Author Topic: Method Man - new MTV-article  (Read 101 times)

Jome

Method Man - new MTV-article
« on: February 03, 2003, 03:46:21 PM »
-- by Abbey Goodman, with additional reporting by Minya Oh

Method Man hasn't changed. You have.

Or at least that's what the Staten Island rapper born Clifford Smith would like for you to believe.

"I'm still me. I ain't changed a bit," he said. "I mean, everything around me has changed except me. So what does that say? Oh boy, it's crazy."

It's not only crazy it's flat-out wrong.

It's been five years since Meth's last solo album, and twice that since his crew, Wu-Tang Clan, broke onto the rap scene with the urban classic Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). And while what Method Man is trying to convey is that money and success haven't changed him, that notion seems somewhat naive. We've all seen how true it rings for J.Lo.

  "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By"
Tical
(Def Jam)
Let's start with the obvious: Shrouded in an oversized grey hooded fur coat and a belly-button length medallion swinging from his neck, Meth seesaws between his old persona a gritty, street-savvy interview subject who commands attention by piquing curiosity with his now-you-see-me-now-you-don't get-ups and a more secure, mature Meth who doesn't rely on gimmicks to get noticed. He wears what he's got with the subdued grace of someone born with natural style and charisma, though he stays blingin'. This is in contrast to the old, crazy-looking Method Man, the fresh-on-the-scenes scrapper and street poet who stood out from the crowd by wearing every soccer mom's greatest nightmare: gold fangs and a glass eye.

Oh yeah. Things have definitely changed.

But it's about much more than just fashion. As the first Wu-Tang member to capitalize on the enormous success of the supergroup by putting out a solo album, 1994's Tical, Method Man modeled himself as a grimy rapper, perhaps even to excess, to counteract the public's image of him as the Clan's pretty-boy frontman.

  Method Man Photos: Through The Years
Over the years, though, he's moved farther and farther away from that self-imposed grit and morphed into a half-playful, half-serious pop-culture icon. Yet you can still find him straddling the fence in his music. Appearing on ubiquitous projects with hip-hop's class clown, Redman (1999's Blackout! and 2001's How High), Meth still seems to embody all the things that made him Wu-Tang's most popular: his street-edged sense of humor, his charisma and sex appeal. On the flip side, when he collaborates with Wu brethren Ghostface Killah or GZA, for example, he often returns to his earlier trademark gutter roots.

As a result, his solo sound has always been a little schizophrenic: a hesitant mix of what he wants to convey and what will sell. And it didn't help that when Meth first struck out on his own, he got caught up in his newfound stardom, catching a glimpse of both its perks and its pitfalls.

"I was unfocused," said Meth, who won a Grammy with Mary J. Blige in 1995 for the duet "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By." "It was like, ignorance was bliss for me in those years. I didn't know what was at stake when I was going out on the road by myself to promote that first album or when I did that first video 'Bring the Pain.' came to the set dusted. That's why I look crazy n----s was high! Not just weed high, but angel dust high. Kids, say no. That sh-- is not for you."
 

Jome

Re:Method Man - new MTV-article
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2003, 03:47:17 PM »
By the time 1998's Tical 2000: Judgement Day came around, Meth had a different obstacle to overcome: complacency. "My head was in the clouds," he explained. "I was [like], yeah, it ain't nothing. I could do this by myself. That's the mistake a lot of [rappers] make."

After the second week of Tical 2000's sales, however, Method Man got a reality check. "You know, the hip-hop drop; they've got a name for it where an artist can sell like 200,000 and change and then the next week only get 50,000." Tical 2000: Judgement Day went from over 400,000 in its first week and then steadily downhill from there.

  "The fake love, man. [It] kept me blinded for a long time."
"I was just tricking myself," Meth said. "What was bringing it down was the drugs, the partying, the drinking, and," he pauses and looks down, "the fake love, man. [It] kept me blinded for a long time. [People were saying] 'you should be happy to be there, you're already established, you don't got to work hard.' That type of fake love."

Despite what was happening in Meth's life both personally and professionally, Tical and Tical 2000: Judgement Day have sold nearly identical, and totally respectable, figures to date: roughly 1.5 million copies each. But it's not just a numbers game to the rapper. It's about finally making the album he's never been able to.

