May 5, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Method Man - "Intro"

Artist: Method Man
Title: "Intro"
Producer: The RZA
Album: 4:21... The Day After (2006)

Most of you probably don't know this, but whenever I write about a project that upsets me to the point where I start to question why I even bother with this shit, I retreat into music I already know I like as a way to calm myself down.  I assume a lot of you two do something similar when life gets in the goddamn way; maybe you plop yourself onto your couch and fill your eyeline with various movies and TV shows proven to provide comfort, or maybe you turn to drugs, or alcohol, or religion, or stronger drugs.  Hey, I'm not here to judge.  I'm just trying to say, in a very polite manner, that I was very fucking disappointed with that Raekwon album.

Not surprisingly, whenever a Wu-Tang Clan effort blows, I go back and listen to better, more awesome Wu-Tang Clan efforts.  Also not surprisgnly, this playlist of mine features a metric ton of Wu, and I'm actually very proud of the fact that I've only included one such song in the count thus far.  That streak ends today, but most likely not with something you expected from me.

Today's entry is a bonafide rap album intro, taken from Raekwon's fellow Wu mate Method Man's fourth full-length solo album 4:21... The Day After.  It's the kind of intro I can get behind, in that it features actual rapping, but it also accomplishes two things simultaneously: Meth sets the overall tone for the evening ahead while successfully erasing any memory of his botched third album, Tical 0: The Prequel, from the listener's mind.  And that is no small task, because you see, that particular album sucked.  I also have no doubt that Meth would actually agree with me on that point: he seems like a genial, realistic dude.

4:21... The Day After was a return to form for Method Man; it's an underrated album that contains several high (no pun intended) points fitting for the man who was the first to break out of the group aesthetic.  It also features at least two tracks that are playlist-worthy, one of which I'll probably get to in the future, and the other being "Intro".  If you take a glance at my previous review for this album, I'd bet you can figure out what the other playlist entry will be.  It's a fun way to waste time at work, anyway.

"Intro" starts things off with an extended sound bite lifted from an educational documentary about the horrors of drug use.  The "Make marijuana legal!" chant was originally intended to scare the shit out of the viewer, whose only two concerns of the day were the Cold War and those fucking hippies, apparently.  But as fans of rap music, anyone with even the slightest familiarity with Method Man will know where he falls into the argument: even if he isn't the pothead he used to be, what with having a family, kids, grown-up concerns, and the passage of time, he's still the guy who named his debut album, Tical, after slang for a laced blunt, and his BFF is Reggie "Redman" Noble, by the way, so it's not like he's completely out of the woods.  For further examples, please refer to the actual title of the album this song appears on.

As the sound bite plays out, producer RZA brings up a simple loop that both keeps things moving and has just enough melody and dusty drums to remind listeners of the Wu-Tang Clan of olde.  However, the Method Man that spits a single verse isn't the young buck that tried to convince the world to hear him out back in the early 1990s: this Method Man is confident, cocky, and doesn't give a shit if you listen to him or not, and that kind of swagger comes only with years of experience, as he grew into a grizzled hip hop veteran that both appreciates and constantly questions the direction in which our chosen genre has traveled.  Also, he sounds really good: one listen to "Intro" will make you actually want to give 4:21... The Day After a chance, which is what all rap album intros are supposed to do in the first fucking place.

Short version: Method Man and The RZA should work together more, just not necessarily with Bobby's digital orchestra or with all of the live instrumentation that plagued A Better Tomorrow.  And you should probably listen to 4:21... The Day After.

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Discuss below.




  1. Meth is my favourite member of the Wu, and I'm glad to see him making it onto your mixtape series. It wasn't the most obvious choice, which is really cool, and a good surprise.And, yeah, this definitely helped erase the bad memories of Tical 0 - The Prequel (that I didn't hate as much as you seem to, but still virtually never revisit anyway).
    Now, off to give 4:21... The Day After a spin!

  2. AnonymousMay 06, 2015

    Tical is a fucking CLASSIC. The skits & a few tracks were standing between Tical 2000 and classic status, but the rest of it was still very fucking good and Max's opinion on it is fucking crazy. The Day After comes right after those two, and I agree with Max that it's a fine return to form by Mef.

    Method Man has NOT released an album called Tical 0. I am blissfully unaware of its existence. My fellow reader, please keep it that way.

  3. AnonymousMay 06, 2015

    My favorite songs off this album are the intro and the one featuring Rae & RZA. Its been long enough for Meth to not have another album out. I wonder if Crystal Meth is really coming out as well as Liquid Swords 2. I think Tical is the 3rd best solo album behind Liquid Swords & Cuban Linx.

