Review Summary: Tical 0: The Prequel falters in every which way possible. Not only is it proof that even the best of artists can fail miserably, but it’s also a testament to how everything P. Diddy touches is rotten.
As a general rule of thumb, calling someone a cockroach isn’t a gesture that is well-received. They’re vile creatures. Big, nasty, and ugly, the cockroach is known for being able to survive anything, anywhere. In fact, more often than not, the abhorred species thrives
under adverse conditions. So by and large, it shouldn’t be taken as a compliment to be referred to as one of these arduous, revolting creatures. But in this case, it’s anything but an insult. See, “Method Man”. The veteran New Yorker has time and time again demonstrated his ability to adapt to any beat perfectly with his uber-versatile flow. But on The Prequel
, that generality doesn’t hold true. Here, Meth sounds largely uninspired and relatively incapable. The sad thing about it is that that’s really the only thing that goes even marginally right on Method Man’s third album solo junior effort. Tical 0: The Prequel
is an album so monstrously bloated in size and obviously label forced that it hurts to hear such a good rapper insipidly slither over junkyard Diddy beats.
In fact, nobody involved with this album sounds like they’re happy to be here. Most of Method Man’s albums are benefited with competent producers, but as soon as The Prequel
hits you, it’s abundantly clear that all we’re getting is crummy synth bounce with no soul or real groove to make anything worthwhile. We have Method Man and Streetlife rapping together, and any chemistry they were known for having before is tossed out the window. They don’t even sound like they belong in the same room as one another. From there we get radio-influenced garbage like “Say What?”, “What’s Happenin”, and the god-awful “Rodeo”: three collaborative songs that have no reason to exist.
Method Man tries his hardest to redeem himself on a couple occasions, but then again, the lack of inspiration saps every attempt he makes. RZA’s lone production in “The Turn” is an uninspired ‘back in the 90’s Wu’ loop that sounds like an RZA imposter rather than the man himself. In turn, Rae pitches in one of his least inspired verses ever, and Method Man just sounds drained. Collaborations with Redman, as fun as you want them to be, are miserably disappointing, with their comic connection fizzling away with each second you hear them on the record. The only semi-entertaining moment comes from the fun collaboration with Ghostface Killah on “Afterparty”, and even then, neither party is at their peak point.
Normally a mainstream record is enhanced by production that genuinely sounds good. This is why Noreaga is a fun listen rather than an absolutely hell-ish experience as we always expect it to be. But here, Method Man is rapping over mainstream beats that simply sound too
polished. Too shined, every little glitzy, glamorous pop-synth track is cooked to the point of burning. No I.D. turns in what is obviously the best beat, with the soul-infused bounce of “Tease”, a track that Method Man unfortunately sounds a bit ill-equipped for. Everything else on the album is either shockingly bad (Rockwilder’s “Act Right”, and RZA’s “The Turn”), or just as awful as expected (Diddy’s contributions), and overall it’s so waxed that Meth can be found slipping and stumbling.
Yes, Method is still flowing absolutely crazily. He’s always had that and charisma on his side, but his lyrical ability had been on the decline for years before Tical 0: The Prequel
. Blanking on half-decent punchlines (he abuses the ‘life is a bitch’ metaphor and applies it to divorce, “Life's a b*tch/Then she takes you to court, and she takes half your sh*t,”) Meth instead shouts out Wu-cliches whenever possible and makes lazy song references all across the board. Sure, he’s never been the best Wu-tanger when it comes to rhyming, but his flow and his charisma usually made up for a lack of technicality. Here, however, it’s too bad to really make up for anything. When you’re making up lines like “Whoa like Black Rob” and “I like Nikes/Food spicy/I'm a Pisces/That’s why women love me and any n*gg* like me”, it’s time to actually think about what you’re doing.
By and by, Tical 0
falters in every which way possible. Not only is it proof that even the best of artists can fail miserably, but it’s also a testament to how everything P. Diddy touches is rotten. It’s a good thing that Method Man is a ‘cockroach’, because this album is one hell of a nuclear holocaust.