|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2006-09-19
For over a decade hes been the public face of the Wu-Tang Clan. From crossover hits, to feature films, to HBO, Mr. Mef has long been at the forefront of the Wu-Tang sphere of influence. Whether rhyming alongside fellow blunt brother Redman or with his Wu family, Method Manís gritty lyricism and unmistakable baritone has massaged eardrums from Shaolin to Singapore. Ushering in the mid-90s era of Wu-Tang hysteria as the Clanís first bona fide solo star, the Grammy Award winning MC insured the subsequent successes of his Wu-Tang cohorts, giving rise to perhaps the greatest dynasty in Hip-Hop history.
But as is often the case, widespread acclaim can also lead to harsh criticism. With his brand new album, 4:21ÖThe Day After, Method Man seeks to complete a full recovery from the 2004 debacle of Tical O: The Prequel, a seemingly misguided attempt by his record label to revise the time tested Wu-Tang formula with less than favorable results. Returning to his roots on 4:21, Meth shines over production by Rza, Eric Sermon and Mathematics, reassuring fans of what the late Olí Dirty Bastard made so clear nine years ago: ďWu-Tang is here forever motherfuckersĒ.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You worked with Rza quite a bit on 4:21ÖThe Day After. A lot of fans are really excited about that, but as far as your record label, was Def Jam supportive of your decision to work with Rza? I know youíve had some differences with them in the past.
METHOD MAN: I havenít had any differences with themÖ well, yea. But, um, yea they were supportive. [Rza] was the first name I said when I spoke to [Jay-Z], when he signed off on the budget [for the album].
RIOTSOUND.COM: How would you characterize Rzaís contribution to the album?
METHOD MAN: Iím happy with the outcome but I think he could have had a little bit more input but he was busy at the time.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You recently said that being independent is the best alternative for many artists in todayís climate; can you elaborate on that?
METHOD MAN: Well, I myself wouldnít go that route. But other artists who have done well for themselves - if they get out of their contracts and they still got a marquee name - they can do all kinds of shit like go out on their own tours and still make money that way. If you put out your own album and sell your own units like Ice Cube did it, youíre bound to make a shitload of money; the money that the record label would make if you were still signed with them. But [me saying that], was an answer to dudes gettiní into the game and wanting to get in the game; Iíd say, stay independent first and foremost man, work your angles first. Do most of the work before the label even touches it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Why do you think going the indie route wouldnít be a good a fit for you?
METHOD MAN: Because Iím not ready like that yet, Iím just an MC man. I donít wanna have to worry about distribution and marketing and all that other extra shit that comes with it. And then you gotta know all these people and all that. I mean, you can hire people to do it for you. But right now I just wanna MC.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You got an absolutely ridiculous track with Redman on your new album called ďMove OnĒ. With that kind of chemistry still clearly apparent between the two of you, is it possible we may see another Redman and Method album?
METHOD MAN: You have to ask Def Jam about another Redman and Method Man album. But as far as chemistry, when you work with somebody for like a decade, yaíll pretty much know the ins and outs of each other, so its comftability first and foremost when we go in the studio. And a track like that smells like a Method Man, Redman track, [itís] just hard.
RIOTSOUND.COM: How did the actual song come together in the studio?
METHOD MAN: It was a no-brainer, when I heard the shit I was like Ė I want Doc on this one. Thatís pretty much it; ainít no real story behind it. Weíve been working together for so long that itís like, thereís no mystery anymore.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You got one of the most energetic stage shows around; you literally walk on top of the crowd at some of your shows. How much concentration does it take to rhyme while youíre doing that?
METHOD MAN: Well, you know, once you in the zone, youíre in the zone. I always had a lot of energy but it hasnít always been as focused as it is now. I used to jump in the crowd in the first song. The whole show be out in the crowd and shit. But over time I developed [a sense] of how a real show should go, especially performing with Doc and watching other dudes do their shows. Some of the greats like [Busta Rhymes]; heís real dope when he does his shows. He doesnít have to be way animated with it, he just does Busta and plus it doesnít hurt that he got a gang of fuckiní hits under his belt. What I bring to the stage is basically what I bring to the game, period. Lyrically, acting, everything, itís that energy level. I feel like when people see you on stage they [should] wanna see the video [of it]. I feed off [the fans]. If they mad amplified, Iím gonna be even more amplified.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Inside the album cover for 4:21 you got a picture of you and the late Olí Dirty Bastard from your early Wu-Tang days; what do you miss most about Dirty?
