Menace is so fleeting a quality that, once lost, is impossible
to regain. At the dawn of his career, Method Man loomed as a bold,
powerful and almost sinister member of the Wu-Tang clan. His verses
on that group’s groundbreaking debut, Enter the Wu-Tang
…, felt like the musings of a playfully grimy street
His solo ventures have given little more than haunting glimpses
into a talent either too complacent or too distracted by a passion
for weed to put together a disc with any sort of vigor.
Tical 0: The Prequel is so long delayed that one has to wonder
if perhaps Meth’s obsession with Mary Jane hasn’t
thrown him irreparably off course. Swollen with top-shelf guests
such as Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot, Method Man feels
more like a visitor than the marquee name. No hooks really catch;
no verses have any memorable devices or punch-lines.
“Rodeo” has a tired Method and a Ludacris cameo
that’s raunchy even for Luda.
Possessor of a timeless flow, Method Man can tether himself to
any beat thrown his way. The vowels and syllables spill from his
mouth and sink into each rise and fall of the beat. His voice and
the music pull together in a patchwork of rhythmic cascades. The
endurance of his flow never lets any one song plummet into complete
inanity, even when it probably should.
“The Turn” and “Afterparty” have Raekwon
and Ghostface reviving their comrade’s palate for growling
danger. Such moments of ashy fire are snuffed out under the weight
of too many other cast-offs.
On a larger scale, this album reiterates a trend spreading
through so many charismatic and commercially prominent MCs. With
success in movies, male hygiene products and a
soon-to-be-short-lived sitcom starting this summer, Method Man just
doesn’t seem to have time for rap songs.
His upward mobility and name-brand recognition notwithstanding,
MM may have just spent too much time around his better (and even
more blunted) half Redman to keep his swagger. When they team with
Snoop Dogg on “We Some Dogs,” these three sublimely
talented rappers all toss out redundant canine analogies and sniff
around for roaches.
The clanking danger of the early Method Man slips further and
further away and nothing seems to be radiating from him except a
stoner’s spare tire.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.