On this day, September 22, in hip-hop history…
1992: While there were rappers that were funny before Reggie Noble, Whut? Thee Album set a new standard for hardcore rap music with a comedic edge. Redman’s rhymes were rugged and as comedically raw as Eddie Murphy giving him a style that was unheard at the time and unmatched in the decades that followed. Two decades after its initial release, Whut? Thee Album remains one of hip-hop’s undeniable classic albums.
Whut? Thee Album owes a strong influence to a few of Redman’s idols who soon became mentors to a young Reggie Noble. According to Brian Coleman’s Check The Technique, a teenaged Redman idolized the smooth, slow flow of EPMD and the comic flair and gusto of Biz Markie. Redman would get a chance to work with all of these men after a chance meeting at an EPMD concert in Noble’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey, that led to Redman becoming one of the Long Island rap group’s solo artists. EPMD’s Erick Parrish would be instrumental in the production of Red’s debut, Whut? Thee Album, in 1992, co-producing many of the album’s tracks while mentoring Red in the art of studio production. Meanwhile, fellow comic rapper, Biz Markie, would take Red on the road to battle fellow rappers, helping bolster the young rapper’s reputation in hip-hop circles.
Twenty-years later, Redman’s Whut? The Album remains of the greatest debuts of all-time. Its P-Funk-influenced production gave it a left-field vibe for an East Coast rapper while his loud, raw comic raps made him an instant hit with rap fans. Whut? The Album would be certified Gold, a few months, after its initial release and many of its classic songs including “Time 4 Sum Aksion,” “Blow Your Mind” and “Tonight’s Da Night” would go on to be staples of parties for the next two decades. Whut? The Album is often considered one of Red’s finest efforts and a true classic to the modern rap fan.