They’re Out to Get Me (Part II)
After being signed to Def Jam for twelve years, Method Man is wondering if things have changed. He’s eager to make a big return to rap and prove the critics wrong with his new album, 421: The Day After, featuring production from RZA, Eric Sermon and Scott Storch. But he may not be the label’s top priority anymore. His first single, “Say,” has been getting mixed responses from radio, and Def Jam blames him for the confusion. According to Johnny Blaze, ain’t a damn thing changed, he’s just looking out for number one. If Def Jam ever stops questioning his sanity, Meth believes that the Kwame-produced club track “Fall Out” will be the single to get his album the push it deserves. When XXLMAG.COM caught up with Mr. Meth, he was heated and ready to speak his mind about his label and the politics of radio.
You’ve been on Def Jam your entire career. Things must have changed a lot since you first signed.
I been on Def Jam a long ass fuckin’ time. Right now, I’m not feeling the album’s push. A lot of [Def Jam’s staff] came up when I was comin’ up, and there’s some smart muthafuckas in that building. So my question is, Is it me? Is it that they lack the confidence in me? ’Cause I got mad confidence in myself. My album comes out on the 29th and I haven’t seen advertising or shit for it. I go out on the road, do my fuckin’ radio and all that shit. I don’t really see the snipes, none of that shit, not like it used to be. Shit, I know how shit work. I been in the game a long time. Somebody tell me something. Make me a muthafuckin’ believer again because I’m not seeing it.
Are they giving a better push to other artists?
Yeah, I think so. I want to push my shit back because of that, but they’re like, “No, we can’t push it back.” They don’t go out on the street with us and see how people respond to us when we walkin’ up and down the block. All they see is BDSs. Not even SoundScan, because for real, Ghostface, that album should be off the charts with them fuckin’ BDSs he got on that fuckin’ Ne-Yo record. That record did more for Ne-Yo than it did for Ghost. It gave Ne-Yo street credibility. He just rollin’ now. He just rockin’. He that dude. I’m not hatin’ on the kid, I don’t even know the kid, but I ain’t really feelin’ him right now based on that.
You feel like Ne-Yo benefited from song more than Ghost did?
Yeah, but it wasn’t his fault. You can’t hold back a hit record and a star, but I feel like the way the label did that shit, it was a maneuver that was not in Ghost’s benefit at all. I think they should’ve gave him another look after the Ne-Yo record.
Why do you think they didn’t give him a second single?
He fast food right now. A lot of these labels are treatin’ niggas like fast food. They just throwin’ the records out there and not giving them the push. They like, We gonna push it two weeks before and two weeks after and then that’s it. If it got legs, it got legs. If not, fuck it. And that shit ain’t no way to do it. What happened to an artist’s relevance? But me? I’m muthafuckin’ happy to be on Def Jam, I’ll tell you that much, because it’s synonymous with hip-hop, period. All I’m asking is that Def Jam keep it hip-hop.
Has it been weird or different having an artist as your boss…
He ain’t my boss.
Jay’s the President of your record company. That doesn’t make him your boss?
Nah. I mean, Kevin Liles, when he was there, he wasn’t my boss. I mean, he’s the staff’s boss. He’s gotta make heads roll when the staff don’t step up and do they job, but what he gonna tell me? “Meth, get in the fuckin’ studio”?
Do you have much interaction with Jay?
Not really, but I love the shit outta Jay. He know it. That’s my dude. Y’all need to stop that bullshit, because he’s nobody’s boss except that staff. He’s the president of Def Jam, not the artists. We sorta like loners.
You don’t have a boss?
Hell no! I ain’t got no boss! I’m self-made, nigga! They don’t sign my muthafuckin’ check, they give me a loan for my services, which I have to pay back. Does that sound like I’m workin’ for somebody? Jay ain’t my boss, L.A. ain’t my boss, ain’t none of those muthafuckas my boss. I was there before Jay, L.A., and all them niggas any fuckin’ way. I got seniority.
How come you didn’t have this type of fire on the last album?
The last album I was just swimmin’, not to drown. Def Jam was going through they transition. Everybody was leaving. Kevin Liles, my brother, left me and Redman. But I would never block somebody from a check. If niggas wasn’t gonna treat you right, by all means, leave, nigga. I’d do the same shit. I wish Kevin and his family the best, man. I wish Lyor the best, man. Nigga signed me!
