Whut? Thee Album

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Whut? Thee Album
Studio album by Redman
Released September 22, 1992
Recorded 1991-1992
Ian London Studios
(East Islip, New York)
North Shore Soundworks
(Commack, New York)
Power Play Studios
(New York, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 51:42
Label Def Jam
Producer Erick Sermon (exec.), Reggie Noble, Pete Rock
Redman chronology
Whut? Thee Album
(1992)
Dare Iz a Darkside
(1994)
Singles from Whut? Thee Album
  1. "Blow Your Mind"
    Released: August 27, 1992
  2. "Time 4 Sum Aksion"
    Released: January 12, 1993
  3. "Tonight's da Night"
    Released: May 4, 1993

Whut? Thee Album is the debut album from American hip hop artist Redman, released September 22, 1992 on Def Jam Recordings. While taking place at Ian London Studios, North Shore Soundworks and Power Play Studios, recording sessions began in 1991 and continued into 1992. The album heavily features production from mentor and fellow Hit Squad member Erick Sermon as well as Redman himself under his birth name, with additional production from Pete Rock.

Upon its release, Whut? Thee Album peaked at number forty-nine on the Billboard 200 chart. By June 1993 it was certified gold in sales by the RIAA, after sales exceeding 500,000 copies in the United States. The album initially garnered favorable reviews from music critics due to Redman's humorous lyrics, and the album's production, which was noted as having the "EPMD sound." Over the years, Whut? has been commonly esteemed as a classic hip hop album, and along with Muddy Waters, it is widely regarded as Redman's best work.

Background[edit]

Reggie "Redman" Noble spent the majority of his youth selling drugs, and DJing at clubs and parties.[1] At the age of 16 he began rapping, being heavily influenced by the comedy raps of Biz Markie.[1] Although he would eventually become a close affiliate of the hip hop duo EPMD, it wasn't until 1990 that Redman first met them, while DJing for DoItAll (of Lords of the Underground) at a club where MC Lyte was headlining.[1] The two parties eventually met backstage where a freestyle cipher was taking place,[2] with EPMD member Erick Sermon being so impressed with Redman's raps that he invited him to perform during the duo's set.[2] Before long, EPMD quickly embraced Redman as a Hit Squad member, while they brought him on tour to freestyle and DJ at their shows.[3] In addition, EPMD gave Redman two guest spots for the songs "Hardcore" and "Brothers on My Jock", off their third album Business as Usual (1990), which helped him gain expousure in the hip hop underground. One year later, Redman was signed to Def Jam, where he began writing and recording what would eventually become Whut? Thee Album.[3]

According to Erick Sermon, Q-Tip (from the group A Tribe Called Quest) was instrumental in Redman's obtaining a record deal.[4] Q-Tip had been in the Rush Management offices, and after hearing Redman's song "Jam 4 U", tried to persuade Lyor Cohen and Big D ([Lyor's tour manager]) to give Redman a deal.[4] Initially, Sermon stated that Cohen wasn't too interested in the material, stating "We had "Hardcore", the teaser, and then when an early bootleg of "Head Banger" came out, they were like, 'we made the right choice.'"[4]

Recording for the album began in 1991, and continued into 1992, while taking place at Ian London Studios, North Shore Soundworks, and Power Play Studios.[5] During this time, Redman did another collaboration with EPMD on their fourth album Business Never Personal (1992). As EPMD member Parish Smith is often credited for mentoring Hit Squad artists Das EFX and K-Solo, Erick Sermon helped mentor Redman throughout the album, while receiving co-production credits for most of the album's songs.[3] In spite of this, Redman was still left alone throughout the majority of the writing and recording process.[6] He later recollected "For that whole album I was under a lot of pressure to learn, and learn quickly. Erick showed me a couple of recording moves, then threw me in the studio and just left me there. I had to learn and do it myself. Erick was always there if I really needed him, so it wasn't that bad. But he had his own shit to deal with and he figured I was okay on my own."[7] Redman further stated "When I first started doing the album I was mad at Erick for leaving me in the studio. I was like 'what the fuck am I doing here?' I had an album to hit the world with, and it was just up to me. But I'm glad he did it, because I learned everything that I needed to."[6]

Release and reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album peaked at forty-nine on the U.S. Billboard 200 and reached the fifth spot on the R&B Albums chart.[8] By June 1993 the album was certified gold.[9]

Initial reaction[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
Robert Christgau (neither)[11]
Entertainment Weekly A−[12]
Melody Maker 4.5/5 stars[13]
RapReviews 10/10[14]
The Source 4.5/5 stars[15]
The Washington Post (favorable)[16]

