He reps the Rotten Apple to death and doesn’t talk smack on DVDs

I was reading the Village Voice online yesterday and I came across a review of Method Man’s 4:21…The Day After. Miles Marshall Lewis begins his article with a simple—but key—question: “Who, exactly, is waiting on the new Method Man?” In other words, is Meth even remotely relevant to today’s hip-hop game?

I had to dust off my copy of the album (which had been serving as a coaster on my desk) and take a good, long listen. Mr. Mef has spent the last few months on a tedious press campaign that’s involved complaining relentlessly about the press to the press. His last outing tanked with the critics and fans alike, and the Shaolin soldier caught serious feelings. As Lewis points out in his Voice review, Method Man is using this release to put forward an extended argument for his own relevance.

The album is actually a whole lot better than I thought it would be. Meth is an exceptional rapper and that hasn’t really changed. If anything, his smooth flow and witty wordplay stand out more now in a market that’s flooded with mediocre trap star chant rappers. “Say,” which features a melancholy Lauryn Hill sample, is one of my favorite songs this year, and there’s a solid nine iPod-worthy tracks on this album—which is about seven more than most albums that dropped this year. “Dirty Mef” resurrects O.D.B. (rest in peace) to eerie effect; Ginuwine shows up to coo over the requisite girl record “Let’s Ride.” The Day After doesn’t have the magic of Meth’s earlier material, but I don’t think anyone really expects it to. All things considered, there’s a lot working in favor of this project.

But in today’s hip-hop climate, good music does not equal relevance. As I see it, there’s a number of obstacles in Johnny Blaze’s path. Here’s five reasons why I think people aren’t checking for him right now:

1. Hip-hop is a young man’s game.
The next generation is making a huge push to take over and claim their piece of the pie. (See Maino’s “Take it like a man.” Don’t know if Maino is an 80s baby, but if so, that movement might just have their first official anthem.) Also, when it comes to record sales, I’m guessing that young fanboys buy more music than the grumpy Hip-Hop is Dead dudes.

2. Hip-hop is polarized regionally, and the South is on top.
The South—who keep reminding us that they buy an awful lot of records—are fed up with being marginalized. Now that they’re on top, they’re going to support their own. New York, on the other hand, is mired down in bickering.

3. Hip-hop is obsessed with gossip.
In the days of blogs and hip-hop websites, heads require rap stars to stay in the news in order to stay relevant. And whining about the media for months at a time is not a riveting, headline-grabbing story.

4. Hip-hop is dominated by radio and the clubs.
Music nerds will shun radio in favor of mp3s and pod casts, to be sure, but most casual fans still take their cues from radio. And casual fans buy a lot of records. Really, you don’t even have to tune into radio to be influenced by it. It’s wafting out of car windows, playing in stores, blasting in restaurants. When you hear tracks over and over, they take on new meaning—the songs become infused with your own personal memories. And people often buy music for emotional reasons. As far as Meth goes, it looks like Def Jam is not doing much to promote his album. Plus, it doesn’t sound all that radio-friendly in the first place. Or club-friendly.

5. Hip-hop is fascinated with beef and violence.
Which is why some dudes have built entire careers out of taking shots at other rappers.

So, for Method Man—a New York rapper in his mid thirties who isn’t getting spins, making snap music, beefing or otherwise acting a fool—it’s going to be pretty tough to be relevant to the game. Regardless of how decent his album is.

  • K.O.T.S

    first…and i guess last…ha ha ha

  • SY Young

    you say hip hop is a young mans game but all of hte top sellers are in ther 30s????? hmm

    eminem, dmx, jayz, nelly,nas, busta, ti is about 27, rick ross is in his 30s so is young jeezy… so how is hip hop a young mans game.

  • the one

    This bitch column sucks….Sorry sweetie.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Fuck “relevance”.

    Gimme some good music, I could give a fuck if interweb nerds (and for as much shit as I get about my xxl blog addiction, some of these motherfuckers are way nerdier than I’ll ever be about this rap shit) are posting 400 comments about someone.

