When people list the greatest rap albums of all time, there are a few that are certain to come up: Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full, Run DMC’s Raising Hell. But there are some albums that, for no apparent reason, are left off of nearly everyone’s list.
Well I’m going to make sure you don’t continue to make this mistake. In this space, I will periodically remind you of a different rap album that you may have forgotten about, or just forgotten how good it was. Maybe you won’t put every one of them on your Top 10 list but I hope you’ll at least gain an appreciation for them.
Redman – Whut? Thee Album
Produced by Erick Sermon and Reggie Noble 1992, Rush Associated Labels
Forget overlooked, Redman’s debut is one of the greatest rap albums of all time. In fact, I consider it my favorite. It is a prime example of something whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I could listen to any one track off the album on its own; they’re all good. But Whut?’s greatness is in its continuous flow from top to bottom. Just when one beat is starting to get a little tired, the album changes directions and brings in a new one. It’s uncanny how good the timing is sometimes. Well-placed interruptions, although abrupt, even help keep the album moving in a strange way. I can’t think of another album that does this nearly as well.
When I think of most albums of any kind, I think of what songs are on them. When I think of Whut?, I think of Thee Album as a whole. Composition aside, the album combines great use of beats, sampling, lyrics, and funny interludes.
Few of the samples are anything we haven’t heard before. It’s the standard Parliament, James Brown, etc. But the way they’re intertwined gives them their own flavor. A good example is the use of two overlapping samples of George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” in the bridge of “Watch Yo Nuggets”.
If you don’t already own this thing, I suggest you make it the next rap album you get. Then listen to it, beginning to end. You’ll hear what I’m talking about.