Method Man: Industry Shakedown Part 1

Method Man’s name, stage persona and music are defined by an intoxicating mixture of gruff flows, sharp lyricism and witty magnetism. Truth be told, he was the only member of Wu-Tang Clan recognizable to the general population for the longest. The tall, lanky, charismatic rapper has come quite a ways from his discovery in 1992, […]

Method Man’s name, stage persona and music are defined by an intoxicating mixture of gruff flows, sharp lyricism and witty magnetism. Truth be told, he was the only member of Wu-Tang Clan recognizable to the general population for the longest. The tall, lanky, charismatic rapper has come quite a ways from his discovery in 1992, along with the rest of the crew. The youngest member in the Clan, Meth offered many firsts for the group, including platinum sales, a Grammy award and a plethora of other credits in film and television. The cliff notes of Method Man’s career serve only as a scant reminder of the past, but not necessary a blueprint of the for his future.

Fast forward to 2006 and Meth’s career and mind state continue to expand as he’s grown into an elder statesman of lyricism. With the release of 4:21: The Day After, Meth has quietly released one of the finer rap albums of the year, even though he appears to be fending for himself against critics and the public opinion. The rapper with over a dozen nicknames has become increasingly outspoken after years being shrouded in mystery.

The Staten Island- native challenges the rigid, seemingly uncaring business of music, Wu-Tang’s state of being, the plight of Africa, and global warming juxtaposed with his life temporarily becoming fodder for urban tabloids. For some, this conversation serves as detox, whereas for others, it only makes Meth’s madness all the more addicting. What’s the deal with you and your situation at Def Jam?

Method Man: I’ve seeing a lot of weird s**t going on up here since the transition. [Back in the ‘90s,] the procedure was way different. It was like I could just walk up in [Lyor Cohen’s] office and say, “What’s good?” So it’s not like that anymore. I would get phone calls from Kevin Liles just checkin’ to see how I was doing. I’m not knocking the way it is now, it’s “whatever, whatever,” but even at the end, Kevin Liles was like doubting the kid. Right, so what about the current situation with Jay-Z as the president, even L.A. Reid who isn’t really considered a Hip-Hop dude, more of an R&B kind of dude —

Method Man: I can’t call it. When they first came in, I was excited like anybody else. You know, as it went on I found myself in a funny situation, whereas it was like things was happening up there, under their noses but nobody was hands-on enough to see it happening. So what when I made a big stink about were the little things piling up, everybody looking at me like I’m crazy to try and start some trouble or something. Not necessarily those dudes [Jay and L.A. Reid], but those staff people. It seems as though Def Jam is South-heavy and Pop-heavy right now with Jeezy, Rick Ross and Rihanna, but in the ‘90s it was DMX, Redman, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, you, and others…

Method Man: Why is that though? I mean, [is that] just because they from the South, I mean — No, it’s not. I’m saying that at one point in time it seemed like Def Jam was more of a family whereas, you know —

