Spine Magazine Method Man Interview (props to ghosfist of doom)

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News Stories - MethodMan



Your careers wont be lasting long

Its getting hard to remember now, but Method Man started out as the breakout star in the hardest, scariest group in rap. And its not like hes forgotten how to rap; his new single, "Things They Say," proves that much. "Things They Say" is as great a song about frustration as I can remember hearing, a soft acoustic lope with a lilting Lauryn Hill sample and words about how one guy feels like the worlds written him off. Method Man has a new album coming out, and hes got a lot to say. I talked to him in a midtown hotel suite, and you could smell the weed halfway down the hallway.

So I guess my most pressing question is: Are you on season four of The Wire?

Yeah, Im on season four. The characters name is Cheese. Hes back, out of jail. He still aint shot no fucking body, though. Thats the crazy shit. Im waiting for them to put a gun in my hand. I wanna shoot some fucking body.

Do you get shot again?

Nah, I aint get shot this time. Hell no.

Can you talk about anything else that happens on it?

Cant tell you. Yall gonna have to watch. Im not giving it away. But know this: the season is popping off. Its gonna be hot. Its gonna be real hot.

When you go down there to Baltimore, do you ever see Cappadonna?

Sometimes. I did a show, Cap came through. Thats my man. He back in Staten Island now. I like B-more. I like it out there. Its dirty as a bitch, though. Its like the hood out here.

I talked to Ghostface a little while ago. He told me that you read a lot of comic books.

I used to.

You dont keep up?

Not anymore. I aint got time to. They used to keep boxes for me. But Id be gone for long periods of time. Id just come back, and all my shit is in order, bagged up, waiting for me. After a while, a month turns into two months, then three months, and then dudes would come in and want the books that I had in my thing. Theyd sell them shits to them. I just stopped coming after a while. Ive got about five thousand books that I aint read yet that I purchased over the last six years. Dropping by my old comic book store, I could go there right now and theyd have some books there for me, bagged and ready to go.

Howd the Wu-Tang reunion tour earlier this year go?

It was cool. Started off slow, but it picked up after a while, started clicking again. The brothers started feeding off each other again. Vibes got better and better as the shows went on, even after being shitted on, criticized to death by just critics, man. I hate those motherfuckers.

Yeah, that was another thing I wanted to talk about. "Things They Say," is that song directed specifically at rap critics?

Anybody that criticize Meth, yeah, like I cant rhyme and shit. That shit is directed at everybody thats had any bad, sideways, fucked up shit to say about me because I know damn well Im one of the hottest that ever did it.

Has anyone ever said you cant rhyme, though?

Yeah, man. They said Meth cant spit no more. They said my verse on Ashantis shit was wack and shit, just a lot of propaganda. But when I go in the street and talk to people, I dont hear that shit. I only hear it from industry motherfuckers that never liked me any fucking way.

All Ive heard off the new album so far is "Things They Say" and the one with Styles P and Fat Joe on it. What else do you have on there?

Besides the Lauryn Hill sampled joint and the "Yah Mean" joint, most of the production is by RZA and Erick Sermon. I got a Scott Storch joint. Artist-wise, its myself mostly, Wu-Tang members, Redman of course. I have a song with Genuwine, produced by Denaun from D12. I wish you wouldve heard more shit because I couldve really used your opinion on what you heard, make sure Im going in the right direction. I think I am, though.

Is that something youre concerned about, people thinking youre going in the right direction?

Only because of the perception that the medias been giving of me lately. I dont think its fair, peoples assessment of my skills and what I do. Somewhere along the line, they got it twisted. I dont know where exactly, but somewhere along the line I let something slip through, and its fucking me up.

I read an interview where you said that you felt like the media programmed people to underestimate you.

I think it started a lot with that ego trip shit; ego trip had said some sideways shit about me way back when, something about being a underachiever or some shit like that.

But do you feel like its possible for the media to program people like that?

