Review Summary: Attention all you punk mutha-fuckaz...
You may know him from his extensive film soundtrack history, or his performance in the rather famous pot-themed film “How High”. You may know him for his frequent association with Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man, or hopefully at least one of his solo hip-hop albums, because within their plastic confines Redman showcases a style either unmatched or perfected, depending on how many stoner-rap artists you’ve actually heard. On “Dare Iz A Darkside”, the Brick City bred rapper employs quirky metaphors and a commanding flow to create his most refined release ever. Why is this Redman at his best" Well, the three most important aspects of an MC are present and being exemplified in a masterful way here, which would be lyrics, flow, and charisma.
Red writes in a way that complements a constant flow, as opposed to a collection of brief one-liners. You’ll hear him go through two, three and even four bars before ending that particular sentence. The concepts are mostly superficial though delivered perfectly, and are accompanied by heavy, pounding beats (mostly produced by Redman himself, assisted by Erick Sermon and Rockwilder.) Instrumentally the album is pretty minimalistic, but that hardly detracts from the rapping, as Redman is a very dominating rapper with rhythmic clarity and a hypnotizing flow.
Redman’s lyrics encompass various subjects such as his overall skill as an MC, marijuana, killer hookers, his hometown of Brick City (Newark, New Jersey,) whack MCs, etc. His wordplay is above average, and his vocabulary is solid. I’ve heard complaints that a flow such as Redman’s is wasted on trivial subjects re-hashed from hip-hop of the past. But Redman isn’t entirely boastful:
Why you be acting all fly, when your monkey-ass work at fast food" And why is it every time that a multiplatinum artist, always use the underground to make a comeback" Is it fair to the hardcore niggaz that rap" That don't give a *** about the radio plus the next bitch at that" And being hardcore and mad about wearing high-tech boots and black skully hats" And making fake-ass frowns because your best buddy packs"
Redman is a self-proclaimed supporter of gritty street rap, a.k.a. The Underground. He’s certainly a famous rapper, but his tendency to represent his roots and keep it real so to speak is common. He’s from a golden-age of hip-hop where a rapper wouldn’t be recognized if his or her lyrical abilities weren’t up to par, and this discipline is apparent even to this day, still spitting rhymes that could put to shame everyone on the Billboard rap charts. He isn’t the best, but about as far from the worst as a rapper can get without being Tupac Shakur.
Charismatically, Redman is wealthy. “Dare Iz A Darkside”, and much of Redman’s music was obviously designed with the live show in mind – what with it’s smoking tunes, memorable lyrics, loud vocals and active MCing. There’s a reason he’s been nicknamed “The Funk Docta”. And if you recognize him from films and sitcoms, you’ll understand his hasty style of speaking and moving about. Even in interviews Redman is seen with an approachable atmosphere about him, somebody you’d probably like to chill with.
The downsides of “Dare Iz A Darkside” are few, but effective. The album is very similar throughout, sometimes if you aren’t paying very close attention to the track change you might not even notice it. Recycled drum loops, bass lines that very rarely differ, sometimes incoherent lyrics, among other things. Because of these unfortunate occurrences “Dare Iz” can be difficult to listen to all the way through. It was designed for that though, which makes it even more disappointing. It would be a bad decision to listen to this album in a tired state if you aren’t planning on passing out – because without a doubt, the majority of this record was written under the influence of ganja, a drug that causes sleepiness among other things that make functioning slightly more difficult. Writing music on drugs is great fun, but the end product can be less impressive than you originally thought while writing because of the drug distorting your sense of judgment. But while stoned, this album is pleasant, indeed.
Eerier than Redman’s other albums, and certainly more professional – “Dare Iz A Darkside” is a fine example of a rapper realizing his potential, and while not necessarily using it to it’s fullest, he’s utilized his creativity enough to hold his title as one of the 90’s most talented rap artists. On this album Red has shown us his rapping, producing and writing skills in one package – which he does elsewhere, but not as thematically. Highlights include “Soopaman Lova II”, “Basically”, “Can’t Wait”, “Green Island”, among others. Recommended to fans of slow-paced, relaxing lyrical hip-hop.