Last Friday, marked the release of Redman's 8th solo LP, Mudface. The brand new project from the New Jersey rapper is his first as an independent artist after spending most of his musical career under the Def Jam imprint. Five years removed from his last solo effort, Reggie, The Funk Doc Spock's latest album is a breath of fresh air in a trap-influenced scene.

Featuring 13 tracks and production from Rick Rock, !llmind, Mike&Keys, Rockwilder and more, Mudface serves as an appetizer for Redman's long-awaited sequel to his 1996 project, Muddy Waters. While fans await MW2, the latest offering from the How High rapper, comes off the heels of his much-raved about BET Cypher appearance, which had plenty of people talking.

Closing out the 4th quarter of 2015 with a new project, Redman has his eyes set on next year, as he looks to drop the much-anticipated Muddy Waters 2 and venture off more into he world of film and TV. XXL recently chopped it up with the living legend to find out more about his latest album and his upcoming projects, as well as his feelings after the epic call with Eminem a few days ago.-Roger Krastz

Art by Dom Dirtee

 

How long did it take you to record your latest LP, Mudface?
That was pretty quick because I was actually working on the Muddy Waters 2 album and it’s going to take a little bit more time to do that album for the magnitude I want to take it. I just want to keep relevancy with this Mudface album. This really is my first solo project being off of Def Jam, so I wanted to get the ball rolling back on the Redman brand.

With this project being your first independent album, what's the difference between being on a major to working independently?
The difference is that I don’t have no one over my head or no opinions. I was always self-sufficient even when I was with Def Jam. When you work for a company you always, well I know, I try to give advice to young kids and other peers that when you work for a company you just don’t want to be an employee, you want to be an asset. You want them to need you, so I built that relationship with Def Jam that I can hold my own, what I do is selling units, so what they kind of gave me, I would say, is my own creative control after my second album. When I did it and that still went gold, they kind of gave me the ball to do what I wanted to do and I learned a lot from it. I was always self-sufficient. I was always doing an independent kind of move while I was still with a label. They just stamped it. Now, the difference is I gotta pay directly for my car services. I gotta pay for everything directly now. I’m working on other people’s time, which made me be more appreciative of learning the business and other people's time as well as on how they conduct business. So it’s a good learning experience than being signed to a label. I never liked the boss over me telling me what songs I should put out or use. Everything is just moving well and as you see the hype I created is just like a label is behind me, but I did it myself.

Tell me about some of the features and producers on this album?
The production on the album: Eric Sermon did “Somebody Got Robbed,” but that single is not on this album. He'll be on Muddy Waters 2, but I got 13 joints on there with two skits. The second joint on the album is produced by Rockwilder. “Beastin' (MCA)” is produced by me. I got Labor Department and Mike&Keys on there. The single “Dopeman” is produced by Rick Rock. “Let It Go” produced by Jahlil Beats. “Bars” produced by TheoryHazit. “How to Come Down” produced by my boy Boris from Bulgaria. “Undeniable” produced by !llmind and “Go Hard” produced by Marvel.

You’ve been known for your outlandish album covers, how did the album cover for Mudface come about?
I came in with the idea, but you know the real album cover that I was supposed to shoot was supposed to be for Muddy Waters 2 but the level I’m going to take that is going to be crazy. So my boy Dom Dirtee he does graphics and I've been keeping in touch with him for the longest, but he’s real talented on the graphics and he showed me some of the work he did and he just said I just want to toss some ideas with you for the next joint. You know how we do, you give a brother a chance and you see what kind of work he comes up with and this is the cover he presented to me. He made the character into a person. It’s so detailed the way he made it and it came out dope. I was always creative with the artwork. Always creative with the visuals. That’s what made me standout.

Will there ever be a Hit Squad Reunion?
I don’t know about that. Def Squad, maybe, yes. Before the BET Cypher we talked about it and we all brothers you know, a small unit. It was always us three, so it ain't hard for us to come and do an album, but you know we needed that cypher that kind of give us some gas and everybody was surprised about the cypher. I mean, we just didn’t get to the cypher and get nice, we’ve been nice! I would say people weren’t tuned in, so you know, doing an EP we were thinking about doing that, just going oversees and drop that EP because it’s all about branding and creating that awareness and driving traffic, so you’ll probably have to look for the EP.

Is there a release date already for Muddy Waters 2?
I don’t have a date just yet, but 2016 I’m dropping it.

Will fans get to see another Blackout 3 album in the future?
Absolutely. We actually want to make it the soundtrack to How High 2.

So when is How High 2 dropping?
Yeah, How High 2 is not going to drop until at least 2017. The writers are still writing the script. Just looking at it time wise and being realistic about it. By the time we shoot it, get it edited, color corrected, that’s going to be a year or so, so yeah about 2017.

That call between you and Eminem was such a hip-hop moment, how was that for you?
Man, Em has always been cool. Even when he used to come out to Brick City with the Outsidaz. Even after that when I bumped into Eminem when we did the record you know, when I used to go to Detroit a lot I used to stop by Em’s crib and Proof used to pick me up, so they're definitely like hip-hop family man. Em, bottom line, he’s younger than me and I look at him like, "Yo, that’s my dude!" I appreciate him for respecting me for my craft that might’ve helped him in his career. After that interview you know, just knowing Em for Em, it just made me realize how large that man is. That motherfucker is large for him to call me and that shit blows up everywhere and I mean it was everywhere like it was an event, but I guess that's what hip-hop needs. They want to see that communication. They want to see that love. That family. You know, that unity that we used to have in the ‘90s on some real shit and the best thing about it, why people loved it, is because we’re two fierce MCs; straight the fuck up! We ain't just some weak ass teeny-bopping rappers. We’re two fierce MCs connecting like bang! There was a lot that generated from that conversation.