Whut? Thee Album received positive reviews from music critics upon its release. Entertainment Weekly's James Bernard gave the album an A- rating, and called it "engaging, hilarious, bargain-basement funk that doesn't care what you think".[12] In its November 1992 issue, The Source magazine rated it 4½ out of 5 "mics", with writer Matty C declaring the album as living up to the expectations it accumulated in the previous year. Although he was un-favorable of its skits, he praised the album's "funky" production, and Redman's charismatic lyrics and flow, stating "...not only has he mastered the laid back, homicidal flow, but he can also have you picking yourself up from the floor from his hysterical punchlines".[15] In his review for The Washington Post, Gil Griffin wrote "EPMD produced this album and give it their trademark, thick hard funky stamp, while Redman kicks it with his deep, convincing voice, likening himself to a psycho, a lover and a fighter. The booming drums come in extra handy on "Blow Your Mind," "Time 4 Sum Aksion" and "So Ruff," where he flows with free-style rhymes".[16]

Retrospect[edit]

Since its initial release, Whut? Thee Album has risen in stature, and has been regarded as a hip hop classic from several music critics and writers. In 1998, it was included in the Source magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums list.[17] In 2000, Melody Maker gave the album 4½ out of 5 stars, while calling it a "landmark hip-hop album".[13] Allmusic's Steve Huey gave the album 4½ out of 5 stars, stating "Whut? Thee Album is a terrific debut that established Redman as one of the top MCs on the East Coast. His aggressive delivery is more than hardcore enough for the streets, but Whut? is first and foremost a party record ... He's able to carry it all off with a singular sense of style, thanks to a wild sense of humor that results in some outlandish boasts, surreal threats, and hilarious left-field jokes."[10] In 2008, Henry Adaso from About.com ranked Whut? Thee Album number five on his Best Rap Albums of 1992 list,[18] and number 32 on his 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums list.[19]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Psycho Ward"   Reggie Noble 1:28
2. "Time 4 Sum Aksion"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:25
3. "Da Funk"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 2:18
4. "News Break"   Reggie Noble 0:38
5. "So Ruff"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:47
6. "Rated 'R'"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:21
7. "Watch Yo' Nuggets" (featuring Erick Sermon) Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:50
8. "Psycho Dub"   Reggie Noble 0:28
9. "Jam 4 U"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:06
10. "Blow Your Mind"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:56
11. "Hardcore"   Erick Sermon, Parrish Smith, Mr. Bozack 1:59
12. "Funky Uncles"   Reggie Noble 1:06
13. "Redman Meets Reggie Noble"   Reggie Noble 2:31
14. "Tonight's Da Night" (featuring Hurricane G) Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:22
15. "Blow Your Mind" (Remix) Reggie Noble 3:18
16. "I'm a Bad"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 2:52
17. "Sessed One Night"   Reggie Noble 0:49
18. "How to Roll a Blunt"   Reggie Noble, Pete Rock 3:23
19. "Sooper Luver Interview"   Reggie Noble 0:53
20. "A Day of Sooperman Lover"   Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble 3:50
21. "Encore"   Reggie Noble 1:21
Total length:
51:42

Sample credits[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Information adapted from album liner notes.

Chart history[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1992)[8] Peak
position
U.S. Billboard 200 49
U.S. R&B Albums 5

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions[20]
U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks U.S. Hot Rap Singles
1992 "Blow Your Mind" 4 42 1
1993 "Time 4 Sum Aksion" 32 63 1
"Tonight's da Night" 78 20

"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Coleman (2007) P. 362
  2. ^ a b Coleman (2007) P. 362-363
  3. ^ a b c Coleman (2007) P. 363
  4. ^ a b c Markman, Rob, Thompson, Bonsu. "Moment". XXL (November 2009): pg. 054.
  5. ^ Credits as per liner notes for Whut? Thee Album.
  6. ^ a b Coleman (2007) P. 364
  7. ^ Coleman (2007) P. 363-364
  8. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Whut? Thee Album > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  9. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – November 15, 2006 : Search Results – Redman". RIAA. Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  10. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "allmusic ((( Whut? Thee Album > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (1992). "Review: Whut? Thee Album". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  12. ^ a b Bernard, James (1992-11-06). "Whut? Thee Album – Music – EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  13. ^ a b "Whut? Thee Album Review Snippets". cduniverse.com. 2000-05-21. Retrieved 2011-02-04.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  14. ^ Spratt, Ryan (2001-03-10). "Redman :: Whut? Thee Album :: Def Jam". RapReviews.com. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  15. ^ a b C, Matty (1992). "RECORD REPORT – ALBUMS – REDMAN – Whut... Thee... Album?". The Source. Retrieved 2010-08-17. 
  16. ^ a b Griffin, Gil (1992-11-27). "Redman –Whut? Thee Album Review – The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  17. ^ Columnist. 100 Best Rap Albums. The Source. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  18. ^ Adaso, Henry. Best Rap Albums of 1992. About.com. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  19. ^ Adaso, Henry. 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums. About.com. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  20. ^ "allmusic ((( Whut? Thee Album > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]