Yeah, especially with certain artists. You being a artist, you help it by dropping shit that sounds like you trying to grow. I like to call it that: when a artist do different shit, hes trying to grow. When you try shit like that, people are so critical of you now because of what this one motherfucker said or these two motherfuckers said. Now they got the motherfucking magnifying glass and they looking at every fucking thing, like nothing rides no more. And then they start convincing themselves that you wack. But I know Im not wack.

With the internet, its like people hear who you might be working with, and then they have an opinion on it before they hear it. I know when I put in my thing that youve got a song with Genuwine, somebodys going to have an opinion on it.

They gonna definitely say something like that, you say something like that. What the fuck is Meth doing? I see shit on the internet like if it aint got RZA tracks on it, if RZA dont do the whole album, its gonna be trash. Its like, well goddam, man. Have I ever spit something that you wanted to repeat, or have you ever quoted a line from one of my rhymes like you was talking in a casual fucking conversation? Give me a fucking break here. I be in that studio racking my brains to make two words rhyme together as well as say some shit in between those two words that make sense. And then, on top of that, transition between those two words to forming words into a sentence that has something to do with what I just fucking said. You know how much work go into that shit? And then to be understood over all that? You know how much work it take to do all that shit? Thats why Im like, yo, if you cant write no motherfucking rhymes, you shouldnt even be trying to tell me I cant bark. Saying he just doesnt make good songs; Ill go for that shit because a lot of dudes can rhyme they ass off, but they dont rhyme to make songs. But dont just outright say a dude cant spit. Because then its like, oh, you not feeling where Im coming from? Fuck you.

One thing I wanted to ask about was your writing process. Like when its time to write a song, do you just sit down at your desk with a pen and just do it?

Well, first of all, I aint got a desk. I get my sons little radio, my little CDs. People be giving me beat CDs, and I just sit down and start writing, whatever Im feeling at that time. But then you get sidetracked with a lot of other shit. Theres shit like homework, and then theres video games and shit. Other shit too. My son like to fuck with me when Im writing. But when you got it, you got it. When that pen start flowing, aint nothing going to stop it. With the "Things They Say" record, thats the simplest shit right there. It was like Im going for what Im feeling right now rather than just trying to finesse the words. Im going to throw my little cliches and things of that nature in there but at the same time keep it simple. Now, if people judge my writing skill based on that record, my lyrical skill based on that record, Im not going to be totally mad at them, but know this: Im way better than that.

But its a great record.

Yeah, but as far as finessing, I taught a lot of motherfuckers how to rhyme indirectly, and what I mean by that is flow-wise. You cant all sound the same. And sometimes when singers write to music, they write melodies. They hum a melody first, and then they put words to it. It should be the same way when you write your motherfucking rhymes. You should never spit the same on every joint. I remember Lord Finesse had a album out, and Lord Finesse was that dude. But after a while of playing that album over, it was like damn, he rhymed the same on every fucking song. It got to the point where you get tired of it. Das EFX, same shit. And Im not saying Lord Finesse aint dope or Das EFX aint dope because I love both them. But you got to switch that shit up. I should teach Flow 101 because a lot of motherfuckers cant flow. And transitions? Forget about it. Dudes dont transition at all. They fucked up; they all over the fucking place with it.

So you do the thing where you figure out the cadence first?

Exactly. The cadence and the sound before I put the words to it. I may hum a few lines to myself. Any real dope MC does it like that. But then there are times where you dont have any music, you dont want to write any music, you just want to put your thoughts down. Thats a whole different level right there. And then theres the Jay-Z way of doing it where its all inside the head. When you on that level, its like you a martian. Straight up and down, you a alien, motherfucker. You killing them.

Do you ever do it like that, inside your head?

Nah. I smoke too much weed for that shit. Its like when Im writing the rhyme I forget the last rhyming word sometimes. I got to jot it down on the side and make a note of it so I dont forget it.

Now Redman: it seems like Def Jams kind of forgotten about him. I havent seen his name on a release calendar in a long time.

