Method Mans music, both solo and with Wu-Tang Clan, has garnered him icon status in Hip-Hop, while his acting career introduced him to mainstream audiences.
It may seem like yesterday to some, but Method Man actually appeared in two movies (187 with Samuel L. Jackson and Cop Land with Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) and an episode of Martin in 1997, the same year that Wu-Tang Forever was released. Since that time the multi-talented rapper has appeared in numerous TV shows - even his own with the short-lived 2004 series Method & Red - and has landed roles in several movies.
Despite insisting that he does not care what people think of him or his career decisions, reacting to critics has never been Method Mans forté. With more aliases than a religious cult leader on the lam, Johnny Blaze has always been brutally honest about his feelings. While someone with less moxie may be put off by that, true fans continue to appreciate his in-your-face honesty with the media.
Method Mans latest acting gig has him flexing a unique accent in the new film The Wackness, a current critics favorite at the box office. We grabbed a few minutes of his time to discuss his Hollywood career, how life with Def Jam has changed, his new comic book and what comes next as he approaches 20 years in entertainment.
AllHipHop.com: In the past few years people have really seen you evolve in Hollywood whether it was on television or in movies. Youve taken on a lot more roles. Was this a conscious thing for you in the beginning, to really focus on acting, or did it just happen?
Method Man: It just happened. Its hard for me to watch myself after the scene is said and done and I watch myself on screen. But it just fell in my lap, I did one thing which led to another thing, got a call for another thing and I said, Why not get an agent and keep going?
AllHipHop.com: Youve expressed a lot of frustration about the way the series [Method & Red] was promoted. Have you ever looked into doing another television series where you might be a central character?
Method Man: Im not messing with TV. [laughs] No way, no sitcoms at all. I dont know, Hollywood doesnt get it or maybe we dont, because I got flak from both sides. Black people thought it was misrepresenting Black folks, I wasnt trying to represent Black folks with that show. Dont put that burden on me. As far as the network, they just didnt listen. I thank them for that opportunity though.
AllHipHop.com: In your music career youve had a huge learning curve going from your group that you gained a lot of notoriety with, to your solo career, where its been a bumpy ride. What would you say is the most important lesson youve learned?
Method Man: Dont read your own press, stay out of trouble and save your money.
AllHipHop.com: We interviewed Shakir Stewart recently, and weve heard a lot of rumblings from various artists [at Def Jam]. We asked him about whether the company was speaking to artists about why they were unhappy, he assured us that they were [speaking to people]. Have you had a chance to sit down with him yet, or are you looking forward to it?
Method Man: No, I havent spoken with Shakir. I dont know the dude - if you put him in a lineup I couldnt pick him out. Im not saying that to be disrespectful, Im just saying I dont know the dude. If theyre addressing whatever with artists at Def Jam, I aint got a phone call.
AllHipHop.com: But if there was an opportunity for a meeting you would have things to discuss
"I regret this s**t to this day, but in that meeting Im swallowing my pride and everything, trying to explain to them where Im at with it right now, and why Im even saying the things that Im saying to them."
Method Man: I done sat down and had meetings already. All I can do is do albums, hand them in and do my best to promote my album. Im not asking for anybody to do nothing for me I cant do for myself. Thats pretty much it, but no ones spoken to me. I sat in Def Jam with L.A. [Reid], Steve Bartels, Jay Brown and Jay-Z, and at [that] point in time I was going through so much in my life that I was ready to explode. I regret this s**t to this day, but in that meeting Im swallowing my pride and everything, trying to explain to them where Im at with it right now, and why Im even saying the things that Im saying to them.
Ill do you one better. Its hard when you got a lot of people thinking you said something and you didnt actually say it, but you got everybody against you thinking you did say so it so its like, F**k you. So anything you say at that point in time is all [game], theres nobody you can convince of the truth at that point in time and its frustrating. So me sitting there in that office and looking at these dudes faces, knowing that I didnt do anything f**king wrong. But to sit there and swallow my pride in front of grown a** men to the point where Im so f**king angry tears is in my eyes, thats when theres a problem.
