Method Man delivered his first rhyme sermon when he was just a shortie running like a wild child through the grim streets of his adopted home, Staten Island. With rap music being the brutal soundtrack to the urban decadence that his young eyes witnessed (broken glass everywhere, midnight zombies beaming in the shadows) throughout his youth, it should come as no surprise that most of the neighborhood thugs wanted to project their large souls into a microphone. With a menacing scowl on his hairy face, Method Man introduces the world to the black ruins of his scattered soul on his debut solo master work TICAL.
"In every part of New York there is someone who makes up different slang words that just happen to catch on," he explains. "In Staten Island we used to call weed method, then my man Lounger cut it down to metical. And then, over the course of time it got cut down to tical."
Produced by Prince Rakim (Now known as Rza), TICAL is an extension of aural madness that the infamous Wu-Tang Clan introduced to the world on their gold album Enter the Wu-Tang. The poetics of Method Man drag the listener into the heart of darkness; decaying projects, bloodshed on the streets and crack dealers ruling in the blazing sun. "There's a song on my record called "What the Bloodclot" that speaks about the struggles of the youth in the ghetto" mumbles Method. "Fuckin with the wrong shit will get you tow up, everything is an illusion... we are in the last days."
Method Man expresses his own life experiences perfectly on the track "Bring the Pain". With Rza's minimalist beats dragging across the track like a wounded body, Method Man "Coming on the some old Vietnam shit" takes the listener "deep as the abyss" into his world of stress. Like most children growing up in a world of pure poverty, the hip-hop culture helped save Method Man's life. "I left my household at an early age and wasn't even trying to come back home," recalls Method Man. "I was staying with my man Raid up in 6-B. No lights, just trying to live. I had stopped going to school, which was a mistake. The only thing that kept me sane during that period was my noise and my comic books.
"The closest Method Man gets to performing a rap ballad is on the gritty song that he dedicates to his woman. Without waxing corny poetics like the fire & desire/rub ya down/stroke ya up school of noir romantics, Method Man saves the mushy stuff for the R. Kelly's of the world. On the laid back track "All I Need" Method says, "Back when I was nothin' you made a brother feel like he was somethin'/That's why I'm with ya till this day, Boo/No frontin'." Before and after his verse, the song becomes a verbal war zone of bitter women dissing their own man. "When we went into the studio to record this track, we wanted to get the woman's point of view. We had no idea they were goin' be so wild," he laughs.
Like many inspiring rappers back in the days, Method Man was a fan of Rakim's multi-layered soundgarden of cryptic images and gritty metaphors of protest. "When Eric B. and Rakim dropped Paid in Full that's when I really became rap conscious. At that time, no one could mess with Ra."
Smoking blunts has always been a part of Method's musical creations "Ya sit in your room with the disco light, spark-up a phat blunt and this track will just take ya on a hip-hop ride." On the track "Sandman" which is a crazed track about the Billboard charts. Do people really buy spots? This is my type of song. It's me Rza, Inspector Dek and Street Thug. Everybody jumping from one subject to the next."
One thing that is a constant, Method's rhymes are always honest. Method Man attracts and attacks realness, true emotion and a masterful flow.