methsmall1.jpgBefore we get started, Method Man wants to make one thing clear: “Fuck an intro paragraph.” As he revealed on his new single, “Say,” the Staten Island-bred MC does not appreciate all the negative reviews, sideways comments and Hollywood jokes that have been made at his expense. He doesn’t appreciate journalists talking about how old he is now (35) or talking about how he’s focusing too much on his acting (he will be back as Cheese on season four of HBO’s The Wire). But what bothers Iron Lung the most is when people question his character or street credibility. Perhaps hoping to remind folks that you shouldn’t run your mouth about a man who once threatened to stab your tongue with a rusty screwdriver, Meth is focusing on his return to hip-hop with his new album, 421: The Day After. When XXLMAG.COM caught up with Meth, he did not hesitate to rip us a new one. Bring the pain!

Listen To:
Method Man feat. Raekwon & RZA "Presidential MC" (2006)

Method Man feat. Lauryn Hill "Say" (2006)

Method Man feat. Fat Joe & Styles P (2006)

In a recent interview you said you felt like the critical hate towards you began when ego trip gave you the “Mr. Potential Underachiever Award” in the Book of Rap Lists.
Yeah, it did. I didn’t think that was fair at all because there’s a lot of niggas out there that’s way worse than what I was. They should’ve gave Bone Thugs that shit—no, let me stop, I love Bone. I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the first fuckin’ place. The thing with XXL is recently I read some shit where they put my name first on some “falling the fuck off” shit, and I thought that was insulting. I thought that was real fuckin’ fucked up.

Do you have any idea why critics would say things like that?
I don’t know, man. You gotta look at these things and wonder why they said it. I looked at my last two albums and, you know what, I can see why fans would be a little disappointed with me up to the point where they like, You know what, I ain’t really riding with this dude too tough. I’m just gonna wait and see. Wait and see. I don’t mind that type of constructive criticism, but when muthafuckas goin’ straight at the jugular, that’s when it’s a problem. That’s when I feel like I gotta defend myself. I could care less if they get mad at me for jumping on muthafuckin’ big scenes, because if it were up to them, they’d do the same fuckin’ thing. I ain’t gonna act in that movie with Mel Gibson cause they not gonna think I’m hood no more? Fuck y’all niggas! These muthafuckas attacking me! This is how I eat. This is how I make my living. And check it out, the Lord ain’t created no man yet that’s gonna block me from feeding my kids, B. I’m serious. I’ll kick a nigga’s head off before I let that shit happen. So any sideways shit that feel like it’s gonna deter my career, I’m definitely comin’ out swingin’, B. And that go for everybody, even you, muthafucka.

Do you ever feel like a big reason people question your credibility is because of the success you’ve had as an actor?
I think it had a lot to do with that sitcom. They would step the fuck up like, “How come you ain’t doing the music? What’s with all the acting and the sitcom shit?” Ain’t nobody said that shit when ’Pac did it. But muthafuckas ain’t see me out lately, so it’s easy for niggas to take pot shots at me and for the fans not to come to my defense, because they ain’t heard nothing from Meth. Out of sight, out of mind. I ain’t no violent nigga. I don’t go around talking about sticking my gun in nobody’s face. I don’t talk about, I’m gonna go beat this one, I’m gonna beat that one. But know this, man: If I don’t like you and you said some sideways shit and I’m in the area and my peoples is in the area, all I gotta do is point my head in your direction, nigga. A wolf gonna take your head off. Period. And I don’t even gotta be there for that. I got a few niggas I want mashed out, but I ain’t sayin’ nothing. And I’m not acting on it because you know what, I’m bigger than that. My whole thing is, I gave you the first warning. When you attacked me, I gave a warning, I said my shit out loud like, “Look, muthafucka, stop fuckin’ with me.” When you come at me again, and I don’t say nothin’, that’s when it’s time to worry.

