1. Whut? Thee Album (1992)
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: September 22, 1992
Whut? Thee Album was a remarkable debut from Redman, which certified the New Jersey MC as one of East Coast hip-hop’s most promising forces. From his aggressive wordplay to the distinctive flow switch ups over funk-induced production, the album caters to both the thugs on the corners and the partygoers on the dance floors. Never shy of sharing his love for the sticky (“How To Roll A Blunt”), sex (“Tonight’s Da Night”), and stickups (“So Ruff”), Redman’s obnoxious subjects orbit around a bizarre, creative world created by his psyche. Funk Doc’s boasts are exciting throughout the album, as he unravels his trademark sense of humor (“A Day With Sooperman Lover”), as well as rowdy crowd pleasers (“Time 4 Sum Aksion,” “Watch Your Nuggets”) with vigorous rhyme schemes. This funky-rugged debut from the soon-to-be household name in hip-hop, still stands today as one of—if not the—most solid output by Reggie Noble.
2. Dare Iz a Darkside (1994)
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: November 22, 1994
While some may argue Dare Iz a Darkside is Redman’s least accessible album, it’s in fact, a conceptually-driven body of work that’s extremely exciting, in, albeit, a bizarre way. Much more odd and featuring a darker sound than his debut Whut? Thee Album, begins with “Bobyahed2dis,” where he dismisses the lesser bunch of MCs by exaggerating his lyrical prowess to outer space. The album flows with fair dosage of violence and blunted batch of oddities, as scent of marijuana emanates throughout its soundscape on standout cuts such as “A Million And 1 Buddha Spots,” and the Leon Haywood-sampled single “Rockafella.” Its production makes a successful landing on the funky planet full of samples from the Ohio Players, George Clinton, and Mary Jane Girls. And while its funk can’t match its predecessor, the production still stands on its own. Funk Doc’s shape-shifting persona is surely unconventional, but its wild sense of renegade humor always manages to excite.
3. Muddy Waters (1996)
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: December 10, 1996
On Muddy Waters, Redman’s lyrical dexterity and flow reach new heights. as he completely morphs into a super-level MC, which later earned him his praise by Eminem on the rapper’s “’Til I Collapse.” The conceptually absurd twist on Dare Iz a Darkside, or the rookie’s yet-to-be molded delivery on Whut? Thee Album are gone and Reggie Noble’s rapping talents find a new playing field via his unpredictable cadences that hit the eardrums like punches from a kung-fu master. To accompany Redman’s high-flying raps, the beat canvases are cleaner—yet sharper and tougher—fitting the elastic wordplay by Funk Doc, touching upon the never-changing topics of his choice: sex, blunt, stickup, and violence, all bathed in humor. In Redman’s world, vignettes are still told with comedic descriptions (“Soopaman Luva 3”), MCs are still massacred while women are penetrated (“Rock Da Spot”), and blunts are still being smoked in hotel lobbies (“Smoke Buddha”). It’s a similar formula sharpened by Redman, and by Muddy Waters it has solidified as the Jersey native’s trademark sound. Muddy Waters, is no doubt, a classic album, which cemented Reggie Noble as one of the greatest rappers from the ‘90s.
4. Doc's da Name 2000 (1998)
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: December 8, 1998
’98 was a phenomenal year for Def Jam with multiple albums from the legendary hip-hop imprint acquiring both commercial and critical success. While then superstars Jay-Z and DMX were at the forefront of implanting their footholds, by then a veteran MC, Redman, released his follow-up to Muddy Waters, the equally funky and lyrically amusing Doc’s da Name 2000. As always, skits play a pivotal role illustrating Funk Doc’s vision. And on this turnaround, Redman conceptualizes a grimy and hilarious Dirty Jersey full of witty characters and flavor—very much like his rapping persona. The Rockwilder-produced “I’ll Bee Dat!” addresses the haters with amusing charm, show offs his ghetto fabulousness on “Jersey Yo!,” and never shies away from the green (“Keep On ‘99”). The flow remains intact on the tag-team record with Method Man (“Well All Rite Cha”), as well as the tongue twisting, multi-syllabic knockout, “Da Goodness.” What always separates Redman from other MCs is his ability to poke fun of himself. As he admits some of his bodily failures on “Da Da DaHHH,” it’s hard not to laugh along with the multifaceted talent, whose Doc’s da Name 2000 was another successful imprint on his catalogue.
5. Malpractice (2001)
Label: Def Jam
Release Date: May 22, 2001
“I fuck chicks off Elmo flicks,” exclaimed Redman on the Scarface-assisted “Real Niggaz” off Malpractice, proving yet again Reggie Noble’s subjects of choice touch far beyond what any rapper would typically consider as “real.” While its plush with humor as any of Reggie’s previous work, the fifth album from Jersey’s finest has several ups and downs on the production tip, which quivers with some of Funk Doc’s worst beat choices. Rockwilder’s dud (“Whut I’ma Do Now”) isn’t forgivable either, but at least he came through with what he was paid to do—the rowdy party anthem “Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get in da Club).” While Da Mascot (Redman’s producer title), on the other hand, does attempt to offer a wide array of sounds from funk (“Dat Bitch”) to Southern bounce (“Doggz 2”), he fails almost miserably, with his rapping persona’s mastery in flow and lyricism serving as saving graces. It’s never right to castigate an artist for approaching a broader spectrum, but it’s so difficult to not praise Redman’s more traditional collaboration with Erik Sermon on Malpractice (“Diggy Doc”; “Lick a Shot”), which more fittingly finds Redman in a comfortable mind frame. Maybe, surgery wasn’t needed on something that’s not broken, especially, if it’s a malpractice.