REVIEW: Redman - Dare Iz A Darkside

Wednesday 10th April 2013 | Alex


Redman tweets about how bad this album is. Thing is though, it’s not; maybe it’s that its sound wasn’t fashionable, or maybe it’s because other albums of 1994 – ‘Ready To Die’, ‘Illmatic’ – cast such a shadow, but ‘Dare Iz A Darkside’ is enormously underrated. It’s a bit simple in places, but there’s something about Redman here: he gives his funk a gritty fiendishness that isn’t quite matched in his later work.

Redman’s menacing; it’s an unusual sound for him. Trademark Reggie is visible: he’s confident, wild and funky as on his debut: ‘Whut? Thee Album’. But, he’s oddly sinister here and I’m digging it – it suits him. The production here is venomous: powerful, muscular thumps fuse the funk to the fantastical; ‘Bobyahed2dis’ and ‘Journee Throo Da Darkside’ are standouts. Redman actually handles his own production, and the rugged eccentricity of his backing carries into his rhymes. He’s noxious but rudely confident: Redman’s seriously nasty; he sneers and grins throughout leisurely swank. On ‘Green Island’ it’s such over-the-top leering – such audacity in his trademark gruff delivery, that only an artist with such absurd charisma could pull it off:

“Can I, Drop the funk on ya, Run it on ya, Strong as ammonia, Smell it from here to California.”

What makes this album really creepy though – really bizarre, is when it’s otherworldly; I’m thinking: “Let me lick your funky emotions with my cosmic lyrics” (Reggie’s actually referencing a lyric from massively influential 70s funk group Parliament here.) It’s all looming, sinister sexuality, and Funk’s brought to life, elevated to supernatural heights as Redman’s to manipulate:

“Rainin’ on you punks, with the funk, So get ya umbrellas.”

Two things about ‘Dare Iz A Darkside’ are exceptional: it’s damn scary and damn weird, if that’s what you’re into. Having said this, in other ways the album isn’t nearly as ambitious. Redman’s distinctive growl pairs well with his slow, threatening backing. But, it all makes his structure a bit simple – too simple; in places it’s just plodding and tangled. On ‘Can’t Wait’ he’s got his fierce bark, but it hinders any attempt at vocal agility. You might think “Nah, that’s not what he’s going for”; It’s not, but it’s still limiting.

‘Dare Iz A Darkside’ is paranormal, eerie and feral, but intriguing. If that’s what you want, great. If you’re after a bit more – a record that excels in all areas – look elsewhere.


Get at Redman on twitter - @therealredman 

Written by Alex Dean (@AlexDean94)