When you see Method Man on TV, you see an element of the master. You see a clown, a jester holding court, you see a great veteran MC, you see a comedic entertainer and you see that gleam in his eye. When you get Method Man in a truer element, those aspects are still there. But a clown is appreciated much more as an artist with his make-up off.
Allhiphop joined Method Man not looking to be entertained, but rather enlightened. With his third solo LP, Tical: The Prequel soon to hit record store shelves, we wanted to collect with the Mighty Ticallion Stallion. We discuss the new album, the new personnel, and the new lifestyle of media-ruled hip-hop.
Method Man is as insightful as he is agile with words. In fact, he saved the small-talk and cut to the concrete.
Allhiphop: One of my favorite hip-hop words is 'steez'. You're the first cat I ever heard rock it, and Gang Starr chopped it to the track. Was that a Meth word, or does it go back?
Method Man: Steez, yeah. That goes back to EPMD. Yeah, we used to say, "Stee", style. Niggas used to [that]. It's a New York word. [EPMD] even had a dancer called Stezo.
Allhiphop: The new record is called "The Prequel". Are you saying that this is what made you, or is it a record that's taking us back, or what?
Method Man: It's a prequel, because on the last album, Judgement Day - judgement day is when everything ends, when everything gets judged. So after that, there's nothing. So you have to go back to the beginning. So that's what I did, this is the last chapter of the Tical s**t.
Allhiphop: Now I haven't heard the record. I only read your comments about it in a magazine. But, I found it interesting that you made it a point to isolate yourself to do this record. Without having heads all around you, did you ever feel like you weren't certain on whether something was hot or not?
Method Man: Well, even when I did do my s**t around people, they ain't never really...I mean, it gets to a point where nobody wanna tell nobody nothin' no more 'cuz they too busy worried about they own s**t. You know? But I know what's hot and what's not and I'm my own worst critic, so I'm pretty confident in my own opinions about my s**t. And as far as pleasing the audience, our audience is so fickle these days that they don't know what the f**k they want. They done been to the club about fifty-eleven times.
Allhiphop: Haven't heard. But one producer I love is No I.D. In words, talk about the cut yall did together...what it is?
Method Man: When I first heard the [beat], it sounds different from anything I've ever heard. We have a girl, Chinky singin' on it. It's basically a girl joint. Like girlfriend. I mean, you gotta hear it. They like it enough where I think radio's gonna pick it up, it may be a single.
Allhiphop: You also mentioned criticism a lot. You said people jump off on your guest spots but pick at your albums. Have you ever thought that there's several layers of fans. Especially with you. There's cats that wanna tattoo "Release Yo' Delf" on they eardrums and hated the joint with Fred Durst, and theres vice versa. How does that strike you?
Method Man: Oh, people didn't like me fu**in' with Durst, huh?
Allhiphop: Just an example.
Method Man: But they don't make or break my m'f**kin' career, I make my m'f**kin' career and s**t, the sons of bitches. Can't stand the motherf**kers. Those who can't do, criticize me.
Allhiphop: Is there a specific place for a Rap critic?
Method Man: Yeahhhh, there is. The trash can - stinkin' ass m'fu**as. It's like, they can critique a motherfu**in' song, or a singer or some s**t. Because half those mothafu**ers don't write they own songs. But when you sit there and tell a m'f**ka, "No, you got your life wrong. You didn't write your life right. That's not the way we remembered." It's like, Who the f**k are you to tell me that ain't my life! Kick yo' ass, yo' ass, and yo' ass.
Allhiphop: Your flow is so detailed, and yet you make the rhyme delivery just look easy. What is your method for getting your messages across, while still straight murdering the beat?
Method Man: Say what you feel. I been sayin' that since day one. Do what the music tell you to do. Just make that s**t make sense [laughing] some way. Just make that make sense, to you. That's it, man. Just that grind that s**t out and blow it up. My s**t is just words, wordplay. You can say the same s**t somebody said, but it's the way that you say it. It's how you spit it, it's the confidence. That's the whole s**t right there.
Allhiphop: Hip-hop never has seen you without that confidence...
Method Man: Never will, neither. 'Cuz I know I'm dope as s**t! It's just that the rest of the world ain't considered it. 'Cuz you got a lot of motherf**kas that like to hate on niggas and s**t. That hate s**t is real, man. I hate to give motherfu**as too much credit, but they put a ni**a under. S**t, Mase got out the game.
Allhiphop: Is that hate plaguing hip-hop, or everything in life?
Method Man: Everything. In our field, where there's so much money at stake and s**t, now ni**as get down.
AllHipHop: What do you think about the whole concept of the cameras and s**t following him around?
Method Man: They exploiting that ni**a. I thought he was a General. I thought he was pimping the game. He a soldier man [not a general]. When he went to Roc-A-Fella I was happy for this ni**a I was like, Yeah go get that money, man. Go in there a general man. Start your Dirty Records and all that. This nigga rocking the [Roc] flag and all that. He got the Roc jewels around his neck. He got Roc-A-Wear. He want Roc ni**as on his album. He aint mentioning [Wu Tang on] none of that s**t.
