No matter how much Def Jam doesn’t want you to know, Method Man has released his fourth proper solo album. President Carter, it seems, is doing as good a job at the house that Russell built as our country’s commander in chief. He’s focusing all of his resources on one-trick ponies such as Rick Ross and Lady Sovereign instead of real emcees such as Redman, Joe Budden, and the Ticalion Stallion. Meth’s previous album was far from classic — it was arguably the worst of his career — but for someone who ushered in the Def Jam renaissance with Jay-Z and DMX, you’d think we’d get to see some promo posters or at least a video. Luckily (or unluckily perhaps), Method Man hasn’t pulled a Cam’ron a la 2001 and run up into his label’s office demanding some fucking changes and a release. Instead, he’s come back and delivered his best work since 1999’s Blackout.
The album opens with an intro that’s creative as far as hip-hop albums are considered. Recordings of ’60s-era protests, with chants of “Make marijuana legal,” are followed up by Method Man rhyming over a classic Wu-beat: “Fuck the court system, pleadin’ the fifth./ And if Def Jam is deaf, start reading my lips.” Next up is the Scott Storch-produced “Is It Me,” which Meth rips well, followed by the Erick Sermon gem “Problem.” The “Green-Eyed Bandit” provides the background for the blazing O.D.B collabo “Dirty Mef” as well as the most underrated song of the summer, “Say” featuring Lauryn Hill.
Johnny Blaze goes on to vent: “Ever since I came in the game, some hated on the fame/ A lot of niggas done changed and started actin’ strange/ Even labels turnin’ they backs and started backing’ lames/ Radio is the same, whole lotta speculatin’/ These motherfuckers defacatin’ on the name, Wu-Tang/ If this is where the hip-hop is/ Radio lyin’, that ain’t where the hip-hop live.”
Other collabos with big name artists, such as the flaccid, “Let’s Ride” featuring Ginuwine, fail to inspire, but the Wu-collabos give the album its meat and potatoes, highlighted by “Presidential MC” featuring Raekwon and RZA and “The Glide” with the Chef and La the Darkman.
The album has twenty tracks, and minus the three skits, it’s still about four or five songs too long. But no matter how much the Internet, video and radio and even his own label try to ignore him, Meth comes through in the clutch. He will always have the acting roles on “The Wire” and movies and such, but this album proves that he’s still relevant in music.
“Say” featuring Lauryn Hill
“Presidential MC” featuring RZA and Raekwon