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Saturday, 16 June 2007 01:34

Method Man

Written by Edgard Zuniga

method_man13_thumb.jpgAdmit it. When the first few beats of Tical (Def Jam, 1994) hit your eardrums, you knew you were listening to something special…no, outstanding. Wu-Tang Clan’s untouchable debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (Loud/RCA, 1993), set the bar high for anything that might originate from the Wu camp...

 Method Man’s debut solo album (the first by a Wu-Tang Clan member) didn’t just meet those standards, it went Platinum and marked the beginning of a series of Wu-Tang Clan solo albums that ripped the flag of dominance away from radio-friendly West Coast gangsta rap and planted it deep into “Shaolin” (Staten Island, New York) soil.

From the very beginning, Method Man was always one of the most visible members of the Wu-Tang Clan. His smooth growl, stinging lyrics and undeniable charisma were ingredients that launched what is arguably the most successful solo career of any member from the Wu collective.

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Throughout the ’90s, Meth (often with accomplice Redman by his side) would become a household name, appearing in numerous TV and film productions, and even co-starring with Redman in “How High” (Universal, 2001) and their own TV show, the Fox sitcom “Method & Red,” and, in the summer of 1995, he recorded a Grammy-award winning duet with Mary J. Blige on his song, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” (which sampled the classic Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s 1968 “You’re All I Need to Get By”).

However, in the Wu-Tang universe, the farther away members wandered from Wu-Tang Clan leader and producer RZA, the harder it was for them to produce albums that were considered hits (both by critics and even the most hardcore Wu-Tang Clan fans). And so it was for Meth.

The group’s struggles in 2004 continued when U-God briefly left the group over what he claimed was mistreatment by RZA. And, when Ol’ Dirty Bastard collapsed at approximately 5:29 p.m. on November, 13, 2004 at Wu-Tang’s recording studio, 36 Chambers, and was pronounced dead two hours later, it marked probably the lowest point for the Wu-Tang Clan.

Although 2005 was largely quiet, in October, GZA’s collaboration with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, titled Grandmasters (Angeles Records), was met with rave reviews from fans and critics, with many naming it album of the year. It set the stage for 2006, which many have called the resurgence of the Wu-Tang Clan.

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That March, Ghostface Killah’s Fishscale (Def Jam, 2006) received critical acclaim and achieved commercial success. In June, Inspectah Deck released an official mixtape titled The Resident Patient (Urban Icon Records) that was well-received. In early August, Masta Killa released his second studio album, Made in Brooklyn (Nature Sounds, 2006), which was lauded for the most part by fans and critics alike. And, a few weeks later, it was Method Man’s turn...yet, something was amiss.

4:21…The Day After (Def Jam, 2006), was released to critical praise, yet sales were slow. In addition, Wu-Tang Clan had just completed a tour during the month of August…yet, almost no one knew.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then someone better set the table because during DUB’s interview with Method Man, he was fuming.

No, not those kinds of fumes. Meth was seriously pissed off.

 


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