FFF — Yes indeed.
R —So as he was passin’ the number to my boy E, I memorized that. BANG!
FFF — Amazing. Amazing. In a split second you memorized seven digits.
R — God is good. God is good. Seven digits and I knew it was Long Island, so I was like I’m not even gonna confuse myself with the area code. I’ma remember the last seven. I didn’t press up and call, I said “Yo, I’ma let my boy do it.” First week I said, “Yo, did you call?” He said “No I’ma give him a little room to breathe.” Understand. A month go by, “Did you call?” “Yeah I called, no answer. ”Two months go by, three months, long story short, four, five months went past, he said he lost the number at the end of the day, and I said “Fuck that, I’m gonna call.”
FFF — There you go.
R — And I pulled that number out the stash, found that area code, called it. They said “Ericka in’ there, ”I was like “YES!” [Redman’s dogs start barking] Alright stop it, stop it.
FFF — Amazing. Even the dogs is excited to hear that you did what you had to do!
R — And then after that, when I finally got in touch with E, it was just like magic man. I ain’t had nowhere to go, my parents had kicked me out. He told me to come to Long Island to live and I went to go stay with him in a one-bedroom apartment with Bernard Alexander.
FFF — And from there, how soon after were your first records coming out?
R — Well I was on the road puttin’ in work for a while. I was living with him for like two years or something before my album came out.
FFF — Okay.
R — I was just puttin’ in work on the road, puttin’ in work in the studio, developing who I am and then you know Das EFX got down, so you know we was the Hit Squad now, and we movin’, and I came out in ’92 and that was history after that.
FFF — That’s beautiful, man. Man, so it’s fascinating now, I can remember having you on YO! MTV Raps a couple times in the early ‘90s — there was that concert, it was like a pay-per-view event, a rap pay-per-view event.
R — Yes, called Fat Jam.
FFF — And it was an interesting incident. I was the host of that event. There was a situation where the sound man was really...[laughs]...messin’ things up.
R — The sound man was a little bit out of order, yeah. You wanna talk about that moment, Unc?
FFF — [laughs] I mean, you know. It’s up to you.
R — Nah, we can talk about it. The thing was, we was performing, and I guess our time was short, and I think someone had longer time than we did and we wasn’t agreeing on it. They tried to cut our time and be disrespectful and send a white guy on my set to unplug the speakers.
FFF — Ohhhh...
R — So that’s why we did what we did.
FFF — ...I never heard the whole story, I was hostin’ in another part of the venue at that point. All I know, I could see it turned into a brawl on stage in the middle of your set!
R — Nah, c’mon. They sent the guy right in front of my stage show, right in front of me, and pulling the plugs out. And we wasn’t havin’ it.
FFF — They was being disrespectful. Most likely an example of many people that just hated the idea of rap music, what we were doing, what we were bringing to the table. That’s really what it was.
R — Probably.
FFF — And you stepped to him and lumped him up. [laughs]
R — Well, you know what, no — I sent my boys in, because I ain’t wanna get sued.
FFF — Okay.
R — So I sent my boys in. I probably got a couple hits in on somebody when someone wasn’t looking. But I wasn’t fuckin around and getting sued. The troops rushed in to handle that. But, at the end of the day, we apologized to Russell. I was young, and lesson being learned and shit.
FFF — Handle it like a gentleman.
R — Yeah, exactly. Don’t fuck with a n*gga speakers while I’m on stage. That’s it.
FFF — How does it feel—I get this a lot, and I’m sure you do too. I don’t mind things, like how the culture changes, how it evolves, different styles, different things coming along. A lot of the things I was involved in and what the flavor was going back to my film Wild Style, just people seeing all this on TV for the first time. There was a lot of resistance. But regardless we did what we had to do for the culture. Then things change as they always do, styles evolve. How do you feel about some of the things going on now in terms of what the younger artists are doing?
