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Method Man & Redman: Blackout! 2

The Jump Off
Method Man & Redman
Blackout! 2
(Def Jam)

When you’ve been handed as many industry backhands as Method Man and Redman have, it’d be easy to just roll a blunt and call it a day. Once revered as Def Jam’s dynamic duo, the partners in rhyme can’t seem to catch a break these days. Recent hit albums from label mates Rick Ross, Ludacris, and Kanye West were hard to ignore thanks to tireless promotion, a key ingredient to success that Meth and Red haven’t received since the days of their first joint effort, 1999’s Blackout! Meth’s underrated 2006 disc, 4:21… The Day After, was dumped on store shelves with little visibility, just as Redman’s equally good Red Gone Wild: Thee Album was a year later.

Nevertheless, with an undying camaraderie, rap’s Cheech and Chong have reunited against all odds with Blackout! 2 (the latest in hip-hop’s obsession with sonic sequels and forced nostalgia). A union of lyrical beasts that was an event a decade ago, the modern day Meth and Red tag team is surfacing in a less excitable commercial scene, which is unfortunate because Blackout! 2, while uneven, is admirable for its insistence on sticking to the fan-pleasing script. The production is comfortably rugged throughout, and the subject matter rarely veers from marijuana-laced shit-talking and the sporadic party crash, all executed with the veterans’ fluid pass-the-mic chemistry.

As it should, Blackout! 2 sounds like a defiant middle finger aimed at rap’s status quo. “We can ship gold, fuck one million,” the duo says together on the album’s celebratory opener, “B.O.2 (Intro),” and that’s exemplary of the album’s proceeding creative decisions. The Keith Murray–assisted “Errbody Scream” knocks like a classic Def Squad production, inspiring a particularly scathing Meth verse (“I try to keep it hot like the pilot in the stove/While these rappers lose power putting powder in their nose”). The requisite weed songs in Redman’s past discography are saluted with “Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers,” a dose of dusty, string-heavy soul that brings the best of Red’s chauvinism out: “You can smoke with the bro if you got ass and nice tits/But fuck you with that ‘I’m high off of life’ shit.”

The mood shifts to Afrika Bambaataa–era good times on the rambunctious “Hey Zulu,” a single in waiting that shows the duo in carefree experimentation mode. Blackout! 2’s best example of tone tweaking, though, is the smooth “Mrs. International,” where Buckwild’s retro guitars and horns sync up a soulful backdrop, while the pair show no bias, spittin’ sweet nothings for “fat, skinny, Black, or White” ladies. Equally enjoyable is the album’s bouncy first single “A-Yo” featuring Saukrates on the hook and the duo volleying lyrics back and forth on the verses. Once the disposable and lifeless posse cut “How Bout Dat,” stricken with witless cameos from Ready Roc and Street Life, comes around, Blackout! 2 devolves into a hit-or-miss affair. “Neva Herd Dis B 4,” with its slew of irritating robotic synths, finds Redman at his laziest (“Name ain’t Justin, but I rock Timberlands”), while the screeching sonics on “I Know Sumptin” sounds like a Neptunes throwaway.
For the majority of Blackout! 2, Meth and Red touch upon the strongest staples of their past work (“Four Minutes to Lock Down,” with Raekwon and Ghostface, is this album’s always reliable Wu-Tang cipher). The uninspired filler that litters this reunion’s latter portion, though, spoils the overall taste. Those with a hardcore case of the munchies for vintage Meth and Red goodness should feel satisfied. Just expect to be reminded more of past, stronger highs, rather than any lasting, in-the-moment buzz. —MATT BARONE

  • BeerGangsta!!!

    Red and Meth that’s what’s up. YA’ll make good tag team. Hope this Album go Platium! I will buy this. I recommend this CD to any good Rap Fans.

  • Pierzy

    I don’t know if it deserves an “XXL” but it certainly deserves at least an “XL.” One of the best albums of the year…

    • GregSide

      BullShit. I ain’t even read the article yet but I got the album. Maby not a XXL but with out a doubt ‘XL material’. Ya’ll fucced up wit that one.

  • MR. UNDI$PUTED THE MOGUL

    WHAT THE HELL XXL?! AN “L” RATING THIS FROM THE SAME PEOPLE THAT GAVE JENNY “NANANANA” JONES AN XL RATING!!! WOW HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN!!!

    PEACE & GET MONEY!!!
    MOGUL GAME ’09!!!!!!

  • thomas everett

    This deserves an XL not an L
    its a pretty solid release and i like it more than the first one.

  • Victor

    SMH, and the reviews get worse. Apparently Asleep in the bread aisle is better than this…

    • Pierzy

      HA!!

  • http://www.ashopcalledwood.com/ Ozzie O

    WTF is this? Only ‘L’ *smh too*

    “No more XXL for street cred, them days is dead”

    The TIs are indeed running this rap shit!

  • Casey

    Meth’s underrated 2006 disc, 4:21… The Day After

    Didn’t you guys also give that an L?

    And you’re telling me this deserves the same rating as Flo Rida?

  • http://xxlmag jb

    XXL is a popularity contest now. The more high profile u r the higher the rating. BO2 is obviously a XL rating at least.
    http://www.myspace.com/lidujay

  • Buck ’09

    Are you Fucking Kidding Me? this a XL at the least. Trust with all the garbage that has gotten better ratings: (cough, Rick Ross,cough)
    This is a way more complete album. Stop looking at what shit used to be and what somebody else is and start focusing on what it really is: A GREAT ALBUM!!!!!!!! (In a Dave Chappelle Voice:)
    Damn!!! XXL is Fucking UP!!!!!!

