Local Wire

Method Man

As one of Wu-Tang Clan's most popular members, Method Man is a '90s hip-hop icon. "Hey, you, get off my cloud!" from "Method Man" is a hip-hop quotable as lasting as the Rolling Stones track from which he borrowed it, as are other Meth-isms like "Can I get a zoooooo" and "Johnny Blaze."

Too bad, then, that Meth's new album, 4:20: The Day After, is a disappointment. Released in August, the disc has received sympathetic reviews from fans, and the rapper has argued loudly that its commercial failure is because of the woeful state of hip-hop culture rather than its quality. He may be right, but for the most part, tracks like "Say" (which samples a Lauryn Hill performance) and "Walk On" (which reunites him with Redman) are not as good as those found on past solo albums like Tical. Importantly, they're not as relevant, and exist in some twilight zone between Method Man's thwarted ambitions and his twilight as a major rap star.

Of course, Method Man has still got that catalogue of hits as a soloist ("Bring Da Pain," "All I Need"), as a Wu-Tang member, as a frequent collaborator with Redman ("How High," "Da Rockwilder"), and as a guest vocalist on some of the biggest albums of the '90s (including 2Pac's All Eyez on Me and the Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die). Whether it's all over or not, he's had a good ride.

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Mosi Reeves