Confession time: I’ve never listened to a whole Method Man album before this one. I’m sorry. You can draw and quarter me later. At the time when Wu was new, I was super young and my older brothers controlled the stereo and therefore all my music habits. They played Liquid Swordz and Ironman, so those are the solo albums that I’m most familiar with from that first round of releases. Might I suggest blaming them while I try in vain to find the time to keep this site going and fill my hip-hop history holes?
So The Meth Lab is my first Meth album. Aaaaaand…it’s a horrific introduction. I vaguely remember his past albums receiving lots of negative criticism, and, if they’re anything like this one, I understand why. It’s so boring! Meth can’t even be bothered to do more than one song by himself, and the verses that he does offer are incredibly listless. For most of the time when Meth isn’t sleepwalking, some c-listers named Hanz On and Streetlife are taking up space, not doing any better with their allotted time. Pretty much all the guest rappers are just here to fill space, like Meth is simply fulfilling a contractual requirement while expending as little effort as possible. I mean, he’s doing movies and wearing cardigans, he’s clearly not focused on street rap. But his wanna-but-never-will-be crew needs attention, so what better strategy is there than pretending to release a solo album while ceding 90% of your time to their pointless rhymes? Even the beats are throwaways that are technically ok but fail, as a rule, to generate any head-nodding.
The best songs on The Meth Lab are The Purple Tape and Straight Gutta, mostly due to their somewhat better but still dull instrumentals and top-tier features. But not even Redman, Inspectah Deck, and Raekwon could elevate this album beyond abysmal. This isn’t even the standard Wu-basicness that happens when someone tries to put on their homies, it’s some new level of Shaolin half-ass where not even the marquee rapper can be bothered to try. Don’t waste your time.
- The Purple Tape ft Raekwon and Inspectah Deck
- Straight Gutta ft Redman and [who cares]