After that meeting, I dont think anybody reached out to me with the exception of Jay Brown, nobody reached out to me to exactly see what I was going through. I wrote Jay-Z a letter, I dont know if he still got it, hopefully he burned the s**t, but I wrote him a letter trying to explain exactly where I was coming from and why things were the way that they were as far as I go.
"I was used to Lyor [Cohen] and Kevin [Liles] who spoiled us, having such a hands-on approach, that I got things a little misconstrued myself."
Were here now, and Def Jam will tell you, We got a good relationship with Method Man and Ill say the same thing, I got a good relationship with Def Jam. But I was used to Lyor [Cohen] and Kevin [Liles] who spoiled us, having such a hands-on approach, that I got things a little misconstrued myself. Instead of being vocal about things, I should have sat back, watched and did the knowledge to how things worked [at the time] instead of trying to force it into my favor. I know that now.
Theres nobody to blame for an album not selling at all. It just didnt sell. Its time to just move on to the next thing. I told them dudes in that meeting that day, tears and all, that I started my career in Def Jam and thats where I wanted to end my career at, and I still mean that s**t.
AllHipHop.com: You come from an era in Hip-Hop that was so heavy with street teaming, now the digital age has taken over. Are you doing anything right now to actively transition yourself with your music into the digital age?
"I love music and Im gonna keep doing it for as long as I possibly can, whether its for money or not."
Method Man: No, I just go in the studio and make the records. To me now, its to the point where I dont care if it makes money or not, Im doing it for me. This is how I used to do it before there was a record deal, I used to sit at my moms table, bang on the table, write rhymes and think to myself, Wait til n***as here this in the staircase. I wasnt thinking, Wait til the world hears this. So thats what Im doing now and Im gonna always be like that. I love music and Im gonna keep doing it for as long as I possibly can, whether its for money or not.
AllHipHop.com: With a career spanning well over a decade, kids still actually respect you. Are there ever times where youve felt distanced from the kids with the way that they see [the music scene] now?
Method Man: Yeah a whole hell of a lot, and its good you asked that. I cant wear tight T-shirts or tight jeans. My body aint built like that, Im thin so I cant wear a lot of that stuff. As far as the dances, Im too grown to be doing that s**t. Braids in my hair, forget about it, Im too grown for that. What did Jay say? I could buy the Bentley but Im grown enough not to put rims on it. But Im still connected with them on a level as far as knowing what gets them going, what they like and what they like to see, I know that type of swagger they like. People like real s**t, they like genuine articles, so as long as I can be me thats the easiest job in the world.
AllHipHop.com: In this movie The Wackness, they put a lot of emphasis on the soundtrack and capturing that era  through Hip-Hop particularly. How did you feel about the way that it was represented in the film?
Method Man: I feel [director Jonathan Levine] did an excellent job, I swear on everything I love. I hadnt seen the movie until Sundance, and there were times where I was sitting in there watching the movie and some music would come on and my feet would start tapping like, Yeah he got that off, wow. So like after five or six songs Im sitting there waiting and then a Wu-Tang song came on and Im like, Aight there we go, nice. [smiles]
AllHipHop.com: You have a comic book coming out too, what exactly inspired you to do that? We know you like comic books
Method Man: Thats exactly what it is. When the opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. They said, What do you wanna do? I said, I dont know, I got ideas all over the place and this guy David Atchison took all of my s**t, put them in a pot and made a nice stew. Then Sanford Greene pieced it together well enough for them to see a great story and make a nice art.
AllHipHop.com: As far as transitioning into different forms of merchandising and marketing yourself, have you looked into fashion?Method Man: No. I will never do fashion because as soon as your clothing line goes down, so do you.
AllHipHop.com: Are you touring overseas nowdays?
Method Man: I go overseas, I do shows here but theyre not promoted to the urban areas anymore. Us dudes, we get promoted more to the suburban areas and most of my shows is white kids.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like in certain ways that youve made yourself a mainstream name?
Method Man: Yeah, but when its involuntary it feels better, it doesnt feel like you sold a piece of a** to get where you got.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything else you want fans to know about what you have coming up?
Method Man: Just be on the lookout for How High II the movie, me and Redmans album, my comic book is called Method Man and also a television show called Burn Notice. I did an episode on there, July 10th it debuts [on the USA Network].