There was a time ago where the Wu Tang Clan ruled the hip hop world with an iron fist. When the West Coast was ruling the hip hop scene on the mainstream and riding high off the Death Row wave, The Wu Tang Clan along with many(Nas, Biggie, Blackmoon) was bringing that gritty sound back to the East Coast and balanced momentum.
Their mind-blowing debut titled Enter the 36 Chambers was heavily influenced in Kung Fu samples(from the classic movie), dark and gritty production from the RZA along with the 9 members of the Clan showcasing their lyricism and different styles. Out of all the members of the clan, It was Method Man who’s gruff and rugged voice along with his rugged style is what the main star of that album.
Critics, fans, the streets, and hip hop lovers all have praised Meth’s standout verses on Protect Ya Neck, Wu Tang Clan Aint Nothin to Fuck with, and his own solo track M.E.T.H.O.D. Man. Meth was the first out of the group to go solo because he was the one that stood out in the midst with his gruff sound. When he finally released his debut album titled Tical, Many felt that the album left alot to be desired. Perhaps it was the fact that alot of RZA’s best work on the album was lost in that flood during that time period and they had to re-do the whole album. But despite that, Tical was a great album and packed enough punch to push him into superstardom. Bring the Pain would go down as one of the rawest hip hop songs and videos of all time:
The rest of that album was strictly hardcore but it was his collaboration with Mary J Blige is what boost Method Man’s stock. When rappers do songs for women today, They usually be sappy, happy-go-lucky or soft. Method Man went a different route with All I need, kept his grimy sound and kicked alot of that game that women loved to hear:
The song would blow up and become one of the official hood anthems of 1995 which pushed Tical past platinum. He even got a Grammy nod for that record which was a huge look for his career as well as shining new light on the Wu Tang movement at the time.
Method Man throughout his career would trade verses with the best of them. He has done songs with everybody from LL Cool J, Tupac, Biggie, Nas, DMX, Mobb Deep, Spice 1, and many more along with dropping stellar albums with his fellow blunt smoking buddy Redman. Meth would also be apart ofmany successful tours with the Wu Tang Family, Limp Bizkit and was apart of the Hard Knock Life Tour featuring Rocafella and Ruff Ryders(Which did monster numbers.
Meth would also translate his talents into the acting world throughout his career, Acting in hood movie classics such as Belly, Soul Plane(sarcasm), How High and receiving critical acclaim for his roles on TV shows such as The Wire, OZ, and CSI. He even did Right Guard Commercials! He was able to do what many rappers couldn’t do and thats translate his talents into the big screen and be successful at it.
For many years Method man was regarded as the asshole, complainer, and underacheiver of the Wu by many of his critics. If it wasn’t Meth constantly going into bickering battles with many DJs(Funkmaster Flex, Wendy Williams),voicing his displeasment with his label(Def Jam), fellow rappers(Waka Flocka) or having issues with Wu Tang management. It seemed that this along with the fact that Method Man takes forever to put out an album further makes the case of being a underacheiver more stronger. Especially when those albums were lukewarm for a emcee of his caliber.
I remember the hype for his sophomore Tical 2000 album was at an all time high. I use to see posters of the album all over the Source Magazine for that whole year. Instead of putting out Tical in 1996(which was originally supposed to be released) Meth decided to become more of a team player and continue to put out music with his crew. Wu Tang Forever remained as one of the biggest selling albums of 1997 and made them a world-wide phenomenon.
Meth would trade verses or make appearances on Wu Member albums from 97-98 before FINALLY releasing his sophomore in the 4th quarter of 1998. It was clear on songs such as Judgement Day, Suspect Chin Music, Dangerous Grounds and Sweet Love that Meth was still a beast on the microphone. The problem with the album was not only its ENDLESS skits but also the whole weird apocalyptic Sci-fi vibe threw alot of their fans off for a loop. The Clan was already losing their grip in the streets slowly due to the emerging Ruff Ryders and Rocafella movements at the time. People expecting that rough and gritty sound from his first album were heavily disappointed, But it still sold pretty good proving that Method Man has star power.
Meth’s following 2 solo albums would suffer the same fate as he would put most of the blame on Def Jam for the lack of direction and support given to him along with spending his whole 4:21 album shitting on his critics for saying he was a has been or washed up.
Funk Flex Diss
My thoughts on Method Man is he has always been a very talented rapper. He has traded barbs with the best of the best the rap game has to offer and I have always felt that he could have went further with his career than he should on a solo level. His solo career could have been on the level of Ice Cube’s by now had Meth stayed on the same route and not took as long delivering albums.
Even though Meth has a big mouth and sometimes come across as too narcissistic at times , Def Jam is also equal to blame for Meth’s career not going further as it should. They tried to sabotage his sound by commercializing him and that if anything turned more people away. He has a right to go at his critics but there be times where dude gets a bit too carried away and focuses too much of his energy on them.
He will always be remembered for being apart of one of the greatest rap groups of all time and for the classic features and dope material that he put out throughout his career. He just needs to drop one sick solo album at this point to not only prove to his critics that he’s not a has been to his peers that Mr Meth is to NOT be fucked with!