  4. I've said this before but Method Man and Mos Def have had parallel careers: both great emcees who have 4 albums where their firsts are classics, thirds are trash abums, and both have successful acting careers.

  5. AnonymousMay 07, 2015

    Method Man's 421 the day after is a terrible album..the Intro is ok at best, but nothing that deserves space in a quality playlist. You really disappoint me sometimes, Max!!

    1. Ah, the beauty of differing opinions.

    2. Not so much differing opinions as much as you having warped and contradicting tastes in albums at times. Prove me wrong LOL!!

  6. AnonymousMay 07, 2015

    Crystal Meth and Liquid Swords 2 will never drop.. and if they happen to, they will both be fuckin' disappointing as hell. Meth especially, doesnt know how to put together a good solo album anymore. Why do you think it'll have been atleast a decade by the time he drops another one. Not mention, he has the nerve to be mad at fans for loving Ghostface more: Ghost is an infinitely superior artist compared to Meth. Ghost's album quality is FAR more consistent than Meth's, not to mention he doesn't take 10 years to release solo albums. Method Man has been a solo artist for 21 years, yet he has only released FOUR ALBUMS, two of which are complete utter trash, though one is a classic, and the last is retroactively a classic only by virtue of the fact that Method Man of today couldnt make an album as good as Tical 2000 if he tried. Ghost on the other hand has been a solo artist for 19 years, has released 10 albums (12 if you count Twelve reasons to die and badnotgood), who even at his worse, is still dope, and STILL lightyears ahead of not only Method Man, but the entire Wu Tang Clan as an artist.

    1. One shouldn't really compare Ghost and Meth. They bring different things to the table. Also, the actual number of albums Ghost has released versus Meth doesn't automatically make him the "better" solo artist.

      I will agree that Ghost has better solo albums, as long as we don't count Sour Soul (sorry, he sucked on there, Meth could have done better by those beats), his R&B album, The Big Doe Rehab, Ghost Deini The Great, and, oh, let's throw the Wu-Block album in just because.

    2. I feel that people seem to solely judge Method Man on his solo effort, when he's catalogue is way more than just that, a main contributor on all wu albums, blackout albums, a boatload of guest appearances. There are many great rappers who no-one shoots their guns at for lack of a solo career. Andre 3000, Black Thought, Posdnuos, I could go on...

    3. Personally, while I love De La Soul, I don't really need a solo album from Posdnuos, but I agree with your overall point. Besides, the Wu-Tang Clan is made up of a bunch of solo artists. They're not competing with one another. Not like that, anyway.

      And Method Man frequently turns in great cameo spots on other Wu members' albums, you're right.

    4. AnonymousMay 09, 2015

      I do agree, however, with the fact that Mef flourishes more as a collaborative artist.

    5. Yes you can compare Ghost and Meth as artists. They're from the same legendary camp, they're both the most visible, and outspoken artists out of the Wu (RIP Ol' Dirt), they're both hip hop legends, etc. Max, you have some warped tastes in albums if you're saying you really like Meth's 421 album, but you don't like Ghost's The Big Doe Rehab, Wu Block, and his Ghost Deini R&B album.

      And i'm not trying to pit Meth and Ghost against one another as artists. I'm making a factual comment about each artists output, consistency, and current relevance as solo artists. Meth used to be one of the most amazing and unique lyricists of his day, but his rhyme style devolved into an uninspired, formulaic cadence. Ghost on the other hand has continually improved as a lyricist over the decades. In otherwords, '90s Meth makes current Meth look lame, and '90s Ghost can't hold a candle to current Ghost.

      I'll say one last thing - no one cares about black thought, Posdnuos, or Andre3000 as solo artists the way people care about Method Man and Ghostface. They haven't even released solo albums outside of The Roots, De La, and Outkast. Not to mention, they havent achieved nowhere near the level of success Meth and Ghost has outside of their respective groups. People wanna hear Black Thought with the roots, not really outside of that as a solo artist.

    6. AnonymousMay 11, 2015

      95-01 Ghostface shits over post-04 Ghostface, B. Nothing anyone says can change that fact.

    7. AnonymousMay 11, 2015

      Wait.. is this Hanma Yujiro guy saying that Ghost on OB4CL can't hold a candle to today's Ghost? That is a crazy statement and not at all factual!

  7. AnonymousMay 09, 2015

    Sorry but Wu-Block was decent. And Sour Soul was alright. Surely not Ironman, Supreme Clientele nor FishScale, but alright nonetheless.