    Fuck those long t-shirted little niglets & crackers & teenie bopper girls that support the worst music that’s ever been put out in the history of rap.

    Fuck it. Call me Walter Matthau. I’ll be that Grumpy Old Man.

  • http://sexy-results.blogspot.com Ian

    I did a review of the Meth album at Stylus, and what I found was that he spends too much time arguing for his own relevance while doing the exact shit that turned people off in the first place (syrupy R&B, not enough RZA). Meth’s album tanked, but so did Ghost’s…but anyone who copped “Fishscale” will put it at the top of their year-end lists. There’s a great 35-minute album in “4:21,” but too much filler.

    Then again, you might need to ask yourself how complicit XXL is in positing people like Young Jeezy and Rick Ross as top of the line MC’s.

  • content

    method man no longer has the sales he once did b/c he compromised his image with all that “how high” bullshit (which maybe shouldn’t matter but does). why do you think Jay-z (not to mention lyrical content, swagger and delivery) has been on top for so long. You seen him in any silly ass movies? No, in fact J stays pretty much behind the sceens. fans have to believe what you spit. i agree with bol for once, image is everything.

  • e

    Nice post and thanks again for the book recomendations. I don’t think hip hop is a young man’s game though the most anticipated and critically acclaimed albums have all been from old rappers. Meth won’t sell because fans of the original wu tang clan won’t buy his albums regardless of radio play and young kids expect him to be the guy from how high same thing goes for Redman.

  • content

    i agree with ian. if magazines, like XXL, would stop celebrating these “only on top b/c hip-hop is down” rappers then possibly fans would demand better. you know media plays a huge roll in who’s hot.

  • http://yahoo.com jordany

    I’m all about good music, don’t just talk about a whole bunch of stuff that i can’t relate to. Every single rapper talks about keepin’ it real but, only a few speak the truth, i really don’t care if you brag on your records but, you gotta balance shit out. With the exeption of Kanye West and T.I. ever since Jay-Z retired and Eminem not bringing his A-game the only dudes moving units are all this non-talented rappers who just rap about violence, hustlin’ and shit they ain’t got. It’s unfortunate for a real fan of rap music like myself but, if the artist is not selling millions of records they either get dropped from the label or go over to Koch which is a rapper’s graveyard. Since Lupe Fiasco just dropped, i’m just hopping on Jay-Z, Saigon, Beanie Sigel, Eminem (”the emeinem show” eminem), Nas, Kanye West and everybody else worthy of being called an MC to step their game up and deliver some real rap music.

  • http://www.myspace.com/16kingz thebestout!!

    VERY GOOD POINTS BUT YOU LEFT OUT A FEW KEY THINGS….

    1.AFTER “HOW HIGH” HIS ALBUM RELEASE WAS MORE LIKE “HOW COME?”

    2.WHERE’S THE MARKET I.E.METH’S A VAGINA DRYER (NO ODB)

    3.HE HASN’T ESTABLISHED ANYTHING ELSE SINCE HE FIRST CAME OUT ( NO ARTIST,NO LABEL,CLOTHINGLINE FLOPPED,)

    5.AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST WITH OUT HIS SHAOLIN BROTHAS TO OUTSHINE AS THE MARKETABLE ARTIST WHO REALLY CARES?

  • DJ N-CREDIBLE

    all the vets in the game need to come together and put out a album…now that would go triple diamond which will allow every artists on the album to eat…yes its the unthinkable but its possible…hip hop is viewed as a slaughter house already with all the beef in it…so why not disprove the critics and put out a album that will go down in history…the next question is who should be on it…remember my young grasshoppers,” THERES STRENGTH IN NUMBERS”

  • the young chuck taylor

    the album was weak these artists talk about they write albums in 2 or 3 weeks wtf kinda shit is that there not pac or big thats why jay-z the black album was his most half work there rhyming jus to rhyme not actual think about what they say they dont take there time fuck theres no artist except nas and lupe fiasco and maybe the game im really waiting for other then that hip-hop is dead becuz south didnt kill it if 90% of there artists except for 2 or 3 is only selling 700,000 at there most they have a hard time goin gold.

