Review Summary: 4.21… The Day After is quite literally, a CD of clarity from Method Man, and is easily the best thing he’s released since Tical.
Back in early 90s, the Wu-Tang began their calculated strategy to take over the hip hop world. After Enter the 36 Chambers, the band of MC’s started their solo domination of hip hop, and started it off with the most popular and mainstream-approvable member Method Man. Ironically enough, Meth’s first album Tical was in the exact same taste and style of Enter the 36 Chambers, and sounds pretty much like Meth and RZA’s logical extension to that album. Unfortunately for Meth’s later career, this album would be, by far, the highlight of his career. Almost right after Tical, Methd Man took an avalanches fall from the top of the mountain, and when time came for a second release, Meth was ready with the inconsistent and bloated Tical 2000, an album that would be considered awful by early Wu-Tang standards. After falling even further with the Diddy-produced Tical 0: the Prelude, Meth finally felt that he had toyed with his fans long enough, and was time to release a decent follow-up to Tical, and 4.21… The Day After is quite literally, a CD of clarity from Method Man, and is easily the best thing he’s released since Tical.
Despite the fact that The Day After is easily much better than 90% of Method Man’s Material since Tical, it doesn’t mean that Method Man abandons the poppy measures on his past efforts; it just means he mixes them with his lyricism and ferocity on the microphone in fashion that is far more enjoyable, and simply put, better. “Fall Out”, a track that sounds like Meth’s new attempt at a dance single, and not only is it hooky, but Meth no longer sounds forced on this track like he has before, quite the contrary, and while the song lacks substance, it’s nice to hear some rejuvenated energy from the most accessible member of the Wu-Tang. “Somebody Done ***ed Up” sounds like Get Rich or Die Trying era 50 cent beat, mixed with violins, but Meth absolutely rips the track into pieces.
“half a cig/let me *** wit ya wig, although you lovin the style
they’re ain’t no pedophile that can *** wit the kid
Now that I’m back on my feet, take it back to the streets
in the gm with your bm in the passenger seat.”
Method Man also works well with balladry a lot of the time, particularly the soulful, acoustic guitar-laden “Say”, featuring the nicely matured voice of Lauryn Hill in the chorus, while Method Man addresses his haters, the critics, his wu-tang brethren, and his supposed ‘Hollywood’ image caused by his last albums almost complete commercial feel. Other mainstream tracks don’t even touch the ones I have mentioned, but they at least sound like Method Man tried (except for the syrupy closer “4 Ever”, which sounds like a Tical 0 out-take.)
From what I’ve said so far, this album sounds almost anti-Wu-Tang. This is untrue, a lot of the tracks near the end of The Day After are easily some of the best stuff Method Man has recorded period
. “Everything” is a nice face-off between fellow Wu-Tanger Inspectah Deck, along with Method Man’s official ashtray cleaner Streetlife, while the chorus is a decent use of a hook for pure promotion of the Wu-Tang. “Walk On” is yet another completely successful and fun collaboration between Method Man and Redman, and makes you wonder why we aren’t on Blackout 5 as opposed to merely Blackout 2. “Presidential MC” is easily one of the best tracks on The Day After Tomorrow, starting off with a kung-fu flick sample, is a track would sound fit on Tical.
But in a way, The Day After isn’t really an improvement after all. It’s inconsistent, its slightly bloated, and there are some awful tracks on here. But the fact is, that unlike his past two albums, The Day After has enough positives to outweigh all the negatives, and is worth your money if you are a fan of Meth’s early material or his work with Redman.
3.6 out of 5