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Redman 

Red Gone Wild (Def Jam)

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It's hard to say what's more surprising: that Redman's sixth solo album is actually decent or that it even exists. The long-rumored Red Gone Wild seemed to be floating in the ether for years, along with all the ganja smoke from the New Jersey rapper's pothead flick How High. But here's the disc at last, and the results make it seem like the Funk Doc never left -- which isn't entirely desirable.

Like most hip-hop albums in 2001 -- when Red last rhymed for Def Jam -- Red Gone Wild is too long, too needlessly diverse (the addition of producer Pete Rock is primo, but there's waaay too much of Red's Gilla crew), and too single-minded. By the time you stumble upon the Snoop-and-Nate-Dogg-assisted "Merry Jane," you'll probably be too smoked out. Fortunately, though, Red has lost neither his sense of humor nor his cutting wit, and several of these ridiculously blunt, blunted tracks -- including the latest installment of the blaxploitastic "Soopaman Luva" saga and the Jersey anthem "Dis Is Brick City" -- bring back the silly, smack-talking Red you know and love.

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