  • rizzop

    The problem is all the damn fans(80′babies) are locked up in prison and the kids they been leaving are stupid cuz they parents arent raising them, MTV and BET are…and all they release is garbage, so they kids think that bullshit is real music.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Co-sign N-Cred.

  • http://www.myspace.com/kracktheking KR

    With Drama gone, I believe you may be the weakest link. Most of your blogs state what is either obvious or irrelevant.

  • K.O.T.S

    Co-sign N-Cred..

    I would put 12-14 MC’s

    Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Snoop, Scarface, Wu-Tang (group no solo’s), Outkast, Dr. Dre, Cube, UGK..and 2 bonus tracks NEVER HEARD BEFORE FROM 2pac & BIGGIE…

    executive producer: DJ Premier & Dre
    co-producer: 9th Wonder

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    yo, meth isn’t connecting with today’s rap fan b/c his music is not that hot. i mean he has OK tracks, but nothing on that album stands out as “buy me”, aside from “presidential MC”, which only shines due to raekwon.

  • K.O.T.S

    hey as a punishment who would you rather take…chingy? benzino? DFB? D4L? Jibbs? or Young Joc?…lets say you commited a crime and the judge tells you that for your crime you would have a listen to any of these artist for a whole week stright 24/7 who would you least want to listen to?

    Comment back…

  • K.O.T.S

    **have to listen**

    **straight**

  • Jerz!

    Did Rey really just write that first paragraph? lol your confused homie.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Young Joc. Definitely.

    Jerz–Um, yep. That was me. Y-O-U-R-E.

  • D-One

    To tell the truth, as talented as Method Man was, I couldn’t imagine 500,000 people buying his album. It would be a miracle to me like Mike Jones sales.

  • K.O.T.S

    hey go to bossip.com and check out pics from JAY-Z’s new video? IN MONACO? WTF? Maybe is for that “upgrade u” song….I dunno..well check it out..

  • from damitten (where the water is lovely)

    My resolution for Meth is (although he might be taking a pay cut) to remain calm and keep doing guess apperances. I swear his best ish has been on many colaborations.
    It’s obvious as a solo artist he can never do Tical numbers. Those days are looong gone.

    Another great post by
    the Almighty Tara Henley

  • Bang

    I don’t think those really factor into meth’s sales these days as much as the number or weak albums from the past are coming back to haunt him (his fault), and the fact that the label ain’t push him (their fault). See he can’t win with the mainstream sales anymore, that time’s over mayne. Honestly, part of it’s on him to blame and the rest on Def Scam. and the fact that he gets bitchy cus dudes big up Ghostface shows that he KNOWS he ain’t been doin it right for a min. fuck it, he need to go independant and link up with the WU for a new album

  • Belize

    i hate to say i told yall so but ï f’n told yall so”..that mef album is ill

    Tara-im not feelin that genuine cut though, nor the last song

  • Belize

    also good looks on that B-day tip, its actually cool, but i think heather headley’s album is better..plus beyonce scares me, in a sharon stone way

  • Cheyne

    Tara made some valid points, but here’s another reason why I think people aren’t checking for him right now:

    It’s hard for an artist to get any shine when the president of his label is more worried about his career than his artists’.

  • Enlightened

    Try this:
    NO ONE KNEW THE ALBUM WAS COMING OUT.

    I spend a lot of time on the internet like most of the rest of y’all but guess what: MOST PEOPLE DON’T.

    People always get on the internet and get lost in this shit and think that this reflects the real people and what average niggas in the hood are thinking. NO – the shit does not.

    People with video and radio rotation don’t only tend to sell more because of some mystical, mysterious conspiracy shit – it’s because THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IS COMING OUT!

