October: Redman’s Muddy Waters
In October, Hip-Hop will feature Redman’s Muddy Waters. Released in December 1996, the Gold-certified album cemented Redman as an unmistakable presence in hip-hop at large, championing his rugged, grimy boom-bap with a Jersey twist and many herbs to twist up. This reissue comes on 2LP Green and Black Smoke vinyl, paired with an exclusive stencil.
Approaching its 24th anniversary, Muddy Waters has persevered through the era that birthed it as a work that showcases Redman at his best: outlandishly endearing and energized beyond belief. It’s for the smokers, drinkers, thinkers, and day-to-day lifers, even impacting those that don’t partake in said activities. “You know how special it is when an album can feel like the essence of someone you know,” said VMP Senior Writer and Good Convo host Michael Penn II. “Redman embodies the homie who’s always on one, but always on his square nonetheless. And, he’s a breathtaking rapper to match all that down-to-earth energy; the real’s never lost in the smokescreen.”
For VMP Editorial Director Andrew Winistorfer, he takes great pleasure in clearing the air around how formidable Redman was. "It's hard to remember this now, given his public persona and How High, but Redman was one of the most consistent and consistently entertaining rappers of the ’90s,” Winistorfer said. “This album was and is his magnum opus: a triumph of him and Erick Sermon delivering a grimy, slap-heavy clinic in West Coast-influenced boom bap. At turns funny and frightening, this is an album that deserves its place on your shelves, where it'll put a boot in the ass of its competitors."
November: People Under The Stairs’ O.S.T.
In November, Hip-Hop will feature People Under the Stairs’ O.S.T. Released in June 2002, this album remains critically acclaimed in the independent West Coast canon for its innovative sampling and true dedication to the craft. This is the first O.S.T. reissue since its original pressing, coming on 2LP Coke Bottle Clear and Cream Galaxy vinyl, paired with an exclusive stencil.
If you love hip-hop at its fundamentals, Double K and Thes One crafted this record for true heads. O.S.T. was made from globetrotting through the crates and soundtracking their L.A. lifestyle; like most People Under the Stairs records, it was made right in the crib. For Winistorfer, O.S.T. is not only a prime candidate to receive new light, but another chance for VMP to shine through our curation.
“O.S.T. is the kind of record that VMP loves to do: Out of print, hard to find, secretly incredible, and an opportunity for us to work directly with the artist to make this happen,” Winistorfer said. “It's like a forgotten classic, one of those albums that fell into the slipstream of early-aughts rap — appreciated by the ones who could speak about it, but unknown by the masses. It's great to do this album with our Hip-Hop subscription and get it into the hands of people who will love it."
For Penn, the O.S.T. repress is a full circle moment from his early adulthood. “I opened for People Under the Stairs back in 2012, on their 10th Anniversary tour for this record,” Penn said. “I’d never heard of ’em, but hella people were in there enjoying themselves, and I count myself among ’em. Hearing this project now and almost another decade’s passed was a real trip, and I definitely see why folks went so up for this. It speaks to the head still reeling inside me whenever I hear a sample freaked just the right way, with just the right rhymes on it, no cut.”
December: Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty
And to close out 2020, Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is December’s VMP Hip-Hop selection. It’s the 10th Anniversary edition, and the first official repress since 2010, coming on 2LP Purple and Silver Galaxy vinyl.
After being trapped in a label shuffle, bookended by creative frustration and rumors of an OutKast breakup, Big Boi fought his way through the red tape to deliver a genre-bending blockbuster of a solo record, stretching across eras and influences. Left Foot rides like a southern timewarp, moonlighting as a tribute to Big’s late father. By leaning into all the sounds that fed his soul, Big was primed for the spotlight, no matter what the streets said or the suits thought. Winistorfer remembers the public perception vividly:
"Big Boi kind of got a reputation as being the more straightforward — for lack of a better word, regular — guy in OutKast,” Winistorfer said. “But it felt like Sir Lucious Left Foot was the final notice that he was as sonically adventurous as rappers were in 2010. He had to be the only guy with a Sleepy Brown feature, to also have a weird indie rock band on one of the best songs on his album. He co-signed Janelle Monae before anyone else and made a rap album as wild as the albums she'd eventually make: genre-bending and distinctly, completely, his own."
As a child of the blog era, Penn resonates deeply with what Big Boi offered up on this critical darling. “I feel like I’m from the generation that primed all this genreless music as a default,” Penn said. “So to hear an OG like Big Boi do it — like, really do it — was something beautiful to bear witness to. It’s a rap record, it’s hip-hop as fuck, but he played all the way outside the boundaries and rapped his ass off while doing it! It’s an attitude I admire, and aim to emulate myself.”