Why The Least Flashy MTV Cribs Episode Was Also The Most Important

Photo: Isopix/REX Shutterstock
Way back when, MTV Cribs picked up the torch dropped by Robin Leach's Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous to bring viewers into the homes of an impressive roster of entertainers and athletes. And, in an act of meta-voyeurism befitting our time, Thrillist has uncovered the oral history behind one of the show's most bizarre episodes — no, not Mariah Carey's infamous home tour — a 2001 feature on rapper Redman's Staten Island condo.

The space was so, um, humble that many people thought the episode was a hoax. But, as Thrillist writer Chris Faraone found out, nothing was staged — the episode was 100% authentic, from the exposed wires where the doorbell should've been to the shoebox of money stashed atop the fridge. 

"Not every entertainer’s living lavish," Redman told the site in an exclusive interview. "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."

The pressure to look flashy was later echoed in an episode featuring 50 Cent, who referred to a fleet of Ferraris as "my whips," when, in fact, they were on loan from a collector.

Of course, lifestyle porn has reached its zenith since Cribs' heyday, with domesticity meticulously cropped and filtered for the most pleasing vignette possible, and every coffee date only worth its weight in Likes. 50 Cent's engineered braggadocio is simply a precursor to our current age of oversharing, in which all products are just props and all the (social) world's a stage. It's refreshing to harken back to a time before Instagram had us all stunting.

Click through to read the full interview with Redman and MTV Cribs producers, then tell us in the comments below: Are you happy to be Valencia-ing your #shelfies, or do you wish you could just live your truth like Redman? (Thrillist)
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