    Method Man said it was either shoot a video for “Say” or use that time to finish some more songs. He should have shot the video. Out of the people I fuck with in life, I would estimate that only about 2% of them spend as much time on hip-hop websites as I do. Guess what “hip-hop internet community”:
    WE’RE THE ONLY MUTHAFUCKAS THAT EVEN KNEW HE WAS DROPPING!

  • Spark

    How cares as fans if an album sales? who are we exec producers??? nooo so im kinda happy to bump a best kept secret most of the albums that are great are slept on(dangerdoom-4:21-gametheory-fish) no who gives a fuck ’bout them fucking numbers give me quality fuck quantity

  • Belize

    co-sign enlightend…mef even said that Jay-Z was right about makin Say a video. Mef kinda fuked up a lil.

    If I was him id drop a cd in december, cuz he’d have a lil buzz already from this cd, another hot one and he’d be top 5 instantly

  • Incilin

    Ouch! I hate to say it, even thought I been saying it, but ur right, Meth can’t remain relevant. I think Meth should do something stupid like leave Def Jam (Which he prolly will if he don’t get dropped) go to Koch (Which he definelty will if he aint on Def Jam) and start making Jay-Z diss songs (Which I doubt and don’t really want, but it wil get ppl talking). DMX seems to be inclined to do so himself. And mabye Nas can join them (Since it looks like his albums gonna get shunned cuz of Jay’s new album, just ask Sickamore) Maybe that’ll bring NY back. And the only ppl to come to Hov’s aid will be ppl like Jeezy and Ross who can’t go bar for bar with Meth, DMX, and Nas. This aint gonna happen mind you, but hey, what if?

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    even tho meth aint make a video he paid off belize to constantly gn on about da cd on hea so there’s no excuses for da no promo argument

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Much the same way Lil’ Wayne pays you to simulataneously suck his balls and extoll his “greatness” on this site, Transi.

    (no “entourage”)

  • K.O.T.S

    when was the last time that you heard good albums come out from one label (fishcale, game theory, 4:21) and didnt even get promo at all. While garbage like ne-yo, rihanna, young gunz, bleek, that ROC teenager chick all got exposure but yet came out with bricks…I mean DAMN…JAY open your fucking eyes you aint good at being “EL PRESIDENTE” if you would put in half the energy that you do with Beyonce ass you would make alot of money. Then again you aint a bussinessman you are a bussines man right? GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE…

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    everybody on hea (me, sickamore, splinter nigga, drama, noz, kris ex, dj n faggitable) all extoll da virtues of weezy post-2004, fatty

    da only people who dont are jaded dullard faggits who think eminem is a top 5 rapper

    aka you

  • Meka Soul

    if he had dropped this album when he was “amos ‘n andy”-ing it up with redman, he may have been able to keep the album away from the cutout bins a little bit longer.

    he still gets respect, however.

  • Meka Soul

    he performed “say” on nick cannon’s wild’n out. that should get him a few hundred extra sales.

  • e

    If rap city was relevant he could have made an appearance. We need a post on the demise or rap city, now no one goes in the booth to freestyle(can these guys even freestyle anymore)

  • e

    or=of

  • DJ N-CREDIBLE

    e Says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 3:35 pm
    If RAP CITY WAS RELEVANT he could have made an appearance…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    we now have a scape goat blame the decline on rapcity and mad linx(or whateva his name is…revamp rap city which will give all these rappers a medium(Webster 101) to stimulate the mass population…

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    tHe tRaNsIeNt Says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 2:40 pm
    everybody on hea (me, sickamore, splinter nigga, drama, noz, kris ex, dj n faggitable) all extoll da virtues of weezy post-2004, fatty

    da only people who dont are jaded dullard faggits who think eminem is a top 5 rapper

    aka you
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    lol.. You get points for using “dullard”.. That must’ve been on your “word-a-day” calendar they gave you in the group home.

