Back in 2001, MTV Cribs was known for its tours through the lavish homes of then-current rap titans including Master P’s gold mansion, Missy Elliot’s race car bed, and Sisqo’s “dragon’s lair.”
Yet nothing can top a notorious season two episode with New Jersey’s Redman, two years after the release of Blackout!, his debut full-length collaboration with Method Man, and months before the release of their time traveling stoner-comedy flick How High.
Red was tasting success, with his fifth solo album Malpractice set to land at #4 on the Billboard charts that summer, yet he continued to keep it real like a struggle rapper in a grimy duplex on Staten Island. Welcoming MTV’s camera crew to “De La Casa”, he changed the reality TV game forever. Watch the full clip here.
Highlights of the rapid-fire five-minute edit barrage include Redman’s shoebox full of cash on top of his fridge, a doorbell that required its wires to be rubbed together, and the immortal shot of his cousin Sugar Bear crashed out on the living room carpet next to some remotes and a baseball cap. In one of the most entertaining oral history articles out there, Thrillist caught up with Cribs creator Nina L. Diaz, crew members, Redman, and Sugar Bear (now known as Mr. Cream). It proves once and for all that the clip was far from a hoax. Let’s let them speak for themselves:
Redman: While everybody was trying to show a lavish house, the lavish life of living, that’s not always the case. Not every entertainer’s living lavish. They may have a more lavish set on the street, but it’s still real for a lot of cats out here in the entertainment game. We’re okay, but we’re not rich, and that’s what I wanted to display to my fans… I always try and think about what the ‘hood would say when I do things.
Diaz: You never knew what you were getting into. We didn’t case the joint. Each time people opened the door, and that was how they received us. It was a surprise, and [Redman] showed us around — there were dishes in the sink, pizza boxes everywhere, a piggy bank, his bedroom is a mess. He was quite proud of it, and it was so refreshing because everyone in hip-hop is so style-conscious.
Mr. Cream: The reason I was on the floor was because the couch — you know how it is when you’re sleeping on a leather couch and it gets all hot? When it’s too hot to sleep on the couch, I just go right to the floor. It’s a cooler situation.
As we’ve learned as recently as 2011, Redman is still keeping it real, traveling to Pennsylvania to buy fireworks for his kids when the item was banned for sale in New Jersey. Of course, Meth and Red are also behind some of the strangest and thirstiest musician endorsement commercials of all time for products like Right Guard, Sour Patch Kids, and St. Ides. But the proof’s in the pudding, as Cribs returned to De La Casa in 2014 and learned that he continues to avoid the ballerific life with the same shower curtains and his cash moved from a shoebox to a sock.