METHOD MAN INTRODUCTION:
Method Man was born Clifford Smith on April 1, 1971, in Hempsted, Long Island, New York. As a youth he was shuttled between his delinquent father in Long Island, and his mother in Staten Island, New York. In Staten Island - later renamed "Shaolin" by the Clan - was where he met the men who would eventually become the Wu-Tang Clan. Whilst in Staten Island, Meth grew up in the 'Park Hill' projects with his mother and two sisters, one younger, one older. He has said he dropped out of high school in the ninth and eleventh grades, and sold and experimented with drugs. "Reality smacked me in the face early. That's why I don't like to talk about my childhood," Meth told Rolling Stone in late 1998. He then added, "I don't ever want anybody to feel sorry for me because of the way I came up. There are a lot of people who have it a hell of a lot worse than me." READ MORE ABOUT METHOD MAN IN OUR METHOD MAN BIOGRAPHY SECTION »
METHOD MAN INTERVIEWS:
» METHOD MAN: INTERVIEW 3: Method Man Interview With 'MP3.com' - (2006)
The one-and-only Johnny Blaze talks about his new album, hatred for rap critics, reconnecting with Redman, and his love for video games. Check it out now by reading the full interview transcript below, Enjoy:
MP3: So I’m going to start with the usual joint. I'm sure you get these questions a fair amount but the people want to know. New album. This is your fourth time out solo. What can we expect? I mean, I heard the single…
Method Man: That’s so fucking cliche. How can you ask me that?
MP3: I know, I know, but that's what people want to know.
Method Man: Come on, man!
MP3: Alright. Okay, you want to mix it up?
Method Man: Yeah. You know, don't be so conventional with it. But that's always a good question, what can they expect? That's my cue for it. You're right. [Sarcastically] Yeah, you can expect a dope LP. This is like I stepped out of the box with this one here. It's like the production is bananas and Meth is in the building. In the building!
MP3: Okay, let's take it back a ways. When your first joint, when Tical came out, everybody loved it. You know, that was universally hailed as a classic. I don't think anybody would dispute that.
Method Man: I’ll dispute that classic shit with the first album. Well, not with everybody, but you know.
MP3: I'm just saying, a lot of people love that record. Having that, does that make it harder when your first joint is so -- everybody loves it, you won a Grammy. I mean, does that make it harder to follow it up?
Method Man: You don't want to peak that early.
MP3: Right. Right.
Method Man: Noone does. I like the gradual build-up to, you know, the big things. But, it's always hard. I mean, when I went in to do my second album I always had that in my head. Like, how do you top the first one? What I did was I just piled a bunch of fucking songs, and I must have had like, what, 26 songs on that fucking album?
MP3: A lot, yeah.
Method Man: So like I said, it's a lot right there. I mean, everybody wants to, you know, skip that sophomore jinx. I was just trying to get my second album out of the way as soon as possible. And the first album, you know, people can talk their classic stuff because that's even cliché to say now.
Method Man: You know? Cuz if it was a classic I would have got my four and a half, five mikes. I got four mikes on that album in The Source. And that was when The Source was, you know, valid.
MP3: Somewhat legit.
Method Man: Had some type of validity to it, you know. I don't know. I'm glad people can say that, though. I know there was a lot of high school kids that really rocked with it back then. You know.
MP3: No doubt. Definitely.
Method Man: Then, as they got older—it's like Transformers. As you got older they just got corny. You know what I mean?
MP3: I hear you. Would you rather, if you have the choice with this new record being critically acclaimed or going triple platinum, is there one thing that's more important to you? I know you've had some words about critics in the press and whatnot in the past.
Method Man: Yeah, y'all idiots.
Method Man: They all are fucking idiots.
MP3: But, yet, it's still part of the game. You still got to do press dates and shit like that.
Method Man: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They are idiots.
MP3: Does one thing matter more than the other to you? Would you rather sell a ton or would you rather have everybody say, "I love this record. This is fantastic."
Method Man: I really want both. But if I had to weigh it out, I'd say I want to sell a ton.
MP3: [laughs] Okay.
Method Man: I'm being honest, for real. Because a lot of dudes out there selling a ton of records with garbage shit. And you know what they're doing?
MP3: What's that?
