it was right in between the third album and fourth album when Hit Squad kind of built up and we just took it there, man. We was rolling."
However, in early 1993, the Hit Squad broke up amid friction between the group's co-founders, Parrish Smith and Erick Sermon. "Parrish stayed with Hit Squad. Erick, we went and made Def Squad. It wasn't awkward, it was a business move. It wasn't nothing. It was like these two guys the bosses. They gotta go their way and learn, no big fucking deal.
8. Meeting 2Pac
During Redman's conversation with Noreaga and DJ EFN, his 1996 collaboration with 2Pac, "Got My Mind Made Up," -- and the slight controversy that accompanied it -- was brought up. While Redman appeared to be oblivious to the backlash from working with the late icon during the thick of the tension between the east and west coasts, he does remember his encounters with 2Pac being cordial. "Yeah, I seen 'Pac a couple of times," Red reveals. "I took pictures with 'Pac and shit. 'Pac, he was cool as fuck, bottom line. You know, it's certain motherfuckers, you carry an aura about yourself to where motherfuckers meet you, whatever they're doing in the world, they come down to a 'What's good, my nigga. How you?' to a certain level of respect 'cause you know that that person loves hip hop just as much as you do. So, it was always a mutual, good understanding when we seen each other, no red line or anything. My nigga."
9. His Memories of the 'Hard Knock Life Tour'
Hip hop has experienced its fair share of landmark tours that have become magical moments in time. But, one that captured the energy of rap during the late '90s was the 'Hard Knock Life Tour.' Boasting a lineup that included JAY-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records, DMX and Ruff Ryders Records, Ja Rule, and Method Man and Redman; the tour was famously documented in the 2000 film Backstage. When asked where the 'Hard Knock Life Tour' ranks in the pantheon of rap shows, Redman makes no hesitation in staking its claim as the best. "The most historical tour," the veteran MC declares, before revealing how him and Meth ended up on the lineup. "You know what? It was JAY and them coming into Def Jam, and they got the building hot. I mean, we had the building hot already with the artists that was bumping up there with us and everybody else. But, when they came in the building, it was like a growth because they had their own entity. They collabed with Def Jam and when they decided to do the fucking tour, it was just like we was that ingredient that they needed, and we was like, 'Fuck yeah.' For sixty days, sixty days straight. Everybody was on that shit, man. We'd work like four or five days out the week, drive two days out the week and had to rest for the bus driver and all that shit. It was literally like ten buses out that bitch damn near. We had fun out there.
Redman also recalled the moment he realized that him and Method Man were a part of something special. "I noticed it after the fucking first night because it was like game time. It was like you got like six or seven major niggas on the tour and it's like, who's gonna blow the building down and shit? And usually, man, I ain't even gonna lie, when Red and Meth came out and shit; niggas was still sweeping the floors, and niggas was putting up cups, and putting up chairs, and shit. And the building ain't get packed 'til the half of Red and Meth show, every night. It'd be a small crowd in the front. But, it would be kind of packed in the back and shit. And then, half [way through] our show, it'd get packed in the front. But, the first day when I knew it was gonna be a historical tour was the first day 'cause we all went out there to show our balls. We was like 'Fuck that, we coming on early. We blowing this shit down and then, we came out and we did our thing. We swung from the rope and shit, kicked niggas in the head and then, we stayed and watched JAY and them show, and DMX and them show, and we was like, 'Oh, man.' And they came in a couple of times early and watched our show and they was like, 'These niggas is flying.' And then, we seen them start adding more shit 'cause niggas ain't know we was flying. They had to come to our shit. We decided to fly when we knew how early we had to come on and shit. So, we was like, 'Fuck it, we had to make an impact.'"
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