methsmall2.jpgWhere is the line between constructive criticism and disrespect?
I’m cool with criticism, it’s just the way they doin’ it now. When they do X’s review, I ain’t never seen anyone shit on X like that because they know X will show up to their front doorstep and beat the shit out of them. It’s the certain way that you do shit. Before, niggas’ problem with me was the muthafuckin’ beats. Now, all of a sudden it’s the rhymes too? Kiss my muthafuckin’ ass. Nobody blames RZA for the beats, him not having input on my second and third albums, not being there to back a nigga up. Nobody blame RZA, they blame me. I don’t make beats! If you gonna criticize, if you say you don’t like the beats, they came up short, that’s okay, but don’t sit there and be like, He ain’t ghetto no more, his lyrics is wack. That shit is fighting words right there, B. You don’t know my struggle. Unless you walked up and down my block, how you gonna say what I’m talking about is wack? I think they should put a disclaimer before any fuckin’ album review that says, “These are not necessarily the views of the whole public, it’s just the views of a few hatin’ muthafuckas.” And then you take it how you want to take it. Because people look at these reviews and they judge whether they should buy an album or not. Straight up.

So it sounds like it’s less the criticism of the music that bothers you than when people try to tie the criticism into who you are as a person.
Exactly. That shit burns my fuckin’ ass to the point where I want to put hands on somebody. I mean, I don’t even read y’all magazine. For real, my man had that shit. He showed me that shit and I was like, “Oh word? That’s how it’s going down? Aight.” Because every time I used to pick up your shit, there was never nothing good about me in XXL. Never.

Do you think that will change with the new album?
Who knows, man. I don’t really give a fuck no more because when I’m out in the street, the way these people receive me, I’m good in every hood. That’s how I know right there. Ain’t no person in no magazine review, no editor can tell me what my worth is. These niggas in the street let me know everyday. Fuck XXL. Fuck The Source. Fuck VIBE. Fuck Trace. Fuck all them muthafuckas. Complex. Fuck all them niggas that ever had a sideways thing to say about the kid. But at the same time, I fucks with y’all. This is just me defending myself. That’s it.

It seems like this could be a pivotal time in your career. Are there any steps you’re taking to solidify your legacy?
My shit already been written in stone. You can’t change the game forever. I just don’t like the way niggas is comin’ at the kid. How they gonna praise my brother Ghost and then try to shit on the rest of the Clan? That shit don’t ride with us ’cause we came in as a family. Don’t praise one nigga and then shit on the rest. That’s a form of separation right there. And if I read one more fuckin’ article that says, “former Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah” I’m gonna tear my fuckin’ hair out.

You’ve actually read that?
Word. Niggas is idiots. People don’t fuckin’ read anymore, they just see the shit in big print. They might just get to the first fuckin’—in the first two paragraphs y’all be writing, puttin’ niggas’ ages and trying to discredit a nigga. I don’t like that paragraph…

You mean the intro paragraph?
Yeah, the intro paragraph. I say fuck an intro paragraph, because if you read that intro paragraph, they stick it to you. The same way rappers, when they write lyrics, they do subliminal shit, y’all do the same shit, throwing subliminal shit in there like, “30-plus-year-old rapper,” or “Is he still significant nowadays?” “Hmm, we don’t know.” You know, little question marks, asterisks and shit.

You don’t think it’s important to question whether a rapper is still relevant after being around for 10 years?

I understand that. Ask the question during the interview then. Don’t put it ahead of the interview like a question you never even asked and shit. That’s all I’m gonna say. I don’t think that shit fair either.

With Southern rap being so dominant, do you feel like you’re still relevant to today’s audience?
Everybody has that little fear, but I’m an OG. I hate to say it. [Laughs]. I been in the game a long-ass time. The life expectancy is five years in hip-hop. I been doing it 12, 13 years, so I don’t think much of that shit really applies to me. But as far as staying up with today’s music with these Down South dudes, I’m not trying to keep up, man. I just don’t want to be counted out. There always gotta be a yin to a yang. Once people get tired of that they gonna come back to this anyway. But I love the fact that the South got on they grind. Wasn’t nobody checkin’ for them niggas. I felt they pain when they used to go out there and give me their CDs and say, “Nobody want to come see us, ain’t no record labels out here.” Them niggas got on they grind and got noticed. You gotta be a fuckin’ idiot to hate on that, that’s grizzly. That’s the American dream right there. My only thing is, I’m salty at Down South niggas. They only strikin’ back and defending themselves against all the backlash they getting’ from New York, but they saying, “New York gotta get on they grind.” Fuck y’all. New York been on their grind.

Check back for Part II of XXLMAG.COM’s interview with Method Man, where he reveals the truth about his relationship with Def Jam and Hot 97.