R — Well, you know what, at the end of the day, I can never shit on this thing we have called hip-hop, cause it allowed a lot of our peers, and a lot of people reppin’ our culture to come out and be somebody. Be a boss. Make earnings for their families and whatever.
FFF — Yes, yes.
R — Now, how the music part of it evolved? The thing is, as our cultures grew from the ‘70s to now, like, we had respect for the past. You couldn’t be in our era and not know who Grandmaster Flash was, or you couldn’t not know who Salt- N-Pepa was, or whatever.
FFF — Right, or The Cold Crush or Treacherous Three.
R — Right, you couldn’t be around in our era and like—N*gga, you a fake ass n*gga!—and you get checked. I think we lost that communication with the new era of them knowing the respect, and the people who got them there. And I blame that on the whole entire system, because the system is really lost when it comes to these kids, far as the government etc, et cetera. But I don’t get too political. I know as far as the music—
[Fab and Redman receive a video call]
TONY — Somebody wants to say hi to y’all.
R — Hey, Diddy!
DIDDY — Yo, what the fuck is goin’ on!?
FFF — Ayo Puff, I forgot to hit you today to tell you I had a great time watching The Four with you and the crew, and the food was amazing at your house last night. Wow! [laughs]
D — Thanks, baby. I just wanted to tell y’all guys I love you. Redman, I ain’t seen you in a minute, what’s up man?
R — Ayo, how you gonna have a dinner and not invite me, P? [laughs]
D — Ayo, I ain’t know you was in town. Man, I’ma make sure Tony gets my information. I’ma make sure that we link up as soon as possible, I miss you brother.
R — I miss you too, brother.
FFF — Aight Puff, lata. What a small world. Puff and I got a project we’re workin’ on together dealing with Africa.
R — Good shit, man.
FFF — But go back, you were talking about how some people are not acknowledging the new culture. Enough of the younger cats don’t seem to be acknowledging their recent history.
R — Exactly, which kinda loses the communication on you know, us and them and what they need to know to further they career. Cause you see, nowadays their career is like what, three years, if that? Three, four years? So my thing is with the new culture I have no problem with them at all. And it’s not us that’s making the decision on if they’re wack or not. Like, you have some of the new artists think, “Yeah some of these older artists are bitter.” We’re great because we have our brand, we are living. It’s the fans that’s telling y’all, y’all wack. Y’all are not making the fans believe y’all era is dope by the masses. Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Joey Badass, a couple of other guys, they can’t carry the whole culture on its own. Y’all need to be as a unit, like we was, to say this era is dope. Drake can’t do it on his own. All these other n*ggas can’t. Y’all doing it separately. We did it as a unit, that’s why our era I think is the most pivotal.
FFF — Well it clearly was. It’s foundational and it was a great opportunity. I was blessed to have been in the position to host the show,YO! MTV Raps and showcase people at a time even before rap music was on the radio, from city to city. It’s incredible. Tell me briefly the story about the amazing connection between you and Method Man, coming together as a new kind of dynamic duo. Independent artists, but Redman and Method Man was like something made in hip-hop heaven.
R — Right. I think Def Jam put that together. Like me and Meth was just doin’ our own thing on Def Jam. He was a new artist, I was a sophomore on my second album and we met and I guess Def Jam just thought it was the idea that since we had similar styles, similar kind of taste, that they would put us on a tour together.
FFF — Very complimentary to each other, brilliant.
R — Which was the Month of the Man promotional tour. One of the most known promotional tours at that point, and we went out and killed shit, and that’s when the entity of Redman and Method Man started. Just like, “Hey, why don’t y’all start an album together?” Fuck it, pass the blunt, let’s do the beats! “Why don’t y’all do a movie together?” Fuck it!
FFF — Doing a TV show together...
R — Yeah, exactly. The thing that made us evolve was that respect we had for each other. Everything starts with respect for each other. Business, money, all that shit is bullshit if you don’t have respect for each other and goals, to respect each other’s goals. And one thing that me and Meth can say is that it never tampered with our solo careers.