Since his debut, What? The Album, we’ve watched Reggie Noble’s formula evolve, but it forever remains rooted in the heart of what is painted to be the worst ghetto in the world, Brick City, New Jersey. Malpractice continues the tradition solidified with Red’s third and defining album, Muddy Waters, sticking to the script of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Paced instead of like an album, but rather and hour and half tuned into The Bricks’ own WKYA (Weebee Kickin’ Yo Ass) Radio, the ghetto element is exploited to def through humorous skits that somehow always end in gunfire. Like always, Redman is certainly in his prime as an emcee, proving so as he kicks down the door with both “Diggy Doc” and “Lick A Shot” - packing the same outrageous lyrical bravado we’re used to, over Erick Sermon’s likable, minimalist thumps. Continuing into “Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get In The Club)” - a banger that completely tears the roof off, Redman seems like a wildfire with no intent of extinguishing.
But as Malpractice continues on, the attempts to diversify the production outside the usual Erick Sermon / Rockwilder formula, are hit & miss. While the embracing of Canadian producer / emcee Saukrates definitely adds a new element to Red’s sound, (check el producto on both “Uh Huh” and “Muh-Fucka”), other new styles of are disastrous. If not saved by a continual display of skill from each Red, Meth, Street, and Sauks, “Enjoy Da Ride” may have been exiled as completely wack, due to its off kilter funhouse vibe, while tracks that dabble in jiggy / disco styles like “What I’ma Do Now” and “Dat Bitch” (feat. Missy Elliott), are embarrassments to Redman’s career. Further failed experiments include an attempt at grabbing the down-south crowd with “Doggz II”, and the horrible apocalyptic outro, “Smash Somethin’”.
Much of the remainder of the album is littered with guest appearances from outsiders like Treach and Scarface , and other cuts don’t even feature Redman at all, (“Bricks 2″), breaking up the continuity of the album. Meanwhile, while the new production experiments fail for the most part, many of those beats that stick to the script unfortunately still drown in E. Sermon or Rockwilder’s monotonous production formulas.
Being fair, this album will get you through the day, and Redman still has the ability to keep the listener hanging off every word, searching for the rewind, and making them laugh out loud. While the pressure on Def Jam artists to deliver each album annually may have effected the final outcome, for the most part, dedicated fans of R.E.D. will still enjoy the roller coaster Malpractice.
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