Method Man: The Man Sticks to the Method on This One.

Overwhelmingly and unfalteringly average are not words with which one might want to start a cover letter. They are also not words that an artist wants to see in a review of his latest project. But, so goes the story for Wu-Tang Clan’s mischievous and theatrical Method Man and his latest project “4:21… The Day After.” Method Man exploded onto the scene with the now-classic 1993 release of his group’s triumphant, energetic, and violence-inducing “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers.)” With an ingenious mix of frightening kung-fu movie samples and an unmistakable Staten Island braggadocio, Method Man and the Wu-Tang Clan quickly earned their place among hip-hop’s elite. With the 1995 release of the platinum-selling single “I’ll Be There for You/ You’re All I Need” which featured up-and-coming sensation Mary J. Blige, Method Man proved that he possessed the star-power necessary to hold the spotlight on his own. The video and song whose trance-inducing beat and hauntingly sung hook expressed perfectly the solace of finding love and peace in a world of chaos and omnipresent danger. Fast-forward to 2006 and Method Man has become a Hollywood regular, starring in movies, television shows, and even appearing in deodorant commercials. At this point in time, Method Man might be better known for his unpredictable personality and penchant for pot-smoking than for his finesse on a microphone. Lacking any sort of truly unique identity, Mr. MEF’s latest project is more a paint-by-number success, which has all the prerequisite elements of a very good hip-hop album, but none of the unique attributes of an exceptional one. The album features good beats from A-list producers like Scott Storch, Erick Sermon, Havoc, Kwame, and of course Wu-Tang’s own RZA, as well as guest appearances by Fat Joe, Styles P, and the traditional cast of Wu-affiliates and clan-members like Redman, Inspectah Deck, and Raekwon. Highlights include the bare-bones club-banger “Fall Out” which features a bass-heavy beat and tightly composed lyrics and “Dirty Mef” featuring the late ODB. Without question the best song on the album is “The Glide” which features the Clan’s biggest buzz-generator, Raekwon, doing what lately he’s learned to do best-spitting Scarface-type cocaine gangster stories over 80s mafia movie beats. Sadly, more than improve the quality of Method Man’s album “The Glide” serves more to heighten the anticipation for the release of Raekwon’s long-awaited next project. “Say” featuring Lauryn Hill, is a beautiful, pensive song, on which METH reflects on the trials and tribulations he’s been through during his career and the jabs and praise shot his way by critics of all sorts. In conclusion, “4:21… The Day After” is a solid album, but at the same time one that lacks a single truly exceptional song. It’s an album which sticks to conventions and plays by the method, but still makes for a very enjoyable listen. Let’s have Mr. Meth put THAT in his pipe and smoke it.