  • latinpistol

    its sucks but it tru. Meth is probly one the best MCs to ever bless a mic but he probly sold out by them snap music and the other shit that out there

  • e

    DJ N-CREDIBLE Says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 4:03 pm
    e Says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 3:35 pm
    If RAP CITY WAS RELEVANT he could have made an appearance…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    we now have a scape goat blame the decline on rapcity and mad linx(or whateva his name is…revamp rap city which will give all these rappers a medium(Webster 101) to stimulate the mass population…

    ^^^^^^^^^
    See I am starting a movement against Mad Linx and the lesbian lookin guy with dreads from st. louis who also hosts(i think his name is j-kicks or some shit). Faggit ass new jack rap city hosts

  • blaQ

    BLAME THE SOUTH…THEY KILLED GOOD HIP HOP

  • Spark

    co-signin blaq

  • LBDII

    Im a young dude 16 actually and I like the real shit I hate that Chain Hanglow nonsense I just love real rap. Lupe’s ablum is banging. Metho Mans ablum was yea about 9 songs ipod worthy But I thought the New Kast album was great. Cant wait for Jay’s new album either.

  • SilverBack Gorilla

    I’m a Wu fan but I ain’t feelin’ Mr. Mef. That “How High” shit + the sitcom threw me off. I ain’t bought a Mef album since Tical.

    Oh, stop hating on the south. All that snap-rap & shit ain’t hip-hop..& it don’t represent Real Niccaz. Thats for kids & the clubs. Remember when it was cool to dance?! Y’all tryin’ to take the fun out of rap. Most cats ain’t seen bricks or AR-15s or Carbon-15s… Let the kids have some fun.

    In other words STAY IN YA FUCKIN’ LANE!!!!!!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com shawn

    she’s right, the south has the crown and isn’t giving it back to the bitch ass new york rappers who cry about we aren’t relavent anymore, except dipset, who’s accepted in the south.

  • H-Man

    I bought the album…It waz str8 up fire…Do club muzik than fellas…Who cares what people think?…Maybe crank it up wit crunk…mix the 2???

  • http://xxl da genuine article

    the reason dipset is relavent in the south is because they dick ride that downsouth vibe…….how the fuck you from harlem and all your songs sound like you live in west mississippi…i aint feeling that chit….

  • http://xxl da genuine article

    fuck the south…mark my word that bullchit dance craze thats going on is coming to an end….nothing last forever as we all know…real hip hop will return….you shouldnt have to make up a dance for a song to be marketable if you know who your trying to sell your music to…..ya dig…that snap bullshit will be gone in less than 2 years…trust me….

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Some people hate…Some people hate…i think they lost their mind…Stop hating on the south…you act like thats all the south is doing is putting out trendy shit…is Weezy F Baby, Bun B, Pimp C, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Chamillionare, Lil Keke, Paul Wall, Juvenile, Scarface, David Banner, TI, Luda putting out snap/trendy music…NO…dont try to discredit the south by stereotyping us for snap music…thats a few niggas out of the ATL thats doing that…and dont blame them blame the industry for accepting it…blame your lil sister for voting it on 106 blame the younger generation who has the buying power which gives them the say-so as to what gets played…you want this to come to an end…go buy the artist you like from the store dont download it…request their music to be played…you get it now…now make it happen…we are hip hop in the words of mos def…so if you wanna know where hip hop is going ask yourself where are you going…all that said look at our current situation…fans of the 90′s music is getting older and we dont buy cds IN STORES…a younger generation is coming into there teens(buying power and over 65% of the market)…corporations dont care about hip hop they care about the bottom line…food for thought to eat with your liqour

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Damn, Tara, I could kiss you on the cheek for this one. Meth’s CD really is worth listening too, and although he gets his point across, he doesn’t spend the entire CD bickering about the media. It’s a damn shame in this day and age that someone with such a history in hip-hop doesn’t even get promoted by their own fucking label. No, the CD is no “Tical,” but it’ll shit all over the South’s current offerings and that’s just the facts. I especially felt “Say” with Lauren Hill, it was just a well written song that got the message across, period. The thing is, the real hip-hop fans are leaving this shit behind in droves. There’s hardly anything groundbreaking anymore. I couldn’t write enough diss tracks in my lifetime to get a shot in at all the wack rappers I see and hear in the media. They’ve exploited the shit out of everyone involved, and I’m happy Meth didn’t get overexposure on this one b/c that would just attract more negativity to an otherwise solid CD. Meth’s album is mature, and of course, that’s not going to appeal to the finger-snappers, but shit appeals to me.

