Posted on August 24th, 2015 (11:00 am) by Justin Goodman

I have to admit, I agree with Hopsin. Instead of picking beefs with Top Dawg Entertainment (Kendrick being one of the most socially conscious rappers around) or Shady Entertainment (Eminem’s, I begrudgingly admit, decent label), his anger is better pointed at the past. As we’ve noted time and again, and what has become focal in rap with the release of Straight Outta Compton, is that classics like N.W.A are invaluable, but not ageless. Method Man’s recent release, The Meth Lab, only serves to further highlights this division. The gang banging lyrics, drug dealing premise, drowning out of Method Man by excessive features, ‘straight gutta’ backtrack, all suggest an attempt to form a new, grittier Wu Tang. But these come ups state only that there will be no Wu Tang renaissance.

What is it about this album that has reviewers in Rolling Stone, and Consequence of Sound giving it middling reviews? It’s all there at the beginning of their reviews: “The Wu-Tang Clan is an empire.” But The Meth Lab isn’t Wu Tang, and Method Man’s first solo album in nine years is ominous regarding the much anticipated Crystal Meth set to release next year. There are clever lines from Method Man (in “2 Minutes of Your Time:” “Da ratchet tryna peel ya like Mike Jack/Call that thriller a nite cap”) and repetitions of that cleverness by less clever rappers (“Come and hit ‘em in the dark, call it nite cap”). And other than the few traditionally Wu funk tracks – “50 Shots,” “The Pledge,” and “2 Minutes of Your Time” – this repetition runs throughout both the album as a whole, and throughout gangsta-inspired rap. If you listen closely to “Intelligent Meth,” You can hear the Eminem in it.

The few interesting tracks either come too late (“Rain All Day” comes third to last), or are lost in the noise of younger rappers. It’s no surprise that the best track on the album is “The Purple Tape.” It’s the only reunion of Wu Tang remnants Method Man, Raekwon, and Inspectah Deck. Other than a few forgivable, embarrassing lines in the chorus (“Hashtag we still win” and “Wu Tang is for the children” in particular), it's a sign of what the album could have been. But if it's is truly ”for the children,” it’s difficult to fathom exactly how. The new names? The old rap? Maybe, if anything, this resurgence will cause a new generation to look back to the original Wu Tang since, contrary to what Method Man says, The Meth Lab does not convince me that he’s “20 years in the game and still relevant.” Hopefully Crystal Meth proves me wrong.

Track List:

  1. Intro
  2. The Meth Lab (Feat. Hanz On & Streetlife)
  3. Straight Gutta (Feat. Redman, Hanz On, Streetlife)
  4. Bang Zoom (Feat. Hanz On, Streetlife, Eazy Get Rite)
  5. 50 Shots (Feat. Mack Wilds, Streetlife, Cory Gunz)
  6. The Pledge (Hanz On, Streetlife)
  7. 2 Minutes Of Your Time
  8. Worldwide (Feat. Hanz On, Uncle Murda, Chedda Bang)
  9. Soundcheck (Feat. Carlton Fisk, Hanz On)
  10. Water (Feat. Chedda Bang)
  11. Lifestyles (Cardi, Eazy Get Rite, Freaky Marciano)
  12. The Purple Tape (Feat. Raekwon, Inspectah Deck)
  13. Intelligent Meth (Feat. Masta Killa, Streetlife, Intell)
  14. Symphony (Feat. Hanz On, Streetlife, Kash Verrazano, Carlton Fisk, Killa Sin)
  15. What You Getting Into (Feat. Streetlife, Donny Cacsh)
  16. Another Winter (Feat. Hanz On, Streetlife, Carlton Fisk)
  17. Rain All Day (Feat. Hanz On, Dro Pesci)
  18. So Staten (Feat. Hanz On, Hue Huf)
  19. Outro
Method Man
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

48 / 100
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