There must have been a time when you considered following them over to Atlantic.
I thought about it, but I’m a Def Jam dude. I’m one of those niggas. I want to end my career at Def Jam. But at the same time, I don’t want them to end my fuckin’ career.
Are you gonna do a video for the Lauryn Hill record?
Def Jam was more interested in the song being a first single than I was. I wanted it to be the second single to knock me out the water. But somebody leaked the record [cough] Def Jam [cough]. They went for the record. The problem they ran into was they didn’t know that radio would have a problem with me saying, “Radio lying, that ain’t where the hip-hop lives.” Anybody that took offense to that record, it was meant for them. There was a lot of backlash for that record. Some people don’t wanna play it. I ain’t even been invited Hot 97. I live in New York and I still I ain’t did New York radio. I did Power and that was it.
They wouldn’t let you on Hot 97 because of that line?
I have no idea what’s going on over there. You gotta talk to the label. I came up with Hot 97 and Hot 97 came up with Wu-Tang. I still ain’t done the station and they don’t play the record. And that shit started with Funkmaster Flex. Flex played the record and he was like—this is second hand now, I’m getting it from somebody else—he was like, “Hmm, interesting. I thought Meth was cool with Hot 97?” I am cool with Hot 97. The fuck? Why would you even put that out there like that? Just play the muthafuckin’ record, my dude. He put a extra little “umph” on it and opened a few eyes up. Since then, I ain’t heard the record.
So it sounds like you’re still undecided about whether it will work as a single.
It’s already out there but they not playing it, B. I think we up to like a thousand spins. Then it kinda reflects back at the label. They’re saying I went to the radio stations discrediting the single. How could I discredit one of my own fuckin’ songs that I spit on? The only thing I said when I went up in radio was, “This is the first single. Def Jam picked it.” And then I would back it up with, “If it were up to me, I would’ve came with something more heavy-hitting.” Meth likes to shake his ass at the club. I would’ve came with that single after, but I would’ve never came with that single first.
Didn’t you not want to release “All I Need” as a single on the first album?
I did everything in my power to discredit that fuckin’ song and the shit still went platinum as a single. I didn’t have anybody at Def Jam blaming me or saying any sideways shit about me discrediting the song as being a single. All of the sudden, now there’s a problem with Meth being on the radio saying, “Nah, I don’t think this is a good first single for me.” Now it’s a problem. “Oh, Meth, we would’ve gotten the spins up if you woulda never fuckin’ discredited your own single on the radio.” I ain’t discredit no fuckin’ body. And when the stupid-ass fuckin’ DJs call the fuckin’ label, “Hey am I playing the right muthafuckin’ song here? According to Meth, I’m not.” And I never even fuckin’ said that shit, the stupid son of a bitch. A lot of times I hear out the building, “Oh Meth is a rotten person again.” At Def Jam, it got to the point where I was the bad guy up there, man. All I was doing was defending myself and looking out for myself. I ain’t done shit to none of these muthafuckas, man.
Why do you think they view you as the bad guy?
I ain’t afraid to speak my mind and talk up about my shit when it’s fucked up. See the little things don’t matter to them because it don’t affect them. But I walk up in Def Jam and I see a poster and it says “Def Jam All-Stars ’06,” and they got everybody’s picture on there but mine, even Redman’s picture on there. It’s like, how you gonna put Redman and forget about me? I wasn’t forgotten. I was excluded! I’m not supposed to flip about that? If you don’t let them know, this shit continues. So now it’s like, “This nigga Meth, he a loose cannon. Yadda yadda yadda.” When all Meth was doing was checking his best interests, defending himself. I think that shit is so wrong and unfair, man, to be labeled as the crazy one. They think I’m crazy. It’s not the good crazy like, “Oh, he crazy.” It’s like, “That nigga crazy.”
Do you think you’ll be able to work all this out?
All I ask is that these muthafuckas give me a fair shake, ’cause you got some individuals up there right now, they don’t ride as hard for certain artists as they would for others. I feel like you should do your job to the fullest ability regardless to who the artist is. But there are people up there like that. It’s like high school, where these people clique up over here, they supposed to be the cool people. Everybody got they cliques.
You feel like you’re not down with the cool clique anymore?
I don’t know what the fuck is going on. I’m not down with any clique. I’m an outsider. I’m one of the social misfits right now.