  • NCM

    Meth’s album is really good. He just doesn’t sell anymore. That doesn’t mean he fell off. All the little kids buy that bullshit ass catchy snap music that’s on the radio. That’s why he’s not on the radio cause he actually has GOOD music. Sell records doesn’t determine if an album or artist is good, or at least it shouldn’t. Sell records just means that you have a buzz from some kind of beef or from the catchy bullshit song on the radio that the little kids like. Little kids don’t know about Wu-Tang. The SOUTH has the game all fucked up. The South music is all BULLSHIT and straight horrible(no LUDA or Young Buck). It doesn’t matter how many records you sell, let’s bring it back to that NY good shit.

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    OH, and I said this once before–anyone notice Jose Gordo (Fat Joe) dropping the N-Bomb on “YahMeen” It’s not even close to “nigga.” That Joe is indeed loco. Why isn’t everyone tripping on this like they did with J-Lo?

  • EHT

    The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE…
    Everyone on your list is wack besides Luda. It’s just not the South 95% of Hip-Hop is horrible these days. And it all comes down to originality, and there is none today. Everyone needs to get off of this “regional” music. Good music is good music and not much of it is being made.

  • EHT

    The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE…
    I’ll give you Face also.

  • Enlightened

    EHT said-
    “get off of this “regional” music. ”

    Nah, sorry that’s impossible. Do people from different regions speak in the same way? Same slang? Wear the same clothes? Like the same cars? Etc. Etc. That’s why hip-hop is hip-hop.

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  • EnglandRepresent

    That Meth joint is ill, fuck what you heard.

    And that little pygmy/gremlin lookin muthafucka is WACK, Lil Wayne is Big Wack. You Stateside brothers are a disgrace for advocatin that man as an MC

    Transient you must have the intellectual capacity of a single-celled ameoba

  • Busters Mom

    when I read this post I hear this lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous-announcer-tone… and by that I mean, good times.

  • doc o’dogg

    fuckkk the wack ass down south bullshit…hiphop is wack right now os of them bastards

  • EHT

    Enlightened….I don’t understand what you are saying. Because someone has a different slang or style of clothes they can’t enjoy music from a different region? If that is the case Hip-Hop would have never left the Bronx. There are so many different styles in NYC alone. What you say just doesn’t make since. Hip-Hop is Hip-Hop that’s why the door should be shut on wack rappers! There has never been a genre of music where the front door has been left open for anyone to come in.

  • the one

    why do you think Jay-z (not to mention lyrical content, swagger and delivery) has been on top for so long. You seen him in any silly ass movies? No
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Yeah!! He played a horrible role In State Property or whatever that other stupid ass movie Rocafella came out with. One of there first movies you dumb ass.

  • allnice

    Meth is wack cause son isn’t nice. He was never really nice, but now he is just not popping. But that’s how it goes. You have some fame and what not, but eventually, everyone has to fall back.

  • TrueLife

    Meth album is really a good album. But if you dont rhyme for little boys and girls you wont sell a dime.

  • http://xxlmag.com Juice Box

    Yea, it might be true, real hip hop from the early and mid 90′s won’t resinate with the youngings born in those years. It’s more than just the 80′s babies, it’s the 90′s babies to, the marketing schemes of the music industry don’t cater to the old heads any more. Unless you tell them what they want to hear and show them what they want to see. MONEY HOES CLOTHES CARS AND DRUGS IS WHAT THEY ARE PROMOTING.

  • Tone

    Forgo a journalism degree and go diretly to nonsense.