Why is it that rap music seems to be littered with incredibly talented MCs that never get their due while artists with inferior skills cash giant checks? Every genre of music (and every other art form) has its underrated, underexposed stars whose work is passed around like a secret, and their work is typically looked at retroactively as seminal or essential. Still, it can be frustrating in the present tense (both for fans and for the artists themselves).
Such is the case with Redman, the New Jersey-based rapper who has at least one stone cold classic album under his belt (his 1992 debut Whut? Thee Album) and another pair of absolutely essential LPs. One of those is the album that came out on this day in 1998: Doc's Da Name 2000 (the "2000" was an inexplicable thing that Def Jam tacked onto most of their releases at the end of the millennium, perhaps in a bid to sound "futuristic"). It's a stunning slab of rubber band funk cruising below Red's unique mix of hardcore street tales, left-field boasting and cheeky R-rated humor.
Despite the greatness of Doc's Da Name 2000 (as well as subsequent albums, including the pair of LPs he cut with Method Man), Redman is rarely mentioned on conversations about the greatest MCs of all time. But you need only spin "Tear It Off" (from the first Blackout album), "Whateva Man" (from 1996's Muddy Waters) or the first single from Doc's Da Name 2000, "I'll Bee Dat," which had a fantastically whacked-out video. (Also, do yourself a favor and spin Blackout 2, which contains one of the great lyrics of the year: "Call your moms on the phone, it's the jam/ I got jet skis that ride over land.")