Thursday, September 17, 2009

mothafuckin' old school video of the day

Tonight's Da Night by Redman (c.1993)

Years ago I saw one of those BET Top 25 video countdowns being hosted by Redman and Method Man. Slotted in at #10 was the video for 'King of Rock' by Run-DMC, for which Redman made the ludacris comment, "This is actually my favorite video of all time. Black and white film, leather jackets, it don't get no more gully than that!" Later, when 'Throw Ya Gunz' by Onyx was declared #1, Method Man prefaced the selection by fondly reminiscing, "This came out back in the day when you could walk into da club in a hoodie and your big, dirty-ass boots on and not get shit." 

The comments, while providing a good laugh at the time, were actually quite insightful into the duo's overall creative process, in particular Redman's. In the video to 'Tonight's Da Night,' perhaps the quintessential Redman track, the aforementioned aesthetics dominate: filmed in black and white, the video pretty much consists of Red rolling around the Trenton, NJ hood in the dead of winter, and chilling on the project steps with his crew. Almost a proto-version of 'Ha,' before that particular genre of hip-hop music video rose to prominence. Nothing really happens in the video, but it's still enthralling, mainly because it lends legitimacy to Redman's ethos of keeping it real as summarized in the line "I never claim to be a big rap star because no matter who you are, you still catch a bullet scar." This mission statement was later confirmed in the classic Redman 'Cribs' episode in which he showed off his very real 2 story woodframe. The highlight of the video has to be when Red says the line "I'm not an addict, more like puff the magic/ Then pass it when I'm through cuz my crew gots to have it!" at which point there's a cut to a shot of red's whole crew standing out on the porch in full winter coats shouting the last 4 words of the line. The last verse, in which Red is inexplicably rapping with a wad of tissue stuck up one of his nostrels, is also classic. 

The truest lyrics in the whole song have to be the final lines of the last full verse, in which Redman declares "Niggas fucked up by letting me make an album/ (how come rudeboy?) To get on the mic and let my fuckin' style run!"

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