What Fresh Sell

Not to get all No Logo on that ass, or to make sweeping generalizations, but a big chunk of mainstream hip-hop is really just advertising. For what, I'm not exactly sure. Redman is something of a throwback to a time when rap was more of a self-contained, self-sustaining form—Glocks and Gucci were a bit farther down the totem pole than they are today, and being a Microphone Fiend was more important then being a real player. But like the rest of his Def Jam brethren, Reggie's worked ardently to develop a brand-awareness: an easily encapsulated, nearly cartoonish identity. For instance: Jay-Z = Jigga the fashion-aware pimp, or DMX = the moody guy who barks. Redman's niche is the most fun, I think. His brand: hip-hop's class clown who you wouldn't want to fuck with. If you're gonna buy brand name, if you're gonna buy big, buy Redman.

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