|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2004-06-15
Even in the early days of Wu Tang's glory, Method Man stood out to the masses as an emcee of distinction. His deep, raspy voice complimented his lyrical artillery, and he continuously brought a rugged intensity to the mic that fans hungered for. He earned the respect of his Hip-Hop peers, while still effortlessly managing to win over all the ladies with his charm.
After several projects with Wu Tang, a collaboration with his partner in rhyme Redman, and a trilogy of solo joints, Meth is as hungry as ever - and he's not about to let anyone step on his head with regard to his current wave of commercial success.
Having survived Loud Records' closing shop and Def Jam's changing of the guards, Method Man stands tall in the aftermath of industry woes. His latest album, Tical 0: The Prequel, has been selling exceptionally well since its release in May, giving Meth good reason to thumb his nose at the critics who came out swinging in their reviews of the project.
He has been reaching beyond his music into acting, both on television and the big screen, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. He took some time at Hot 97's Summer Jam last week to speak with members of the press about anything and everything we wanted to know.
[Note: Thank you to the press associates at Summer Jam '04 who participated in this interview. Questions asked specifically by AllHipHop.com have AllHipHop.com.]
Q: What kind of differences have you experienced at Def Jam since the changeover?
Method Man: I was feeling that before the change. It's just different. It's always with Hip Hop artists that the more you promote yourself the more they pay attention to you. That's basically what it is. Def Jam has always given me exactly what I needed. If I asked for it, I got it if it wasn't too outrageous. It's cool over there - I'm glad to be playing for the Yankees, but it also has its quirks. You gotta go out there and promote yourself, or else you're not on the radar because there's a lot of other artists over there.
Q: Is there going to be another Red & Meth album soon?
Method Man: Absolutely, this fall. Be sure to go out and get it in August - s**t is off the chain, it's crazy.
Q: In between the taping of your TV shows, have you made arrangements to make new music in the studio?
Method Man: Not yet - I'm gonna let this album ride first, then go back and work on my next joint. Honestly, I was filming all week on the show and going back and forth to Baltimore on the weekends to do The Wire. Y'all should look out for me on that too. There's got to be some balance to it too. I ain't mad at comedy, but I don't like doing comedy, because people get it twisted.
AllHipHop.com: How many episodes do you have on The Wire?
Q: Method Man: I'm on two episodes - not much in the first, a lot in the second. It's a recurring role.
Q: Are they gonna kill you off like they did on Oz?
Method Man: I don't think so. I did an excellent job I believe, at least that's what they told me. I got to work with dude that plays McNulty and the Black dude that works with him. They had me in the interrogation room, I had to fake tears and all that.
Q: Lil Rodney Cee from the Funky Four said that when Hip Hop became an industry, that's when we lost it. What do you feel about Hip Hop becoming an industry?
Method Man: Well, I think first of all, dude from the Funky Four is a little soft if he can't get his foot back in the door - and I love the Funky Four Plus One More. They should be glad that it's industrialized now, because when the right dudes get up in there, they make such a f**kin' impact that we don't need the Grammy's to televise the rap category - because now the 'rap' category is an 'album of the year', so it gets televised. It's a double-edged sword, because there's a lot of dudes out there that are underground or 'backpack rap' or whatever you want to call it that ain't bein' heard. It's for them to step up their s**t and come up out the underground and bring it to the surface.
AllHipHop.com: As far as the underground right now, who do you like that really hasn't got a lot of attention?
Method Man: M.O.P. don't get a lot of attention and they should, UGK don't get a lot of attention and they should. There's a lot of dudes out there - you got those street corner dudes that's just nice with theirs - they be on those smack mixtape magazine joints - that s**t be out there. But what they have to do is… those dudes is good for battling but they can't make songs.
AllHipHop.com: Are there any of the mixtape guys that you like right now?
Method Man: I don't really listen to mixtapes. I been watching a lot of movies, perfecting my craft.
Q: What about the situation with the movie Soul Plane? Anything on the rise with that?