Method Man: They're retiring early. (whispering)That's what I wanna do.
MP3: Now that was another question…
Method Man: I'm not going to make an album like that, though.
Method Man: I'm never trying to make an album like that. Like, okay. I'm trying to make this album so I can sell 50 million copies. That's what we all hope for. You know what I'm saying? But at the same time we definitely want our core audience to know that we never compromise ourselves on the music they love, you know? I think I've done that a couple times, but shit, like I said, it's about growth.
MP3: Right on. Now the Wu did a little reunion tour recently, and you guys are doing the Rock the Bells shows coming up in August.
Method Man: Rock the Bells.
MP3: I know you guys have toured all over. You've done a lot of festivals and whatnot. Is there something with those shows that stands out more to you?
Method Man: It's a more intimate crowd. And it's cool, cuz you know, most of those kids, they've been riding with you since day one and they know the songs. They're not programmed.
Method Man: They're not the conformists, you know?
MP3: Did ODB's passing, did that facilitate the Wu coming back together and touring again?
Method Man: We been doing our thing anyway. Dirty made as many shows as he wanted to make, so it was like "whatever, whatever" you know. R.I.P. Ol' Dirty Bastard. But yeah, it inspired us to come back as a whole and do a tribute tour, a dedication to an Ol' Dirty Bastard, you know. Everybody gotta rock with their people, you know. It definitely shows what kind of person or what kind of character you have.
MP3: Now what about – are you going to do a solo tour this summer to support the record? Or are you going to be touring with those guys?
Method Man: I'm going to do a promo tour. But as I'm saying, while I'm at Wu Tang everything is promo. When I step out my front door it's promo, you know what I'm saying? So definitely.
MP3: Okay. What about another project with Redman? Is there any talk of a Blackout deuce or whatever?
Method Man: Yes yes. When I sat down and I spoke to Jay about my album, that day he brought it up.
MP3: He brought that up? Nice.
Method Man: Yeah. You know what I mean. So definitely. I'm not gonna say definitely, but I'm gonna say definitely.
MP3: Okay, alright. Now what about, speaking of Redman, what's the word on How High 2? I heard some rumors about it. Is that happening? People want to see that.
Method Man: They're currently writing some scripts right now.
Method Man: See what's popping. It's going to be a hard sell because they waited too long to make it, I think.
MP3: I think people will still check that out, you know. I was talking to a lot of people and told them I was going to be interviewing you, and they were all like, "when's How High 2 coming out?"
Method Man: You know what we need, we need a campaign like Snakes on a Plane.
MP3: Yeah, totally.
Method Man: Everybody on the internet on that before the movie even dropped or anything. And I read the whole script so I know exactly what's going on. And I mean, just off the Internet buzz alone, the fanboys, and all that, you know what I'm saying?
MP3: They're going crazy.
Method Man: They're going crazy for this freaking movie, to the point where the title, which is so campy, they kept it! You know what I mean?
MP3: Right, right.
Method Man: The movie is actually called Snakes on a Plane.
MP3: Yeah [laughs]. Now, you've been around for, you know, a long time. 12 years now, something like that?
Method Man: Been around for a minute yeah.
MP3: Obviously the music industry has changed dramatically since you first dropped. Hip-hop, the sound and the look and everything has changed a lot. Do you think, in your opinion, do you feel like shit is better now than it was when you came out? Or worse? Or just different?
Method Man: Both. Why I say both is because it's better because it used to just be east and west.
Method Man: You know. Now the market's so big. You got down south, mid-west playing their part. Overseas, you know, they got a lot of good artists over there. I mean award winning MC's over there. That's the good part. The bad part is there's a lot of fast food coming out now. I mean, these losers in and out before you even know anyone's name. You know what I mean?
Method Man: And that has a lot to do with, like I said, radio and magazine people selling these people. And what bands fail to understand, and I'm not saying everybody's doing it cuz some people are just dick riders and they just follow what's good.
MP3: What's "hot."
Method Man: You know what I'm saying? But there are people that are taking payola.
MP3: Oh yeah.
Method Man: In these hot positions and with the power to, basically, sell a product.
MP3: Right, right.
