“RTC and Meth didn’t jump, la la la…” As I made some last minute tweaks to my interview strategy during Method Man’s set at Chicago’s Congress theater last week, I just kept thinking about that instagram photo, and the clever (or not so) caption I planned to put underneath it. I usually didn’t think about such things, but s**t, this was Tical. Since I was studying for my Bar Mitzvah, Method Man has been one of the most exciting and rawest figures in Hip Hop, and one of my favorites emcees. I’d never met or interviewed Method Man before, so it was nothing to stick around til 1AM, well after the show ended, to speak with the one and only Clifford Smith.
“I ain’t one of them fuddy-duddy mother**kers, you want to holler at me, come holler at me, build with me,” he told me just before his bus made it’s way to Chicago’s James hotel. “I got years of experience, and I’m willing to share.” And share he did. In this interview, Method Man explains why he chose to hit the road with a new crop of Hip Hop artists, his mission to reshape his image, his first trip to Chicago, and much more.
RubyHornet: You mentioned your love for Chicago several times tonight. Do you remember the first time you came here?
Method Man: First time I came to Chicago I was with Rza. We did some club, it wasn’t even packed in that mother**ker, but we were just starting out. It was a bunch of n***as in there making noise. They would not leave until we came out and s**t, and they stayed all night. Then we went out in the front of the club by ourselves, no security, none of that s**t and was rocking with these dudes. And I remember their name cause all of them was rocking that adidas s**t, the three stripes. The three-stripe posse. Those are the first n***as I met out here, real dudes, and they represented Chi-town well. From there I was like, ‘that’s my kind of f**king town man.’ Reminded me a lot of New York.
RubyHornet: How did you get on this tour? Why did you decide you wanted to be a part of this?
Method Man: When they approached me about it I was like… the artists that are going out right now, I was familiar with them and s**t, but we’re not the same kind of artist. You know what I mean? But I saw it as an opportunity to showcase some of the new talent that’s coming out with me and Redman, the same way as them and their new talent. So I saw that opportunity to get my people to grow.
RubyHornet: What have the crowds been like? It must be cool to see younger kids even wyling out to “Bring The Pain”.
Method Man: They don’t know the f**king words, but you know what? It’s all good cause they know a good show when they see one. When we do the shows, sometimes Curren$y goes on last, sometimes I go on last, whoever goes on last, people leave after a certain artist. I don’t take it personal. I would rather them not be there, than be there and f**k with my audience. In the same breathe though, I applaud anybody that’s 18-25 that appreciates the music that I used to make. It shows that it’s something different compared to what’s out right now. What we did back then, not saying it’s any better, not saying it’s any worse, just saying, it was a movement. Where you don’t have that nowadays, you don’t have a movement. You got Young Money, that’s a movement, but it’s not like it used to be.
RubyHornet: We interviewed Mac Miller a couple weeks ago and he cites Wu-Tang as an influence. And he said one of the favorite parts of his show is a medley of older s**t and he turns his crowd onto that.
Method Man: Ok, then he’s my dude.
RubyHornet: When you hear kids like Mac Miller, or Tyler, The Creator and they say you’re one of their influences, is that a feather in the cap? Does it matter?
Method Man: Nah. To me, we always had the skateboarders, and the whiteboys. Because for some reason, us, my people with the Hip Hop music, we got so much of it we take it for granted. Whereas, some of these kids in the suburbs, they hear somebody and some of them live these mother**king records.. They just live for music, it’s like if they don’t feel it in their soul, they can’t f**k with. And when they feel it in their soul, they stick with it for life. On the other hand, and I’m not taking anything away from my people, but it’s like it’s good for the time being until something else comes along, and we move onto that. Because whether y’all know it or not, we set the trend for fashion, we set the trend for music, we set the trend for basically everything. And everybody else follows us.
RubyHornet: I talked to Big K.R.I.T. earlier today, and he talked about being able to build with you a little bit and pick your brain.
Method Man: Yeah, that’s my G.
RubyHornet: It’s clear to see what they can get from you. Do you get anything back in return, do you learn anything from being out with Curren$y and K.R.I.T.?
Method Man: Yeah, I always learn something new. I like their drive. I like their enthusiasm. It reminds me of where I used to be and where I should still be at to make me want to go onstage and do better. Also, I like to play mentor to them dudes. I told them n***as, it’s an open door with me. I ain’t one of them fuddy-duddy mother**kers, you want to holler at me, come holler at me, build with me. I got years of experience, and I’m willing to share.
RubyHornet: I saw the interview with Sway a couple weeks ago.
Method Man: I love Sway. How was it? Was it good?
RubyHornet: Yeah, it was dope. It was cool how you were talking about wanting people to take you more serious. To me, the music you make, when you really listen to it, it is serious.
Method Man: Yeah, but it gets over shadowed by the comedies, and all that other shit. People think, perception is a mother**ker. Even when I did “The Wire” and I was Cheese, people hated me behind that s**t because they didn’t see a character, they saw Method Man. Whereas, the producers of the show were like, ‘I like the fact that you shed all that f**king Method Man s**t, and you played this part.’ Because really I had a problem doing a lot of s**t that the character was doing, but I wasn’t Method Man, I was Cheese. And the point I’m trying to make is, if people could not take things so literally all the time and just look at it the same way they would look at Will Smith and be like, ‘OK, yeah, he killed that right there.’
RubyHornet: Do you see that improving? It’s probably going to be a slow burn.
Method Man: It’s going to be a slow burn, but what I have to do is, not exactly separate myself from Hip Hop because without Hip Hop I wouldn’t even f**king be here, but I have to have people perceive me in a different light of, ‘he can do anything he f**king wants to.’
RubyHornet: We were talking to Raekwon a little while ago and he was talking about watching the Temptations movie and it reminded him of Wu-Tang. Have you had a talk with him about the movie?
Method Man: We all sat there and watched it together. We watched The Temptations movie all together on tour, we were all on the bus watching this s**t. Just watching it they reminded us so much of ourselves, literally. Even the 5 Heartbeats more so, especially with the Eddie Kane character, cause we always called Dirty the rap Eddie Kane. Just sitting there amongst the brothers and watching this, it was like watching our lives unfold right there. Our thing was, we didn’t want to go the same route they went at the end of the day where nobody was f**king with each other, and the music divided them with the money, the women, and all of that s**t. We don’t have that problem. But in the same sense, it can happen.
RubyHornet: He’s going through a resurgence with his solo stuff and was talking about a lot of that was just brought about by a change in mindset and that came with just getting older. It seems like you’re on the same tip.
Method Man: Absolutely. I’d be a f**king idiot to still walk around with my pants hanging off my ass, and braids in my hair, acting like… You know what I mean? It just doesn’t fit and s**t. And it definitely wouldn’t fit for me to be talking about cutting school and f**king all these bitches and I’m married with kids. It just doesn’t match. But I can give them grown folk music, and hopefully if I reach 10 motherf**kers out of 100 that understand me, I’m good.
RubyHornet: Can you share any details on Crystal Meth, and what’s up with it?
Method Man: Crystal Meth, it’s just a play on words. The music’s gonna be so dope that you’re gonna want more and more and more. Right now the work process has not started yet. Right now I’m feeling s**t out, trying to see where the audience is at with and if there’s a slight bit of relevance still for Method Man.