Method Man: I'm not salty with Jessy Terrero, who was the director, but I am salty at the people at MGM for the simple fact that if that was a movie by David Cronenberg or the big name directors, it never would have got [bootlegged] like that, and if it did they would have put a stop to it and cracked down on it. That movie was out two months before it even f**king dropped, and that's a shame, and they did nothing to stop it and they knew. Jesse got the word and he went to them, and they didn't do anything about it. The same audience that they're trying to go after, they're not paying attention to them. That's why a lot of time when you get shows and movies, they don't identify with our people all the damn time. That's when you get those right wingers - I'm not gonna name their names, but those right wing Black people that say it's 'bafoonery' and all this other crazy… Let me tell you something man, we all don't live like the Cosby's. For real - all of us don't live like Bill Cosby, and the family members that I had that lived like the Cosby's, didn't associate with us cuz we was ghetto. We're speakin' for the ghetto man, we gotta be heard too. The same muthaf**kas that wanna beat us in the head about showing all this s**t and laughing about certain stereotypes, come around the way for a minute and see exactly why [we act that way]… cuz it hurts so much when we're coming up that you gotta laugh when you get older. They can't identify with that. Everbody in the hood ain't got their mother and father there - they need to see both sides of the story and stop f**kin' pointing fingers and judging us, and start judging all them other muthaf**kas that's holding them back from getting their s**t put out there. I understand where they're coming from, that there should be a balance. Honestly, the way Hollywood is, you can go at them with a love drama that has an all-Black cast - they'll shelf that s**t. You go to them with a comedy that's got some rap stars in there, they wanna throw that out there real freakin' fast. It's what it is.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about your album doing so well the first week, and still continuing to do well? Some people thought you were going for a little more mainstream appeal, if you want to call it that.
Q: Method Man: I don't know why they call it mainstream, because if they listen to them rhymes, them rhymes ain't talking about jewels and cars - they're talking about a lot of women, a lot of smoking - the same s**t I was talking about ten years ago. It's just that now I feel my style of emceeing has evolved so much now that I'm a metaphoric freak right now. Put me up against any of these [guys] in the muthaf**kin game that they praisin' right now. I ain't even gonna say no names, but y'all know who the f**k it is. Why do people like that s**t? Put me up against any of them, whether it's stage, on the mic, whatever man - I'll show my whole entire ass.
AllHipHop.com: Ghostface has a new album out, and so does Masta Killa, but not everybody from Wu Tang putting out solo albums is going to match the success that you're having. At what point do you ever feel like you need to reach back to help, or do you?
Method Man: They don't need help, cuz it's like yo, whenever they call for the next Wu Tang album I'll be there. My brothers don't need help - grown men do grown things. You gotta be a man and stand on your own two feet. You don't wanna f**kin' carry nobody, cuz he's useless to you, you know? He's gonna get used to getting carried all the f**kin' time and he won't do nothing for himself. That was RZA's plan for us in the first f**kin' place - that's why we got the deals that we got. It's like 'Now you got your solo s**t, now hopefully you don't always gotta come to me for beats. Go out here and explore'. That's all I did was grow as an artist, and I think I should have been judged on my merits as far as growing as an artist. [Critics] should have compared each album to each album and judge me on that, instead of thinking 'he hasn't done this in five years, and we're gonna tear him apart - we're gonna listen extra careful. I don't give a f**k if it is bangin, I'm gonna say it ain't.' That type of s**t.
AllHipHop.com: So it comes down to be unfairly criticized?
Method Man: Unfairly criticized, exactly. I'm gonna say names anyway. I like Lil Flip. I like that song he got out. Lil Flip got four mics in The Source. Listen to his whole album, then listen to my s**t, and then tell me where the problem is occurring at. It's because I've been in the game ten years, and they feel like 'okay, we know this [guy]' - no. I said that on my first f**kin' album. You don't know me, you don't know my muthaf**kin style, so don't ever act like you'll get familiar enough with me to know exactly what I'm supposed to say out my mouth, or what beats I'm supposed to pick. Get the f**k outta here.
Q: How would you define yourself? What is the path that you're making?
Method Man: I just do me. I'll give you an example. When I read the first bad review I almost cried, and I haven't cried since I was 11-years-old - because I knew I was unfairly judged. Anytime you start a goddamn music review off with 'The Right Guard pitchman' or 'Ever since he seen the glitz of Hollywood' and all that s**t - you're hating off top and you killed your credibility with me.
