Picture this for a minute. Start with a slightly uninspired Wu-Tang member whose been declining for a couple years, but even at this point his flow is still versatile. He goes by the name of Method Man, and he collaborates with one of EPMD’s former weed carriers who dug a solo carrier for himself and turns the tables for himself. His name is Redman, and because of weed, the two have very good chemistry, and have been producing tracks as a duo since the mid-late 90s. With Blackout!
, we get the two MC’s at their comical best, and though it feels more Redman-oriented than something Meth sounds more comfortable around, their chemistry is unbreakable.
If this record was all a listener heard, it would seem obvious that Redman is the better of the two MC’s, which may very well be true. Method Man’s slithering flow and weathered, blunted voice gives us the perfect stoned MC, while Redman’s ballistic; gorilla-esqe delivery rips any beat to shreds. Laced with internal rhymes, Method Man’s rhymes in a purely technical sense sound better, but Redman’s balls-out pop referencing humor is easily what brings out the more stand-out moments of the record. And yet, despite the severe difference between both MC’s, their chemistry is what makes this album work. It brings a sort of dynamic to the record, whether it’s being low key with Meth, or the roaring laugh-out-loud humor of Redman. Utilizing their one thing that both have in common; weed, at all times brings the best material out of both.
So in a sense, it makes sense that Erick Sermon would produce more of the record than RZA. Erick Sermon’s workman funk allow Redman and Method Man to just goof off, which is what this record is truly aiming for, as opposed to the dark, sample-driven atmospheres that drench most Wu-Tang records. Even RZA’s productions, though, switch from sounding like slighty altered Sermon productions (the eerie groove of “Cereal Killer”), or go into RZA’s digital orchestra experiment that he tried with Bobby Digital (soiling Wu posse cut “Run 4 Cover”). The centerpiece of the album, however, is the digital boogie manifested in “Da Rockwilder”. Layered with wizzing effects and synthesizers, bloops and beeps, “Da Rockwilder” plays like futuristic pop rap masterpiece that would make Timbaland blush, fixed with just enough groove for Redman and Method Man to spit their ridiculousness.
, essentially, is an album filled with humorous winners, backed up with that funk that makes the club could still go wild. Other than the RZA produced failure of “Run 4 Cover”, there’s not too much filler on here, some forgettable tracks by comparison to the rest, but that casual feeling is where this album really where this album works. The two MC’s sound really at home, their styles bleeding into each other but at the same time remaining solidly their own. Heck, we get Method Man shouting stuff out like Redman usually does in a couple of cases, isn’t that a win enough? I guess so.