Method Man: You got to go [down South], now because got to go where the money at, you know what I’m saying? I could see if it was just so blatant like other [labels] that just, you know went to the South for artists or something like that. But it more or less like look Jeezy was like the n***a that stuck out the most out of the Boyz-N-The Hood. Method Man stuck out the most out of the Wu-Tang, I guess at that point in time and s**t. I’m saying, they going where the money at. You can’t knock ’em for that. It’s not real South-heavy it’s just that them motherf**kers are selling records. As far as the Pop side, I agree with you because that Pop s**t, it’s like you got n***as coming out with first singles that ain’t got nothing to do with where we at with it in New York right now. Its like Dipset n***as is hard as s**t, but then [Juelz] Santana came out with the [“Oh Yes”] jump-off. I don’t know what kind of calculated move that was right there, but it was like, “Nah, come on.” Ghostface came out with the f***king “Back Like That,” which was a dope as single, but not Ghost’s first single. Ghost’s first single off [Supreme Clientele] s**t was what? “Apollo Kids,” right? See, how that s**t smacked n***as, waking them up and s**t? But to go from that to “Back Like That,” it gave Ne-Yo more credit really, than Ghost. It gave Ne-Yo crossover ability than it did Ghost. Because Ne-Yo was being Pop, and now he over in the hood with it. S**t, my people around, they lucky because I was going by my f**king self. And I be ready to go off in the parties and wait for n***as to come through the front door, soon as they come through the front door. [Makes punching sound] “B*tch!” Who are you talking about? Method Man: Writers, critics, every last one of them motherf**kers, anybody that ever shoveled dirt on my s**t. What do you think people do that maliciously because I don’t know, I’ve interviewed you a couple of times. Method Man: Not everybody does it maliciously, but there are times like where got to read in between the lines. And you know what a person’s saying when they say certain s**t. Motherf**kers do a article, [and] he’s starting it off with, “I don’t know if Meth’s lost some of his [star power] or I don’t know if Meth can still do it since messing with Hollywood.” S**t like that. You know we ain’t talkin’ about that in the interview. Like them two paragraphs that writers always throw in before they start the articles, you know so everybody can suck them off, “Oh, he’s such a great writer.” Right, right. Method Man: ‘Cause they’re all trying to get jobs at those other magazines like f**king Maxim and s**t like that – and using us to do it – not on our backs, because we not Mariah Carey. We not f**king Justin Timberlake and these mother f**kers where it’s like you can follow us. Why you think paparazzi don’t run up on rap n***as like that with all that flashin’ s**t because they think they gonna get shot. So the same s**t with these n***as with these pens and all that s**t and mother f**kers saying certain s**t about n***as when they on the radio like, “His s**t ain’t bumping no more.” And somebody gonna see you and test your f**king works because we’re not Mariah Carey and we not Justin. We from the ghetto. Don’t say anything about my motherf**king ghetto or how I spit my s**t like I ain’t real, n***a. You ain’t real. F**k you. What do you feel about New York now? Is there an identity crisis? Method Man: You know these kids was looking for something to follow man. With L.A. with the gang s**t and all that s**t with the n***as, and regardless to the killing and the drug dealing and everything, them n***as is family. They don’t s**t on they family, man. But over here man, New York n***as are so greedy, man. It’s like, “S**t, I’m gonna keep that lesson to myself.” They ain’t give no blessing, they ain’t teaching these little n***as nothing. Teach these little n***as something out there to identify with. Now you got Bloods and got all this crazy s**t going on. Yeah, yeah. Method Man: “It’s like I don’t want to be in that s**t, n***a. I don’t even go to school. F**k you, n***a. Who the f**k is Socrates?” You know. But don’t get me wrong, ‘cause there’s a lot of n***as out there in the street are holdin’ [hot lyrics]- they just ain’t being heard right now. Absolutely. Method Man: Ghost’s Fishscale album was crazy. It was crazy but it did the Soul thing. The Soul thing? Method Man: That album, I feel it was rushed. Aw, I hate that. I feel it was rushed. I feel he had a lot of s**t on his mind, which he expressed. As far as [the tracks], and things like that sometimes it was happening and sometimes it was like he got the benefit of the doubt, because he was Ghost. What do you mean benefit of the doubt? Method Man: Like Rob Base on “It Takes Two,” which stood by itself. Rob Base wasn’t the most lyrical n***a in the world, but he was on that song. It’s vice versa with Ghost. Some of these beats wasn’t Ghostface caliber and s**t that you heard in the past but it was still Ghost. And Ghost if you love Ghost, you love whatever the f**k he spat on. I said “Spat!” Busta’s album’s crazy too. Method Man: Oh man Busta got it together. Busta is like he got his post. He got his thing. Nobody out there can say Busta ain’t Hip-Hop, ever. I don’t give a f**k, even the whole entertainment aspect, one of the greatest entertainers that ever did it, man. Right. Do you feel like that your acting career has detracted from the Hip-Hop aspect?

Method Man: You know what took away from the Hip-Hop aspect of my s**t? It was all the trial and tribulation that started coming with being on a label [Def Jam] that was going through a transition. Our machine is built and you see that everybody plays their position which is exactly what I did for my last motherf**king album. They wasn’t saying that [“Meth went Hollywood”] on my second album. They wasn’t saying that on my first album. But they gonna say it on this one ‘cause they done seen all the movies and everything. So they just waiting for me to fail. Yeah, definitely. Method Man: I don’t let it bother me no more. My fans ain’t as stupid as these people thinking they just a lot of stupid motherf**kers that run with our fans and s**t. They gonna see that s**t for what is and they just gonna sit back and laugh. So you’re not mad at the music game right now. Method Man: I mean, yeah, I am. I ain’t gonna front. Oh yes, I am I’m not gonna sit for it, no way. It’s good for the game because it shows that it’s not just and East Coast, West Coast thing the way it used to be. Now it’s Midwest, Down South, the s**t got transitioned. But I’m gonna quote Erick Sermon on it: “This s**t is turning into fast food.” Every f***ing week, man, it’s a new “Young something.” And I ain’t disrespecting none of them n***as. But it’s like we gonna see s**t for what the f**k it is. Definitely. Method Man: You know, it’s a different “Young” this, you know what I’m saying. It’s like that man live with that or let those two dudes live with that – whoever had the [name] first. Let them live with that. You know, then it becomes monotonous, repetitive, all the words that go with that s**t. What about lyricism, man? Like you say, you got many styles but also lyrics. Method Man: It gets to a point where they don’t give a f**k what you got to say no more. Because you been battered and bruised so much like they don’t care what the f**k you got anymore.