Q: Do you blame any of it on the record company or promotions?
Method Man: You can't blame the record company because the record company is the people that brought you to the light in the first f**kin' place. It's what you do with it when you get there.
Q: How about the marketing?
Method Man: The marketing could be blamed… you have a lot of times, even in Def Jam, you walk up to Def Jam in certain peoples' cubicles who work at the label, and they'll have their favorite artists pinned up there. It's like they'll work [that artist's] s**t even harder than they would yours, and I think it should all be fair. It's a job, you do your f**kin' job. It doesn't matter how you feel about the artist. When me and Doc was on the Hard Knock Life tour, the publicist that was there, our Def Jam publicist, would come with different interview people and walk right by our dressing room for the Jay-Z's and DMX's, and I ain't knockin' [the artists] - go ahead, do that thang, but we're here and we got something to say too. When I made a complaint about that, it just spread through the whole office - okay, now I'm the bad guy, now nobody really wanna f**k with Meth on the road. I go out by my f**kin' self - it's all gravy though, because I'm here.
Q: Wu Tang is going to be performing together in Los Angeles. Are you going to join them? How is that going to feel?
Method Man: Yeah. If I'm out there, yeah. I don't know how it's gonna feel for them, but for me it's gonna be alright. I got off tour right before we started doing the sitcom, so I'm ready.
Q: With all of you together, do you think you're going to have that same old feeling?
Method Man: I hope not, because I don't know if you've ever been to a Wu Tang show, but it's little chaotic. It's hard to tell who's rhyming sometimes. Our last tour was a whole different angle, and everybody came out and did their own set and then we all came together. If it's like that it's going to be a beautiful thing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like you're a lot more focused these days?
Method Man: That's so cliché and s**t, but you know what? That's exactly what it is. I'm perfect 20/20 vision right now.
Q: Have you learned anything?
Method Man: Well, obviously I have - I got my own TV show that I'm executive producing, and as far as my albums go, yeah - I learned a whole hell of a lot man. I got a crash course in 'they don't think you're hot no more'.
AllHipHop.com: We heard that you fired the director from your show because you didn't like the direction they were trying to take it.
Method Man: I didn't fire him, the studio did, because they saw the vision. They knew when they signed me and Redman on to those thirteen episodes, this was before they even seen an episode, they knew what they wanted to see, and the director didn't bring it that way. He thought that it was supposed to be happy-go-lucky, smiley face, jumpin' around and cheesin' all f**kin' day, and that's not why the studio wanted Redman and Method Man - they wanted the How High Method Man and Redman.
AllHipHop.com: What do you have coming up movie-wise?
Method Man: Right now, nothing. The sitcom has been taking up all my time, but with the next movie I do, hopefully it'll be a drama and somebody will give me a shot.
Q: Are you getting a lot of scripts?
Method Man: I was, but everybody knows that I'm on hiatus for the show so I'm not getting too many. My agents nipped that in the bud early, but John Singleton needs to holla at me, Spike Lee needs to holla - I done ran into all of these individuals once, twice, three times, and they got love for the kid but they've never asked me to be in any of their s**t. I think they should holla at me, but don't holla at me too late cuz I'm gonna be too hot for ya and you won't be able to get me. [smiles]
Q: What do you want your fans to know about you?
Method Man: That either they can ride with me or kiss my muthaf**kin' ass. The Hip-Hop audience is fickle as f**k. It's like whatever is cool at that moment - there's ten people in a circle and the two coolest dudes say it's cool, all the other eight gonna follow it.
Q: That wasn't always the case.
Method Man: Naw, it wasn't always the case. That's why I give a lot of credit to backpackers or so called backpack or underground listeners. They're really into the movement of Hip-Hop, not just the music, the movement. That's why when you ask the question 'Is it industrialized now' - it has to be. People gotta eat.
AllHipHop.com: What do you want your fans to know about your new album?
Method Man: I want them to keep an open mind and judge me on my past accomplishments compared to this one, and see that I've grown.
Written by Dove for AllHiphop.com