Erick Sermon Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Redman “Time 4 Sum Aksion” (1992)



Album: Whut? Thee Album
Label: Def Jam
Producer: Erick Sermon

Erick Sermon: “It's so bugged out. I went to L.A., and Demmette Guidry, he ran some department at Sony, and we just landed and he picked us up. And he had the Cypress Hill cassette. And Cypress Hill had me twisted. I was like, 'Wow.'

"So I called [Ice] Cube, and I was like, 'Yo Cube, I want to bring something by your video.' Me and Ice Cube were tight. So I come by, and I pull out the Cypress Hill [tape.] Next thing you know, I see Cube in the 'How I Could Just Kill A Man' video. I'm like, 'What the fuck?!' It was that fast that he got cool with them.

“When I was making the beat, I had that record near. That record was so dope. And the reason why I was able to use that, 'Time 4 Sum Aksion,' is because the vocals were by themselves. And B-Real's voice is so ill. It cuts. The beat was made, and you always want to have a hip-hop vocal sample. That's my formula. Find a dope sample to go on the beat, if you can.

 

I called Ice Cube, and I was like, 'Yo Cube, I want to bring something by your video.' I come by and I pull out the Cypress Hill tape. Next thing you know, I see Cube in the 'How I Could Just Kill A Man' video. I'm like, 'What the?!' It was that fast that he got cool with them.

 

“[Working with Redman] was just a thing off of EPMD for me. I was well into production now, working on EPMD's fourth album in '91. So now, it was more of my thought process.

"I knew [Redman] was more of a funk dude who got what I liked. Reggie said when he first heard EPMD, he knew what lane he wanted to be in. He was always writing and doing records, but he didn't like how it was sounding over there. The stuff that we did matched him. Like, 'That's what I want!' And then he ended up meeting me.

“Reggie was a big N.W.A fan. So when you hear Whut? Thee Album, there's a lot of N.W.A [influence]. The interludes, the transactions within the beat [and different vocal parts dropping in during the verse] like, 'Redman ready to rock, I got a Glock then, 'Blaaaow.'' That's all Dr. Dre. There's a lot of stuff like N.W.A and The Bomb Squad on that album.

“Reggie was intricate with that. He knew how to make excitement in the record. He crafted 'Time 4 Sum Aksion.' He crafted that record. We all had engineers, and he knew what he wanted to hear, [so he would give them instructions]. And Reggie was a DJ himself, so he knew how to drop things in and out."

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