These days, the names Method Man and Redman are always associated with one another. Partners-in-rhyme and close friends, they're the dynamic duo of beats, rhymes and blunt smoke.
Their partnership has been especially fruitful too as they starred in their own stoner buddy-comedy movie ‘How High,’ had their own prank show on MTV called 'Stung' (long before Ashton Kutcher had 'Punk’d') and even had a sitcom that briefly aired on FOX in primetime, 'Method & Red.'
They still collaborate regularly and tour with each other often. All these endeavors in and outside of the music business can be traced back to their first collaborative album, ‘Blackout!’ which celebrates its 15th anniversary this month on Sept. 28.
Of course, Meth and Red built legacies of their own long before they began working together. Method Man was the breakout star during the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s rise to prominence, complete with his titular track ‘M.E.T.H.O.D. Man’ on the Wu’s iconic debut, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).' Mentored by Erick Sermon, Redman earned a spot in the Hit Squad collective and quickly made a name for himself as a solo artist by releasing a string of classic LPs such as ‘Whut? Thee Album’ and 'Muddy Waters.'
Meth and Red would eventually cross paths, oddly enough, at a Kriss Kross album release party in the early '90s, and a bond eventually developed between the Def Jam label mates. The two would make their first mark as a duo via the now quintessential weed anthem ‘How High’ for ‘The Show’ soundtrack, which dropped back in 1995. Then, four years later, Method Man and Redman would drop their long-awaited album ‘The Blackout!’ on Def Jam.
To this day, ‘Blackout!’ is a highly entertaining listen. Meth and Red’s chemistry is impeccable and it’s easy to see why such a diverse audience gravitates toward these two colorful characters. Their comedic timing and larger than life personas make the effort simply infectious. In celebration of the album’s 15th anniversary, The Boombox takes a look back and breaks down the five best tracks from ‘The Blackout!'
The album's title track 'Blackout' makes for a perfect opening salvo from Meth and Red. Both MCs drop a verse while sharing duties on the uproarious hook. Erick Sermon would provide the backbone for much of this project and give listeners an appetizer of the neck-snapping production he'd be delivering throughout the LP. Sermon had been Red's go-to producer for years by this point, but the track proved that Meth sounded right at home over the Green Eyed Bandit's beats too.
'Mi Casa' is a relatively short, but impactful track with funky production provided by Erick Sermon. Meth and Red ride the beat with precision while dropping some incredibly witty lines. Redman delivers the gem, "Whatchu crazy? / Since a buck tooth baby / Doc is like straight f--- you, pay me like Jay Z / Lazy n----s complain / Doc load up the cartridge and start kickin' game like Acclaim / Those you call dogs'll rat your name / Those who say they love you attack your change / That's why I fold down four fingers / Say f--- the world and jimmy da Earth out with coat hangers."
'Run 4 Cover' Feat. Ghostface Killah & Streetlife
The Wu-Tang element of 'Blackout! is kept to a minimum as RZA and Mathematics only produce four cuts on the album, but the RZA knocks it out the park during his limited opportunities as heard on 'Run 4 Cover.' The Wu-Tang presence is in full effect here as Ghostface Killah along with Wu-affiliate Streetlife join Method Man and Redman for this grimy posse cut. As Meth declares, "Yo, this ain't ya granddaddy's music, it's hip hop," and this one is a dream come true for any hip hop head. Despite being surrounded by three heavyweights, Streetlife delivers a quality verse to kick things off and represents himself well. Red, Meth and Ghost then drop some exceptional bars that are sure to have you playing 'Run 4 Cover' over again.
It's easy to see why 'Tear It Off' was chosen as one of the album's singles. Redman's catchy chorus and Erick Sermon's hypnotic instrumental are sure to get a party jumping. But it's Method Man who steals the show with two outstanding verses that display why he's so beloved.
"Kicking in you do' like a steel toe, for real doe / Y'all gon learn, I spit germs / When you come short on Big Worm, you get burned / Punks don't get turned, they get done and get sun Come get some, the last victim, lie in a ditch / Now who wanna f--k with Hot Nick' N----s chew gum with they a-- and pop s--- / Me and Funk Doc get, toxic / A bowl of rice and some chopsticks / Go make your Wu, just imposters," Meth spits.
'Da Rockwilder' is a true no-brainer for the top track off 'Blackout!' and it's one of the greatest songs Method Man and Redman have created. It's also a regular selection for any hip-hop head discussing a wishlist of songs that should be longer as it clocks in at just over two minutes.
This track is the whole package. Meth and Red attack the pulsating beat crafted by the eponymous Rockwilder with fervor before closing things out with a playful ending that has you begging for more. This is dazzling wordplay at its finest.
Meth raps, "Still homes I'm never satisfied like the Stones / We don't condone biting see them selling crossbones / Protecting what I'm writing / Don't clash with the Titan who blast with a license / To kill rap reciting / Come on in the zone with ya nigga from the group home / Tical! (F--- your lifestyle!)."
Red responds with, "Yo, I was going too buck we roam, cellular phones / Doc, Meth, back in the flesh, blood and bones / Don't condone, spend bank loans on homegrown / Suckers break like Turbo and Ozone / When I grab the broom / Moonwalk platoon hawk my goons bark /Leave you in a blue lagoon lost (true) / Three nines in the glove with Maksul, D-Don in the club / Right behind on a bus."
And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the music video. Back when a rap video still mattered, 'Da Rockwilder' went all out with massive special effects and Dave Meyers, the go-to director of the time, at the helm. The visuals added a new layer to 'Da Rockwilder' and simply made it more memorable.