  • brand-new

    seriously xxl, do you just pick album ratings out of a hat now? when rappers step their rap game up, you step you rating skills down!

  • gkid123456789

    Wow this is a Big Fail for xxl. AN L for one of the top albums released this year?? F%^$ outta here! This album is easily an xl-xxl

  • yoo

    what are the best tracks off this album?

  • Azhar

    I would really love to know how they do cd ratings @ XXL. Ratings in this magazine are suspect.. Blackout 2 is a banga!!!…that cd is an XL easily!! I bet if u put it to the people it would average out to an XL easily…

  • venemez

    XXL is one Issue away from becoming The Source.

    Yall lost it since YN left.

    • GregSide

      I been feelin that shit 4 a while. Yellow took the mag from “alright” 2 taking the the title of “Hip-Hop Bible” away from the Sauce. Shit’s been gettin more and more fucked up every month ever since DT became E-I-C.

  • Corey

    Y’all robbed the Blackout 2 CD! The least it should’ve gotten was a XL. I’m sick of these bullshit reviews from magazines!! Hip-Hop journalism is truly dead!

  • Arsonist

    I actually dont argue with with rating. the album lacks subjects. they dnt really tlk about anythng except the same stuff everyone is tlkn about. i actually expected alot better than this. i mean, its a method & red album after all these years. i liked Tical the prequel more than this. I’m sorry, but this year is given to Relapse so far

  • http://colby-sempek.com Ghost

    While I can do nothing but empathize with all of the comments (BO2 is fucking dope), I suppose at the end of the day, one person’s subjective opinion of subjective matter can’t be the end all be all, right?

    Although, it is unfortunate that such a labeling system puts Jim Jones above and Flo Rida as equal. Where’s that higher level again XXL?

  • Teddy

    i got a real problem with xxl ratings these days everything is just xl pretty much so i was checking out the eminem issue and marhsel mathers lp is xl right the same rating you gave the slim shady lp the eminem show and 8 mile album when clearly they are not all on equal par like that if anything it should have been xxl for the first two and xl for the rest so u give asher roths album an xl so what ur saying is that album is equal to all those other em albums smh wtf? your reviews are starting to turn into the kinda bullshit we were seeing at the source towards the end of its run step ur rating game up stop rating every album xl

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

    Matt Barone, are you any relation to Raymond Barone, that crappy sportswriter character from that show?

    Sir, I respect your opinion, since I have millions of my own, but you take an L for this “L”. It’s quite possible that you’re; A) a little too young to appreciate Hip Hop in an era of ringtone, microwave & superhuman rappers or B) genuinely biased to their album because thet t-rolled your girlfriend @ an afterparty groupie orgy sometime in the late 90′s. Otherwise, the rating you feel they deserved is questionable @ best.

    Throwing all the cliche “veterans” talk out a window (no Ron Browz), just the albums stands as a solid soundscape offering a difference in experience, as opposed to all the cyborgs & clones ravaging our attention spans. Seriously, the album’s better than “L”.

    Maybe you’re subconciously comparing it to other albums. But, didn’t you hear the two times they used a vocoder? That’s got to count for something right?

    Oh well. I think it deserves an “XL”. I’m just saying, its better than a lot of the albums that hit shelves so far this year. Listen again. Maybe you’ll change how you feel.

    *tonygrands.blogspot.com*

  • zood

    This is a great album, maybe not quite XXL but certainly an XL to say the least. I liked asleep in the bread aisle but there’s no way its better than this. Step your review game up.

  • kingequality

    I think the albulm is very decent def better than alot of shit that came out this year its only like maybe 1 or 2 songs I would pass on but overall the shit is good music just aint getting the promotion they used to get alot of peeps didnt even know they had a cd dropping

  • Azhar

    Does anyone know how they (XXL) go about selecting who reviews certain cd’s? seriously!

  • kedordu@gmail.com

    I NEVER RATED XXL AT ALL . AFTER ALL U GAVE JIM JONES AN XL , U ALSO GAVE BIG TYMERS AN XL WHEN IT CAME OUT .. IM GLAD THAT ALL THE COMMENT ON HERE AT LEAST SHOW WHAT THE REAL DEAL IS .. I AINT MAD AT ALL . JUST PROVES WHAT IVE KNOWN ALL ALONG .. TO ALL WHO HAVENT HEARD THE ALBUM OR ARE THINKING OF BUY IT … EVEN IF U DOWNLAOD IT .. U WOULD WANNA BUY IT .. WHAT A HIT OF NOSTALGIA . THEY DID EXATLY WHAT THEY SAID THEY WOULD DO .. XL IN MY BOOK

  • $ykotic

    Been watching this one since it dropped.

    Whoever’s late don’t even think about DL’ing it.
    Cheating yourself. One of the best albums of the year.

    XL

    • kedordu@gmail.com

      @sykotic

      never thought we’d agree on anything .. BO 2

  • fyasko51

    Seriously, since when did Benzino take over????? This album is straight fire. Im from Cali and we got mad love for these dudes. XXL, chin check yo self….

  • RD

    i can understand why it got an L because it only had one hit single off of it, but i did buy this album and it does deserve and XL