By Ben Salmon

The Bulletin

If you go

What: Method Man and Redman, with B-Real, Berner and Smoke DZA

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, doors open 7 p.m.

Cost: $32.50 plus fees in advance (ticket outlets listed at the website below), $35 at the door, $75 for VIP package

Where: Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend

Contact: www.random presents.com

The Smoker’s Club tour, a rolling celebration of rap music and marijuana that will stop in Bend Tuesday night (see “If you go”), has had a number of prominent headliners since it started in 2010, including Juicy J, Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. and Curren$y.

But just as legalization, decriminalization and acceptance of pot has spread in the past few years, so has the tour’s profile risen, and this fall, it has its biggest names yet atop the bill: the first duo of weed-hop, Method Man and Redman.

Unlike Curren$y (or, say, Wiz Khalifa), Meth and Red didn’t start out with personas centered around marijuana. In fact, both rose from the East Coast’s early-’90s hip-hop renaissance, Meth as the gravelly voiced breakout star of New York City’s Wu-Tang Clan, and Redman as a loquacious “funk doctor” from New Jersey who aligned early on with rap legends EPMD.

So both had successful solo careers long before they were cast as heavy-lidded buds in the 2001 movie “How High,” which received mostly negative reviews from critics, but has become a stoner classic in the 13 years since.

GO! Magazine caught up with Redman at a tour stop in Kansas. He’s an incredible talker, so we’re going to get out of the way and let the man talk. Below is an edited version of our interview.

GO!: The Smoker’s Club tour runs for six weeks and crosses the country twice. You’ve been in the rap game a long time. Do you still enjoy touring and traveling?

Redman: We love what we do, because we love giving the audience a show. That’s why Red and Meth are ranked one of the top three, if not two … within the top four best rap performers because we believe in giving the people what they want, and they want to see a show so we give ’em a show.

Now, do we love doing it? Yes. Do we feel like we have to rely on shows to pay bills? No. Sometimes it can be a headache when we have to do shows, like, ‘Damn we gotta do these shows to pay these bills.’ But that’s kind of on us. Me and Meth are now independent after 20 years on Def Jam. This is our first year being independent, so now we’re building other revenue channels. We can go out on the road and say, ‘Hey, I feel like going out on the road and making money.’ Not have to go out on the road and make money.

GO!: And there are worse ways to make money, for sure.

R: We could be flipping burgers and trying to make money and we’d rather do this.

GO!: You and Meth have been in business together for a long time. Most duos don’t make it that long. What’s your all’s secret?

R: You know what it is? Red and Meth have our own solo careers. We started off as soloists and what made this business of ours last so long is that you have two dudes that represent the same lifestyle: marijuana. Everyone loves marijuana. Marijuana brings people together. Marijuana is a universal language to me. Me and Meth, on the other hand, we have our solo careers, but we understand what we bring together is so special, not to us, but to the people. Our joining is so special to people that it’s amazing.

It takes being a realist. It takes non-ego. There’s only a couple things we do to make this last long. It’s not like we had to sit down and plan. No, we learned from other crews on how they f--k up. We know that business and money is really the major thing that f--ks up other people. And we’re not on it like that. If we can have a solo career and come together as Red and Meth and get more money, why f--k it up? It’s only more money for our families to eat. Plus we have fun doing it. And plus we complement each other. We’re not the same style. We talk about the same world but we’re not the same style, so it’s really a non-ego thing when we get together.

It’s about being smart. A lot of people like to stand their ground, but they don’t even understand what their ground is no more. What is your ground? Your ground is to survive and that’s what we understand.

GO!: Do more people know you for your music or for “How High”?

R: To the new audience, “How High.” But to the fans it’s the music and “How High.” I’m not gonna lie, man, like I said, we’re realists and we understand that that movie gave us an extra 10 years under our belt, straight up. And it’s a blessing and I thank my God for that. I thank my Jesus for that, that he allowed me to still be in the game and we still look as young as we do. Still rocking!

Because bottom line is, you see the artists from the ‘90s, there’s not too many of us hanging on. And then the curse of an artist doing a movie and still surviving in the rap game is very, very slim, you know that. You know once you do a movie or a TV show, it’s a wrap for rap. Who’s gonna believe you now when you’re doing Hollywood and all this s--t. But for Red and Meth we are so grounded to the ‘hood, our fans are just like whatever these (guys) do is dope and we like it and we’re gonna continue supporting it. I can’t complain about nothin’, bro.

GO!: The day you guys are here, Oregon will be voting on whether to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana. Do you have a message for voters?

R: I’m an activist. I got my degree from Oaksterdam University in Oakland. I’m affiliated. I’m a licensed patient consultant. I can open a dispensary under my name. I got my degree and everything. I wanted to take it serious. I wanted to understand and know what the f--k I’ve been smoking about all these years. I’m always in Denver. I’m always at the little dispensaries, learning, giving tours, doing a documentary. I want to take it to that next level. So yes, I will make a statement about that in Oregon. If you remind me.

GO!: What projects are you working on?

R: I have the “Muddy Waters 2: The Album” coming in spring 2015 and I have the “Muddy Waters 2: The Preload,” which is an album to give you a taste before that album. I have a lot of material. I’m trying to drop that maybe Dec. 2, when Wu-Tang drops its new album.

GO!: Preload? Is that like a mixtape, with you rapping on other people’s beats?

R: As an independent artist, titles are very important: how you label your s--t, how you label your brand. Mixtapes are typical. Saying you have a mixtape out is typical.

A month ago it was called a mixtape and I said, ‘Nah, this is The Preload.’ I work hard but I have to work smarter now, that’s what I’m learning. So I had four songs on there that wasn’t original beats and all the rest was original beats. So do I just throw this out and give it to the Internet just because of four songs? No. I took the four songs that wasn’t original, got ’em remixed and I said this is The Preload.

GO!: You’re pioneering a new model!

R: You already know. And possibly one day I want to come out with a high-heeled, open-toed shoe for women because I love women’s feet. That’s one of my goals.

— Reporter: 541-383-0377, bsalmon@bendbulletin.com

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