4:21…The Day After
Perhaps Method Man jumped the gun back in 1998 when he named his sophomore set Tical 2000: Judgment Day. The Iron Lung’s moment of reckoning seems to actually be now. After the backlash from 2004’s Harve Pierre–heavy debacle Tical 0: The Prequel, the Wu-Tanger’s shine has dimmed considerably. With his back against the wall, Mr. Meth appears hell-bent on bringing the pain once again with 4:21…The Day After.
Meth makes his intentions clear from jump on the opening track, “Problem.” Over Erick Sermon’s cosmic funk, he declares, “Look, I ain’t come to bone you chicks, not this time/I got a bone to pick.” The Shaolin spitter’s slick wordplay continues on the sinister “Walk On,” where he and Redman run through the rock ’n’ roll-–charged track like a pair of hyperactive hyenas. However, Meth’s most potent bitch slap to his critics comes on the defiant “Say.” Backed by a Lauryn Hill vocal sample and an acoustic guitar, he barks, “The last album wasn’t feeling my style/This time my foot up in they ass, bet they feeling me now.”
Despite Meth’s lyrical strengths, some of his beat selections show signs of weakness. The lifeless “Let’s Ride” sounds like a Tical 0 reject, with its bland hook, courtesy of Ginuwine, and Mr. Porter’s overly simplistic instrumental. A similar fate befalls the Obi & Josh–produced “Ya’meen,” a monotonous electronic bounce that wastes otherwise solid cameos by Styles P and Fat Joe.
The Ticallion Stallion regains his stride, though, when he reconnects with his fellow Clansmen. The posthumous appearance of ODB on “DirtyMef” makes for a nostalgic duet, while RZA’s downscaling synthesizers on the weed-scented “420” bring da ruckus. Although not the commanding backhand to skeptics he intended, The Day After is still a step in the right direction, and gives hope that the Meth of old will come out tomorrow.—MATT BARONE