It’s been awhile since we’ve done a “This or That”, that all popular series where we debate the classics in the hip hop history. We’ve pit classic albums against classic albums, usually by the same artists, just so it has some kind of relevance in the comparisons. I thought this time around, for time purposes and my own general curiosity, we would feature songs this time around. Actually it’s the same song, the original version and the remix of that said song. What song am I speaking about? Well, I had a couple songs in mind, one we’ll save for a later time, but this week, we’ll be discussing the Method Man song, “Method Man”.
Wu-Tang Clan - Method Man (Enter The 36 Chambers, 1993)
Meth’s self titled song first appeared on the classic “Enter The 36 Chambers”, in 1993. It was Meth’s solo introduction to the world, as it was the b-side to the Wu’s first single “Protect Ya Neck” that dropped a good four to six months before the album was released on Loud Records. From the early interviews, Method Man was the general consensus of containing the most charisma from the bunch, which lead to the idea of giving him a chance to shine on the solo tip.
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the song a few hundred times in your life, if not more. Myself, I was immediately blown away the first time I heard the song. I had snagged the cassingle after reading about this new hip hop group that was ready to take the world by swarm in The Source magazine one month. It was a few months before the album dropped, sometime late that summer. While I thought “Protect Ya Neck” was a great song, “Method Man”, hooked me and I wouldn’t stop playing it for a good year. Soon enough, the single would have it’s own video as well, which would made the song even more powerful.
The production is classic RZA at the time, and one of the reasons why RZA is considered one of the five best producers to ever touch the boards. The sparse keys, rumbling bass, the dusty flavor, it all adds to the appeal of the track. Of course Meth just does his thing lyrically. I would spit word for word along with the rhymes, entrenching Meth as my favorite Wu member and one of my favorite MCs at the time. With his slow and deliberate drawl made it easy to memorize the lyrics, which were catchy and memorable in the first place:
You don’t know me and you don’t know my style
Who be gettin flam when they come to a jam?
Here I am here I am, the Method Man
Patty cake patty cake hey the method man
Don’t eat Skippy, Jif or Peter Pan
Peanut butter, cuz I’m not butter
In fact I snap back like a rubber
band, I be Sam, Sam I am
And I dont eat green eggs and ham
Style will hit ya, wham!, then goddamn
You be like oh shit that’s the jam
Turn it up now hear me get buckwu-wu-wild
I’m about to blow light me up
Upside downside inside and outside
Hittin you from every angle there’s no doubt
I am, the one and only Method Man
The master of the plan wrappin shit like Saran
Wrap, with some of this and some of that
Hold up (what?) I tawt I tat I putty tat
Over there, but I think he best to beware
Of the diggy dog shit right here
Yippy yippy yay yippy yah yippy yo
Like Deck said this aint your average flow
Comin like rah ooh ah achie kah
Tell me how ya like it so far baby paw
The poetry’s in motion coast to coast and
Rub it on your skin like lotion
What’s the commotion, oh my lord
Another corn chopped by the Wu-Tang sword
Hey hey hey like Fat Albert
It’s the Method Man ain’t no if ands about it
It’s the Method
It’s a song that The Source included in their top 100 Hip Hop Singles of all-time this blog, particular me, had it ranked at #28 on my all-time favorite songs list. It’s an excellent introduction to one of the more important MCs and groups to grace the hip hop landscape (no matter what Joe Buddens says).
Method Man - Method Man (Remix) (Tical, 1994)
Like a high grossing movie needs a sequel, every hot song needs a remix. In the early/mid 90′s, a “remix” was a little different. The term and idea hadn’t been corrupted by the concept of putting a bunch of hot artists of the moment and rap over the same beat. Puffy would introduce that idea of a remix a few years later with “Flava In Your Ear”. Nope instead, Method Man and the Wu-Tang Clan would come with a new beat, although similar to the original and new lyrics. Tucked in at the end of the “Tical” album, the song originally appeared on the on a couple promos, one as the b-side for “The Mystery of Chessboxin” and another as it’s own original promo.
The “new” beat incorporates a lot of the original ideas and sounds, with the sparse piano key sample making an appearance. They seem to be louder and somewhat altered in
tone and pitch. In some ways I would almost say it’s a slightly darker beat than the original with some Bomb Squadish trills and weird sounds going on the composition, basically it’s a lot busier beat. It basically oozes that nasty funk that made me love Erick Sermon production during this same time period. RZA did the same type of thing, but with that Kung-Fu type of flair to it.
While I don’t know story behind this remix, I would gamble to say Meth wrote the lyrics a little later after the original. Not that they are any better than the original, which might have the more catchier lines, but Meth’s rhymes on the remix seemed more complex in some areas. It was still classic Method Man dropping:
Let me get raw with my southpaw style
Mover, puffin’ on a fat blunt from Cuba
It’s the Meth-Tical jet to Cal, I’m the buddha
Monk on the hunt for machine gun funk
I keeps you open like a slug from the shotgun punk
Double-barrel, yeah Meth bring it to them proper
Partner, you ain’t got no wins in me casa
Straight up, you movin’ too fast so baby wait up
Took one, added seven more now you eight up
Get on down wit’ your bad self
Get on down, listen to the sound, come on
Few can ever get this whole commit legit
See you all up in my dick
But you don’t know shit, uh-huh
What’s your definition of a real emcee
From what you dedicated, hey it must be me
Meth-Tical, a lewd descendant of the loud hip-hop
I go on to the break of dawn, and just don’t stop
Give me the green light, and the sign one way
Have you had your meth today
Huh, move it in, move it out
Stick it in, pull it out
Shake it up, shake it down
Come on down, Meth-Tical
Oh I often pray that I will
But today I am still
Coming in at only two verses is a disappointment in someways and he seems to get kind of sloppy on spitting the second verse. Yes, we love Meth’s “spray it and say it” rhyme style, but it’s just not as tight on the second verse. All in all, the song is near classic in my book, just for the simple fact that it keeps a lot of the same things that made the original such a great song, but it adds enough to it to make it seem like a new song.
At one time in my life, I played the original version of “Method Man” so many times that I enjoyed the “newness” that the remix brought. It felt like a second chapter in a good book that is Method Man. But as the years creep on, you can’t argue against a song that might be slicker and less abrasive than it’s remix, but it’s a classic and you can’t go against the memories that the song conjures up in the mind. I think ultimately I like the beat a bit more on the remix, but dig the lyrics more on the original. In the end, it’s the original. Vote for your favorite in the poll in the upper left hand corner.