Red – the Man without the Machine

The song “I Should Tell Ya Momma on You” was originally recorded behind the HVW8 Art + Design Gallery in December 2008. This raw video was posted on YouTube and became an instant online phenomenon. Equal parts G-funk, California Soul and Hobo Street, the song features full musical accompaniment created only by Red. The natural funk and flow struck a chord with an international audience representing a true Cali sound. In this era of T-Pain and excess studio production, the video showcased an almost forgotten musical form with no auto-tune or talk-box, only the beating of his chest and the hum of his throat as a bass kick and snare, and highlighted by signature vocals and original rhymes, this was Red – The Man Without The Machine.

As a Bay Area hip-hop artist coming to Los Angeles in the early 90’s, Red dreamed of making it in the rap game after seeing an Eazy-E video on MTV. Red, then known as Red the Rap Stallion, arrived in L.A. and headed straight to Capital Records for an impromptu (and unsolicited) audition; needless to say the audition didn’t work out. The road to riches isn’t always paved in gold, and after a series of unfortunate obstacles, Red found himself living on the streets.

Fast forward to December 2008 – Tyler “Ty G” Gibney of HVW8 films and posts Red’s “I Should Tell Ya Momma on You” on YouTube. Within days, the video becomes a viral sensation, now with over 325,000 You Tube hits and over 1.3 million hits on WorldstarHipHop.com to date (along with countless postings on other websites). The video has spawned dozens of versions and re-edits all based from the lo-fi recording of the now infamous YouTube video. Thousands have left comments after being awe-struck at what they witnessed in the video – from both coasts in the US to the streets of Iran.

Encouraged by his raw skills and talent, HVW8 got Red into Computer Jay’s Echo Park studio for a couple recording sessions before he was prematurely incarcerated on a parole violation. Only able to record one complete take in the studio, and after his re-arrest, HVW8’s Tyler Gibney and Addison Liu reached out to CHOPS and Dam-Funk to apply their world class talents.

CHOPS, who has produced for Jeezy, Game and Bun B to name a few, heard a sound along the lines of Roger, but with a new hardcore West Coast style; he was up for the challenge of working on the track without Red’s presence in the studio. Meanwhile, Peanut Butter Wolf of Stones Throw Records was also excited about what he heard and had their resident funk maestro Dam-Funk busy at work lacing the track into a new West Coast funk classic.

Red represents many things; undiscovered talent, the darkside of the Hollywood dream, hopes of a second chance and most importantly the idea of not to underestimate anyone….even the homeless fellow that you pass on the street without ever noticing.

This release not only represents a ‘second chance’ for Red, but also a voice for the marginalized aspects of US society. Proceeds of this album will go to Red with the intention of getting him off the street and ending the vicious cycle of the California prison system, with the hope of a better tomorrow. This is a real- life rags to (hopefully) riches story in the making. Not bad for a guy hanging in the parking lot trying to get a break.

– HVW8 July 2009

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