Method Man: And that's exactly what they're doing, selling a product. It's up to the fans. I would say put it in the hands of all the backpack rap dudes and let them sort it out, because they know a hell of a lot more than people give them credit for.
MP3: So aside from being a rapper, you're a movie star. You had the TV show going for a minute. You know, you're a very recognizable cat on the street, or whatever. What's the best thing about being Method Man, and what's the worst thing?
Method Man: shit, (pause) the best thing is just that, you know. All the perks that come with it. The worst thing is keeping up.
Method Man: And that's it.
MP3: Do you feel like, you know, as your career progresses and with each new project that it's harder or easier to, to keep it up and to keep things moving?
Method Man: It's harder to convince people after a while because they feel like they know you. You've been doing it for so long. You know, I mean, all it takes is one slip. Look at Tom Cruise. He was the man for a long time. One slip. He spoke a little bit too much and now it's like, you know what, you are an idiot.
MP3: [laughs] Right.
Method Man: I still like Tom Cruise.
MP3: So what else do you have? I mean, you know, you got the album dropping. You got the promo tour. What else is on your agenda?
Method Man: The Wire.
MP3: The TV show?
Method Man: Yeah. I've been on that for three seasons now. It’s my third season. I'm gonna do the acting thing, I ain't really turned off of acting too much.
Method Man: More music, definitely.
MP3: Does making music still come first, before acting?
Method Man: I wanna be a video game programmer.
MP3: Oh word?
Method Man: Oh yeah.
MP3: What are your favorite joints right now? What are you playing? Just break it down. We got another company here called GameSpot. It’s a total video game HQ.
Method Man: Can you get me some free shit?
Method Man: That's what's up. Well you know. Okay I'll tell you then, SOCOM.
Method Man: Online. Well, you know, that's a serious game. If you're a gamer you know that SOCOM's a serious game. I mean, sometimes we're online and we're playing with clans that are all cops. You know what I mean? It's dope, though. It's not every day you get to kill a cop.
MP3: Nice [laughs]
Method Man: Online. No but they be cool, though. We be smoking weed and all that online, you know what I'm saying? Like, they can tell that we smoking this shit a lot, or I may just say some shit like "oh this weed good" you know.
Method Man: They can't bust you. What the fuck?
MP3: Yeah that's the thing. They’re not gonna jump out the screen.
Method Man: Yeah. But SOCOM, definitely SOCOM.
MP3: Okay. Right on, man. Well, you got any last words out there for the fans and the people, Method Man's supporters?
Method Man: Um, don't count me out, just count me in. And judge for yourself. Stop reading all that bullshit-ass press. For real. They got a few magazines out there that blow smoke up your asses every week. I be getting them too. US Weekly and Star magazine. That's what the hip-hop magazines are turning into now. And all these so-called "where hip-hop and R & B live" radio stations are shock-jocking us to death, and I'm basically getting tired of it.
MP3: If you could change an aspect of the game, if you could take out that piece of it, would you?
Method Man: Like what?
MP3: You know, last year there was a bunch of people talking about the whole payola situation, and Funk Flex was getting called out and whatnot. Do you think that's ever gonna stop, or do you think it's just built into the industry?
Method Man: Oh, no. It's been going on for a long time, and that's part of the industry right there. It's just how you play it. And whoever blew the whistle is a snitch.
MP3: Right [laughs].
Method Man: That's the bottom line. They're a snitch. I mean it's good, but at the end of the day you're a fuckin snitch. You know? fuck it. I need some fucking payola. I don't think they ever paid to get any of my shit played, and if they did I didn't know about it.
MP3: Any chance for a Wu Tang record this year? Next year?
Method Man: Nah, what, are you kidding me?
MP3: I don't know.
Method Man: Nah, hell no. I'm hopeful, though, just like everybody else. I'm here.
Meth's new album 4:21...The Day After hits streets August 29th.
READ OUR OTHER METHOD MAN INTERVIEWS:
» Meth Interview On "Tical 0: The Prequel" Album - (2004)
» Method Man Speaks On Meth, Redman, and Wu - (2000)
» 'Stepping Into The Millennium' Interview - (Apr 4 1999)
» Red And Meth Interview On 'Blackout' Album - (Nov 11 1999)
Chat About Method Man In Our Hip Hop Fan Forum »
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