Method Man was the first of the Wu-Tang Clan to record a solo album, it is also the most successful Wu-Tang solo record as far as record sales go. This success is surely due to the standout solo track ''Method Man'' on the 'Enter the 36 Chambers record, and him being one of the most recognisable members of the clan.
As part of the agreement of the Wu-Tang clan, members could sign thier solo efforts to any label, so long as the RZA would be the main producer for thier first record. Methid Man signed with the Def Jam label, which was home to the previous wave of East Coast hip hop such as Public Enemy and Slick Rick.
The Production of this record is very typical of the RZA's work, having a uniformed sound throughout the record, while not becoming too tired. This has an even mixture of Synthesized loops, and deep haunting bass. Sonically falling halfway between GZA's 'Liquid Swords' and Ol' Dirty Bastard's 'Return To The 36 Chambers'. This suites Method Man perfectly as his rapping skill and style of vocal delivery also fall halfway between the two artists, and the RZA has definately taken this into account.
The Record begins with Keyboards playing a classical tune, or a theme from a film. Then the deep bass comes in with a twisted stretched version of the tune samples, aswell as a live drum track. Method Man doesnt rap much on this track, mostly just hyping himself. Not the usual ''Yeah! Im Great!'' buffoonery associated with Hip Hop by those less knowing of the genre. But rather more gentley, with loops of him singing 'Tica-al' or asking in a high Pitch ''Whats that *** you think you smokin'"'' This works well as an introduction as it breaks the record in gentley.
Unlike most Wu-Tang Solo Efforts, this is rather short of guest spots from other clan members. The first four tracks are completely lacking in other appearences, this makes it feel slightly less like a Wu-Tang record, but it does give Method Man a chance to shine. There are appearences from other rappers, who are likely lesser known Wu-Tang Members, who are not the central nine members who appeared on thier first record. Bosster, who is the guest rapper on 'Bring The Pain' doesnt really make a much of anappearence, just helpng with the chorus, and not writing a verse for themself.
'All I Need' is one of the best tracks on the record, it is a Hip Hop love song, and not in the usual sense of an artist boasting thier recent sexual exploits, or number of girlfriends. This is of a genuine relationship, with just one other person, and about how much he respects them. Although it is not a shocking feminist breakthrough it may sound like, its a good individual track (certainly not going to come from Method Man is it").
The dark sound of the record plays well with the dark themes it has. Method Man has a very aggressive delivery, and likes to show his style in a very rash aggressive way. This may sound less abrasive than the Ol' Dirty Bastard, but it certainly isn't more friendly. Themes border on Gangsta rap, with boasts of violent exploits, which mixes in with the lighter theme of his enjoyment and exploits with Marijuana.
'Meth Vs Chef' is a very good, featuring Reakwon the Chef from the Wu-Tang Clan. These two artists are not paired up very often, usually ''The Chef'' works with Ghostface Killah, but this makes a very good vibe, the sound is the closest to 'Enter The 36 Chambers' on this track, which is certainly not a bad thing. The pace of the raps are fastest on this track, which makes you pay more attention to it when listening to the whole record, it also has a good chorus shout of ''Meth Vs Chaf!'' which makes it all the more memorable.
This record is held back from the brilliance of 'Enter the 36 Chambers' or the superbness (see rating) of GZA's 'Liquid Swords'only by its dark sound. It can be an aquired, and if you were not in the mood to hear this whole record when you start, it will be quite a chore to finish it.
What does make this record so special is the amazing way it works in two ways. It both relaxes with its Marijuana themes and slow deep music, and Method Man's slurred raps. On another level it works with its violent themes complimenting its violent tones and violent themes. You can turn up the volume and get drunk and rowdy at a party, or turn up the bass and enjoy some weed.