METHOD MAN: I miss his sense of humor, just everyday with everything; him talking about the FBI out to get him. Dirty was a piece of work man, heís always been like that, just the phenomenon that was Dirt Dog.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Looking at Hip-Hop now, it seems like a lot of the flavor of the month type artists might be losing some credibility. In your view, is real Hip-Hop ready to return; how do you see the landscape of it from where youíre at?
METHOD MAN: I mean, it makes for good drama and good writing when people say Hip-Hop is falling off and all that shit. Hip-Hop is bigger than itís ever been. It used to be just east coast and west coast, now itís mid-west, down south, Australia. Everywhere is rocking with Hip-Hop right now. Plus we dress peopleís kids; weíve been doing that for years. On the other hand people are basically talking about the content of the music. I mean, what the fuck, everybody wanna dance now. I have no problem with that; you gotta have a ying and a yang. Itís like when motherfuckas was flashing too much, niggas got tired of that shit. But [at the same time] you gotta have flashy niggas, itís all Hip-Hop. Then it was the grimy shit; people got tired of the grimy shit [too]. It all goes in cycles. The lyricism is still there, you just gotta know where to find it. And if yaíll want it at the forefront, support it.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Weíve been hearing about the possibility of a new Wu-Tang album for about two years now; itís something the fans really want. When do you think weíll finally see it?
METHOD MAN: I ainít talking about it, Iíma be the first one to go in and just start the shit, you heard me. Iím supposed to be meeting up with Rza on Thursday.
RIOTSOUND.COM: What are you and Rza going to be talking about on Thursday?
METHOD MAN: We ainít gonna talk about shit, we just gonna go in and work. Knock some shits out. Then whatever other Clan members wanna join in, come on. Iím just gonna set it off, fuck talking. We ainít gotta have no more meetings, letís just go in and do the fuckin work. And Iím gonna be the first person to go in and start. Iím going in, Iím laying the hooks, Iím fuckin doing the verses. If niggas donít like the hooks, redo the hooks over, as long as we got something. Itís time man, fuck this shit. I donít give a fuck if we donít sell another fucking record, as long as we do this. We gotta do this album for us.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You and Ghostface borrow your alter egos of Johnny Blaze and Tony Starks from comic books; how much is the Clan into comics?
METHOD MAN: Nah, Ghost didnít even know who Tony Starks was until somebody put him on to himÖ well [actually], I think he did. I donít know man, Iím the comic book dude, them dudes donít read comics. Iím the only comic book nigga in there.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Who are some of your favorite comic book artists?
METHOD MAN: I always liked Arthur Adams, Umberto Ramos, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld. Todd [McFarlane] did the best Spiderman. Liefeld, shit, what was it that he used to doÖ [pauses for a few seconds to think] X- Force.
RIOTSOUND.COM: I think Liefeld used to do Savage Dragon too.
METHOD MAN: No, Eric Larsen does Savage Dragon.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Yea, yea, thatís right.
METHOD MAN: You testing me brother; you testing me?
METHOD MAN: But Iím definitely an avid comic book reader, I have to catch up though. Right now Iím into other gritty shit now, like 100 Bullets, The Watchmen, shit like that.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You got the new album, 4:21ÖThe Day After, in stores now; what else should the fans be looking out for as far as Method Man goes?
METHOD MAN: Just look for 4:21, a lot of people donít even know itís in stores, which is boggling my mind but it is what it is. I just want people to go out there and check for me. When you in the record store its like Ė where the fuck is Meth at? Iím right there on your shelves, go pick me up and take me home. I am in stores right now.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Def Jam has in a sense dropped the ball with promoting your album; do you think it was somewhat of a business decision being that you are a well established artist, so they figure you donít need a lot of promotion?
METHOD MAN: Wow, thatís a good way to look at it but I have no idea, Iím not at liberty to say. Thatís a question you would have to ask Def Jam. But if you ask me, I think I coulda been a little bit more seen than I was before the album dropped.
For more news and info on Method Man stay tuned to Method-Man.com and WuTangCorp.com
Big props to riotsound.com for the Interview.