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 4: 'Stepping Into The Millennium' Interview - (Apr 4 1999)
"I hate kids," gurgles Method Man, clambering out of the dingy drizzle of an autumn Staten Island evening and into a tinted-out black Chevy Suburban. Is he serious? Really? See, he's just finished wrestling and trading jokes and punches with a small group of those tiring kid animals who crowded 'round him, living a moment that will later become a story about the "day" they hung out with Method Man:
The "kid-hater" and his Def Jam partner, Redman, have just come from a charity/ promo event, a label-sponsored turkey giveaway at a local church. He and Red eagerly shook every hand, signed every body part and left nary a baby unkissed as they promo'd it up and handed out bags of Butterballs to the modest crowd. And though Redman was certainly an attention-getter, Meth was the charismatic center, as evidenced by the troop of seven-year-old Girl Scouts that tore down the Tical 2000: Judgement Day posters and surrounded him for autographs and casual conversation. Call it an exchange of goodwill: Week one of the promo blitz and over 400,000 kids, Girl Scouts and others, have already taken Judgement Day and a little piece of Meth home.
The best part of all this? "Everything that comes with it," says Meth after a second to reflect. "'Cause I could be doing a whole hell of a lot worse and just being able to provide for my family."
Judgement Day is the follow-up to Tical, Meth's platinum '94 debut, generally regarded as the weakest of Wu-Tang Clan solo joints. Powered by Wu-mania yet to be fully comprehended or clarified, Tical was uneven and formulaic. Likeable, but cryptic, it might've all come to naught if not for Puffy's 24-karat remix of "All I Need To Get By" with Mary J. Blige, which in one platinum swoop resuscitated Tical, became the song of the summer of '95 and a '96 Grammy-winner. Though Meth saw the Grammy as a mistake, it's truly emblematic that he could be equally black-toast underground and English-muffin commercial and still come off as the best thing since sliced bread. Whether with Mary J, SWV, or on any Wu-Tang record, whatever permutation of name he uses as a calling card, Method simply possesses a cool-ass style men wish they had. And women? Well, they're a bit more carnal.
Tical 2000: Judgement Day is the apocalyptic party (to end the world!) with a who's-who guestlist deeper than the Wu genepool. There are skits by Janet Jackson, Chris Rock, and noted hip-hop enthusiast Donald Trump; songs guested with TLC's Left Eye, D'Angelo, Redman and Mobb Deep, as well as Wu-brothers Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna, among others; and of course, there's the superstar host of all this disaster-event madness.
"I wanted the sh-t to be different," says Meth between inhalations. "I wanted every song to be different tempos, but that wasn't gon' happen. I was like, 'F--k it. I'm just gon' rhyme to sh-t that I like.'" Hence Judgement Day's hard-to-fathom experimental production by RZA, True Master, 4th Disciple, Erick Sermon, Trackmasterz and Meth, which sounds like exactly nothing else except, of course, Tical. "I wanted people to play the first album and then play the second album. This album is definitely a part two. It's the same formulas on there but beefed-up now. Like they're doing with the Star Wars prequel. The next album's gon' be a prequel. It's gon' be before Tical, before Judgement Day. Sh-t. Oh boy!"
If it sounds like a double-feature matinee, it is one. Judgement Day explores ample genres. The action-adventure lead single "Judgement Day" cops a Planet Of The Apes/ Escape From New York/ Independence Day edge. The evangelical "Cradle Rock" shrieks with Left Eye's Sister Souljah maneuver. An intriguing "Torture" urges listeners to read between the lines. Chris Rock infuses comedy on a Prince Paulie-styled intro. The buddy-flick "Big Dogs" is a faithfully, high-as-Hades funk duet with Redman. The romance "Break Ups 2 Make Ups" features D'Angelo's Marvin Gaye take. And Meth pulls it all off with chest-pounding, word-slurred virtuosity. Even with MP3 technology, you wouldn't think they could burn this much info on a CD.
Oh, and that romance issue? Meth and Shortie--the be-all-end-all of "All I Need" and center of "Break Ups 2 Make Ups"--have two kids. There's two-year-old son Shakuan and daughter Cheyenne, who's less than a year old. Says Meth, "I'm a new father, so when they grow, I grow. It's not like I could write a book on parenthood. I'm learning the same way they are. I'm still a child myself."
Are Judgement Day's messages aligned with Meth's family values? "Those are the minds that we trying to get," he responds. "We building the foundation. We giving it to them raw, we let 'em know where they come from. They'll memorize a hip-hop song before they learn their ABCs. We're the future now," Meth adds quietly.
"We not dwelling on the past," Method Man continues, "we thinking a second ahead of time, right now. The future is for the children, and Wu-Tang"--he begins quoting his Wu partner Ol' Dirty Bastard's infamous bumrushed line from the Grammys--"is for the babies."
This interview was written and conducted by Ricardo Howell for Yahoo.com. All Interviews are property of their respective owner(s), not us, unless otherwise stated!
READ OUR OTHER METHOD MAN INTERVIEWS:
» Meth Interview On "Tical 0: The Prequel" Album - (2004)
» Method Man Speaks On Meth, Redman, and Wu - (2000)
» Method Man Interview With 'MP3.com' - (2006)
» Red And Meth Interview On 'Blackout' Album - (Nov 11 1999)
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