COURTESY DEF JAM
The Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man comes back to the isles for a solo concert at Pipeline Cafe on Saturday.
Tough Method Man hits back
He returns to Honolulu after almost 10 years
Leave sexy to Justin Timberlake -- founding Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man is bringing grimy back with his latest album, "4:21... The Day After."
Place: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
Time: 9 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $25 to $65
Call: 589-1999 or online at pipelinecafe.net
And yet some critics don't know how to act when the Ticallion Stallion, aka Johnny Blaze, aka Iron Lung, aka the Ghost Rider snaps back at speculation that he's getting soft. This summer saw him taking cats to task for saying his rhyme skills were wack, then focusing his ire on radio personality Wendy Williams after she leaked details about his wife's battle with breast cancer.
Honolulu will get its first visit from Mr. Meth in almost a decade this weekend, when he performs Saturday at Pipeline Cafe.
"Hey, you, get off my cloud
You don't know me, and you don't know my style
Who be getting flam when I come to jam?
Here I am, here I am, the Method Man"
WHEN THE Wu-Tang Clan released "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" in 1993, the breakout star of the New York hip-hop collective was Method Man.
Just 22 years old at the time, the rapper born Clifford Smith shined on the album, appearing on more than half of its 12 tracks and stealing the spotlight with "Method Man." Less than a year later, thanks to Wu-Tang leader the RZA's savvy deal-making skills, he signed with Def Jam to release the first of three platinum-selling solo albums.
"Tical" was followed by "Tical 2000: Judgement Day" in 1998, with "Blackout!" appearing in stores the following year. By the time "Tical 0: The Prequel" dropped in 2004, Meth had made the jump to film and television, starting with gangsta-type roles in "One Eight Seven," "Belly" and the HBO series "OZ." He also has a recurring role in HBO's "The Wire."
But after audiences saw him clowning in "How High," "Scary Movie 3" and "Soul Plane," they started to mistake goofiness for weakness, forgetting that the guy making jokes grew up in the rough Park Hill area of Staten Island, N.Y. His co-starring role opposite buddy Redman in the ill-fated Fox series "Method & Red" seemed to cement the notion that Method Man may have fallen off a bit.
"It had a lot to do with that sitcom," he told XXL Magazine last month. "(Critics) would step ... up like, 'How come you ain't doing the music? What's with all the acting and the sitcom (stuff)?'
"(They) ain't see me out lately, so it's easy for (them) to take pot shots at me and the fans not to come to my defense, because they ain't heard nothing from Meth. Out of sight, out of mind."
"Bet they feelin' me now, because Tical, he put his heart in every track he do
But somehow, you'll find some way to give a wack review
It ain't all good, they writing that I'm Hollywood, trying to tell you my (stuff) ain't ghetto and they hardly hood
Come on man, until you dudes can write some rhymes
Keep that in mind when you find yourself reciting mines"
THE RELEASE of "4:21... The Day After" found a lot of people jumping back on the Method Man bandwagon, with reviews saying the "old Meth" is back.
Unlike "Tical 0: The Prequel," which was mainly produced by Sean "Diddy" Combs, his new album features familiar producers the RZA and Erick Sermon. And while it wasn't his idea, fans also get to hear collaborations with Ginuwine, Fat Joe, Styles P and producer Scott Storch.
Lyrically, he continues to bring the heat, addressing haters right off the bat with the tracks "Is it Me" and "Problem." Wu-Tang fans will love "Dirty Mef," which brings back Clanmate Ol' Dirty Bastard from the grave to spit a guest verse.
And like "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need," the 1995 hit with Mary J. Blige, there are a couple of songs on the new album that mesh Method Man's lyrics with smoothed-out beats. "4 Ever" pairs him with fellow Def Jam artist Megan Rochell and uses a sample of the Atlantic Starr hit "Always."
On "Say," which samples former Fugees member Lauryn Hill, he takes a laid-back approach in responding to critics. But when Def Jam decided to release it as the album's first single, it started another whirlwind of controversy that may have cost him promotional support from the label.
"Right now, I'm not feeling the album's push ... I haven't seen advertising," said Meth. "Def Jam was more interested in ('Say') being a first single than I was. I wanted it to be the second single to knock me out of the water.
"But then somebody leaked the record ... (and) the problem they ran into was they didn't know that radio would have a problem with me saying, 'Radio lying, that ain't where the hip-hop lives.' Anybody that took offense to that record, it was meant for them."