No, they havent forgotten about him. I thought they forgot about me and shit. But I dont know, its like when you get the changing of the guard and the artist has been there eight or nine years, things tend to happen like that, especially when you got new people coming in and its all this new blood. I mean, they know you from when they were like sixteen years old. Its ten years now, they twenty-six and they working at the label now. To them, youre old school. And theyre not as enthusiastic about your shit as a younger artist whos just coming through and has a bigger buzz. Youre not as high profile as them. But theyre not taking nothing away from Redman because the streets love Red and they always will. They know they need him; thats why hes still there.

Are you doing a video for "Things They Say"?

I dont want to, but yeah, I think theyre going to do a video.

Thats not up to you?

You dont run from a hit record; thats what I learned in this business. And if a record is a hit, you go for it, see how it pan out for itself.

Do you think its a hit?

Apparently the record label does. Yeah, I thought it was a hit when I did it, but I didnt think it was a first single. Its a certain pattern that a lot of labels, in New York at least, go through when it come to albums. They dont always go for the radio joint. Its a lot of other heavy shit on the album, but they always seem to go for that radio joint. I hate to say it, but its killing us.

Do you feel like its a misrepresentation?

Not exactly because you wrote it and it represents you, but you cant come out of the gate with stuff like that. You got to, I hate to say it, but you got to give people something that they can shake they ass to, and then you let them think about it afterwards. Its like certain R&B artists, they always come out with the upbeat shit, and then they hit you with the love ballad on the second joint. Its just how it works. I dont know why its different now, but I just felt like this one should be a little bit further down the line. I thought it was a potential Grammy winner, or Grammy nominee at least. But it caught on, and the reason it did was because it was leaked, and I know why it was leaked.

Why?

Thats the song that the label wanted to release, so they leaked it. Im not mad at them, though. Its definitely a blessing in disguise. If youve been out of the loop for so long, its good to say something that mean something. A lot of people respect the record.

Do you think theres going to be a new Wu-Tang album?

I hope so.

Thats what everyone says.

We need the right representation, though.

You feel like thats not something that you have now?

No, or else we wouldnt be where were at right now.

Back in the beginning when everyone signed to separate labels and it was really unique at the time, this thing that had never been done, do you think it caused fractures within the group?

Of course, its like being with a bunch of solo artists trying to get back in the group thing, going on the road by yourself and then trying to blend your show with nine other people now. It was a gift and a curse, like Jay said. Not too many people can say they changed the game, but we really did change the game. After that, people were asking for Wu-Tang deals. But shit, man. The results are right in front of your face. You see for what it is right now. I mean, Ghost gets all the praises, and the rest of us get shitted on.

How do you feel like that came to pass?

Well, consistency is one thing. He didnt miss a step. Even if he didnt have the RZA beats, he had dudes that made beats that sound like RZA shit. And whether you knew it or not, Ghost never had a machine behind him. It was what he felt, the vibe, so thats why the earlier albums are like that. But the later-on albums, when he had the machine behind him, he sold less records. On the earlier albums, he sold more records. Now hes selling less records because he got the machine behind him. Its, like, being tainted. I dont know how it happens, but it does. You become your own worst enemy.

Do you think thats happened across the board, people getting machines behind them and doing things differently than at the beginning?

I dont know, man. Shit, The Jeffersons used to be funny as hell when it first came on, but after a while, the shit got corny. Same thing with Good Times. They just take the flavor out of shit after a while. But people just get used to you or tired of you. I hate to say it.

I saw you do a show a couple of months ago, the Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey with all the rock bands. You were the only rapper on the bill.

I know, and I had to go out there and earn it. Those are some of the hardest crowds, especially when its just rock and roll. But those were the hair bands. These new hair bands. You see these fucking fags? Man, these dudes walking around with the eyeliner, the blush, the gloss, the hair. Anyway. What was you going to say?

Well, it seems like youve done a few shows like this, and shows at colleges. It seems like youre reaching outside your comfort zone.

Yeah, definitely. And thats because a lot of down South shit has taken over now; its hard for us to get shows. When your first choice is these dudes, they gonna go get that money. I aint got no problem with that; that shit is real. I commend them for coming up. Me on the other hand? Shit. Im going where the dough at too. I love to perform. I just gotta push these records out faster

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