For Tical 0: The Prequel, due out this spring on Def Jam, he got some fresh blood in the mix by passing up the usual Wu-Tang branding (though some Clan members do crop up on a couple of songs) and instead enlisting Bad Boy Records Vice President Harve Pierre to executive-produce the project. Not to worry, though, Meth won't be sporting a shiny suit any time soon. Pierre appears as less of a good-time guy than P. Diddy, as we recently saw on "Making the Band 2." His reputation for running a tight ship (as well as creating a bankable sound) was the missing link Meth needed to get the focus back into his work.

"I'm happy to be working with different people," he said. "It feels like I'm going against the grain like, 'Damn, he f---ing with Bad Boy now?' But it ain't like that. It's just Meth doing Meth."

  MTV News Report
Meth Mouths Off
And although Method Man has his head together this time around, what he means when he says he hasn't changed is that he's still inventing new ways of saying things, bugging out, and having fun on wax.

"I just go by ear," he said. "Everything [is] just coming out as it did, concepts. Just look at my group's track record. We were never conceptual. We were just always going in, say your verse, and get the hell out. But in this album I'm turning into a metaphoric freak."

If a multiplatinum-selling career is just the man also known as Johnny Blaze having fun, acting is his "job." With over a dozen feature films under his belt and no signs of the offers slowing down, Meth is hitting the entertainment industry from all angles. His next real-life role is that of director. He's currently working on an independently produced documentary about every male rap star's fascination: strippers. But Method Man wasn't in it for the free lap dances.
 

Jome

Re:Method Man - new MTV-article
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2003, 03:48:05 PM »
 "I need another slash," the ever-business-minded Meth said. "Rapper slash actor slash director slash producer all that. You give me a bunch of credits so that I can fall back on one of those."

Because, let's be real: While Method Man has both genuine talent and interest in all of his entertainment projects, he's been telling us for a decade now that artistic integrity is something, but it isn't everything. It's all about the dollar-dollar bill, y'all.

  "... ignorance was bliss for me in those years."
"I'm not looking for respect [as an actor]. As soon as I come in the door [people whisper] 'rapper.' I do my reading and everything and [they still just see] 'rapper.' Sometimes I get called back, sometimes I don't. The thing I want to do is get me like three of those $5 million joints and then they can have that sh-- because I'll just sit back and just live. Word."

Coming from any other musician, a comment like that might come off as more than just a little disingenuous, particularly to longtime fans. But for Method Man, his mission is crystal-clear to feed his growing family. And without any firm future plans with the Wu-Tang Clan "I got kids," he says, indicating that it often takes too long for the crew to get its act together in the studio as far as income is concerned, he's only relying upon himself.

The difference between Meth and younger rappers still finding their footing in the game is that he's put in his time. Too busy trying to stack paper, he's not concerned about making gritty, Wu-sounding records anymore. He's making a living as an entertainer because that's what he's good at. Meth has no beef with anyone. He's not about rubbing anybody the wrong way. He's not trying to catch buzz off of someone else's name. Add hip-hop's elder statesman to his growing list of slashes.

  "Da Rockwilder" live
at Hammerstein Ballroom
"I can walk anywhere and go up in any place right now with no problem," he said assuredly. "A lot of people open themselves up for that stuff if you ask me. I'm not in stuff like that. You won't hear me beating my own meat on every record [saying] 'I got more this than you got' because where I'm from them n----s ain't got sh-- and they still ain't got sh--. I'm living, you know. I hurt every day for my people." But what if someone has a problem with Meth-lite?

"What if ifs was fifs?" he said with a laugh. "Ain't nobody gonna come at me. I ain't no threat to them n----s. I'm not in their radar right now. It's all gravy. Like I said, three movies. Five million. You ain't gotta worry about me. For real, gone."

He and Redman, still very much hip-hop's favorite duo, have discussed creating a new cartoon based on their antics, but haven't yet made plans to record another album. In the meantime, it's all about The Prequel, where the story of Tical begins properly. Adopting the rap formula for success this time around a few well-placed hooks here, a track by guest rapper du jour Ludacris there Mr. Meth is hell-bent on guaranteeing his name will always be relevant. Maybe change isn't a bad thing after all.

"It's like baseball hall-of-famers people I never even f---ing heard of before be in the hall of fame. They contributed in their era, and they played their position well enough to be talked about in the hall of fame. They didn't hurt the game. That's how I want to be looked at that I didn't hurt the game. Don't f---- with me," he said. "I got kids."
 

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Re:Method Man - new MTV-article
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2003, 06:23:24 PM »
Dope read Jome, thanks. I been fiendin for some new meth music for a minute