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24 February, 2004@12:00 am

    What do you do when you are one of the most respected rtists in hip-hop,chosen by both the commercial scene and the hard to please underground heads? When you have had a career that artists envy, from movies to music to commercials. When you’ve released a slew of albums and have a catalog that would make most other rappers jealous. When your label just ain’t pushing you to
that next level like they should. And to top it all off, your name is Reggie Noble aka Funk Doctor Spock aka Redman. What do you do? You give the biz the third finger and promote yourself with mixtapes, 50 Cent style. That’s just what Redman has done with the
release of the Ill At Will Mixtape vol. 1. By having his growth as an artist stunted by the powers over at Def Jam, Reggie has chosen to take matters into his own hands, as only he can do.

 As soon as “Da Countdown (Saga Continues)” explodes into the listeners’ ears, all will know that Redman means business. Quipping quotable after quotable Red fires lyrical slugs at an insane pace. And don’t think for one minute that he’s too bashful to speak on his label woes as he rifles off “Def Jam lost they soul/they forgot how to build artists so I have to show em.” If anyone forgot why Redman is one of the best emcees in the biz, trust that after he rips through “Da Countdown” memories will be jogged. Ill at Will features Red
going nuts with previews from his next LP Red Gone Wild and dropping a few freestyles in between. As Red tears other rappers’ beats to shreds, more than a few heads will be forced to take notice. From flipping over Busta Rhymes “Give It To You” on “Don’t Want It
With Us”, to pounding out Jay-Z’s “What More Can I Say” with “Bricks Standup”, Red leaves a lasting impression throughout.

     One of the most promising and shockingly ill moments comes from the Eminem produced “I C Dead People”, as Red takes his craft to the next level by weaving lines from the late Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Big L, and Big Pun into his rhyme scheme. Not only is the concept innovative in its own right, but it comes off incredibly dope. Other highlights include Redman’s romp with Big Snoop Dogg  on the rambunctious “Yeah Yeah” and tag teaming with Icarus on “Redlite District”. And what would a Redman offering be without laugh out loud punch lines and witty one-liners as seen on “Search 4 Barney”: “Get you weight up or prepare for the drama/I’m never scared and yall shake like Muhammad/Ali I smoke the ivory out in Raleigh/beef and broccoli make me slur like Ozzy” and “I keep the shine where my neck at/I need a loan from Jay to buy the Nets back”). No doubt that after heads soak up the latest from Reggie Noble, the buzz will commence.

       Whatever the case may be, Redman is not an artist that Def Jam or any label should take lightly. With the right push he could easily be the all star that his career stats show him to be. But with all label bullshit and drama aside, Redman still manages to
deliver a dope mixtape to whet the appetites of the many little Redman’s out there. So until Red Gone Wild hits the shelves we the people will have to settle for his own shameless self-promotion. But who’s really complaining?

  Mixtape D.L.
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