Allhiphop: Switching gears, Let's talk about acting for a minute. You come across as such a strong actor because you've got such a strong persona. In everyday life...do you find that it takes energy to be Method Man as opposed to Cliff? Or has Meth always been that natural?
Method Man: That s**t used to bug me out. I used to hear people say that. It's like, "Me, Stanley and Hammer, it's two totally different people..." No! [laughing]. If you real man, and you doing you, this is hip-hop man. It was built on, if you write about it, you better know it. I'm more or less both them niggas. Whatever you wanna call it and s**t. All day, every day, I'm like this, man.
Allhiphop: So you never need energy to be somebody?
Method Man: Nah.
Allhiphop: Another reason why heads love to see you on screen is because we're used to your antics in videos. And the video is a dead art. What kind of thought or preparation goes into your videos?
Method Man: You know what's funny? I try to not put too much into it man, and go with I like as far as treatments go. But I ain't like none of my videos since "The Rockwilder." That was the last of them s**ts that I liked. The rest of them s**ts was so-so, ehhh.
Allhiphop: So since "Rockwilder", has your input been limited or what?
Method Man: I just wanna do performing s**ts, man. Just stick me in any environment, that's my strongest point right there, man. Performance. I don't wanna re-do anybody's movie, and I ain't have all these little themes and s**t. Just throw me in front of a camera, give me a fu**in backdrop, and let me do my thing.
Allhiphop: Your a cat who seems to have seen some economic versatility in his career. How do you think that the money and fame helped you, and how did it hurt you?
Method Man: S**t. It's hurt me because I can't fu**in...There's a lot of s**t I can't fu**in do. The best part is, I can pay my bills. Well! And still go on vacation.
Allhiphop: The first time a lot of heads heard Meth was on N-Tyce "Hush Hush Tip". When you had the chance to get on that track, what did it mean to you as an artist?
Method Man: I did it. F**k it, it's there, I'mma do it. Why not? We knew N-Tyce for a long time and s**t. She needed me on a project, I did the s**t. I ain't charge her no money or nothin'. But as far as getting on somebody else's s**t [laughing], as far as rhyming and s**t? Maaan, listen, ain't nobody tell me nothing. They be tryin' to sway niggas on they own s**t.
Allhiphop: So to the coming-up cats that dream to work with Meth, they ain't telling you nada?
Method Man: Yupp.
Allhiphop: That's word. There's an exploitation going on...
Method Man: Right, and not give any credit to it. That's why groups like Linkin Park can eat my dick. For real! No, no. I like they s**t. But when you accept the awards and s**t like that, just pay hommage ONCE! Show up to a Source Awards, any thing. You mothaf**kers is rappin' on them records, man.
Allhiphop: But they don't know the history.
Method Man: They rappin', and then you ask 'em who they influences is and s**t, and you get, "David Bowie, Tom Petty." Get the f**k outta here! When was David Bowie rappin'?
Allhiphop: At least Debra Harry from Blondie or something halfway there.
Method Man: Yeah, and what she did was, she opened up they ears. I give her some credit too because she tried to do it and open up some ears and rhyme. She heard the music and fell in love with it and decided to try it herself even though that rap was crazy booty.
Allhiphop: I've seen you host and judge a lot of battles. As a cat who carries a heavy torch, who are some of the new artists indie or mainstream that gets the Iron Lung seal of approval?
Method Man: A lot of 'em ain't been heard yet, man. I like a lot of dudes. But I really don't know names anymore, for real. There's a lot of mixtape dudes that's up and coming that's just killin' m'f**kas, man.
Allhiphop: Do you find yourself disgusted with the way hip-hop is now?
Method Man: No, I'm happy with it. It's a billion dollar business, man. I'm just disgusted with the way it's been treated.
Allhiphop: What is the mistreatment?
Method Man: The rap commercials. People trying to do with the movies and s**t. If I see another white person trying to talk slang, man. It's like they trying to take away from the music and turn it into comedy, man. It's serious out here, you know. Then it's like, Ok, that s**t there is acceptable, but then you can't get 50 Cent to perform at a charity event 'cuz kids is there 'cuz his lyrics is too dirty. That s**t is weak.
AllHipHop: A double standard.
Method Man: Yeah, man. I don't like how they doin' us and s**t. It's like we can make all of us the god damn money, and you can have all these people at the Grammy's, looking like us, dressing like us - but you won't televise our f**king category! This s**t is wack right there. And this music is changing the f**king world. I don't mean, "We are the world!", I mean changing it like m'f**kas [and] they whole attitude towards things is, the way they dress, the way they look. It's the older generation that's holding us back, man. They got everybody's minds in this fu**in daze and s**t like, "No, that's not right. That's not morally right!" Who's to say what's morally right and s**t? Who's to say I can't walk up in your club with my baseball cap and my jeans to have a good time like everybody else? Just 'cuz I look like this, I'm not acceptable? But you playin' my s**t everyday and you tryin' to look, dress, act, walk, talk, f**k, feel like me.