Method Man, Redman

In the dark, womb-like sanctuary of Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady studios in downtown Manhattan-a place that has birthed historical musical moments-sits the artist known as Iron Lung, Tical, Wu Brother #1, Johnny Blaze, and of course...Method Man. With a trusty, half-lit blunt by his side, he is lounging in front of white grand piano, his hands sweeping the keyboards, trying to remember a tune he memorized years ago.

Maybe the idea of one of hip hop's finest-and grimiest-emcees tickling the ivories sounds odd, or out of place, but Mr. Mef has never been the type to fit in. His husky, guttural voice is perhaps the most distinct in the game, his flow-dark and complex like the graphic novels from which he took his moniker from-can bury itself in cinematic tracks from RZA, complement the voices of R&B divas and or attack party tracks from Rocwilder. Whether he is trading verses with partner in rhyme, Redman, crowd surfing at a Wu Tang show, or stealing a scene in various television shows and films, Method Man is a true individual spirit. With his latest album, 4:21, The Day After, he is also focused on being a true artist.

Unlike some previous efforts-where Meth admits his priorities were different-on this new album, he says he's focusing on lyrics. After his last album, Tical O: The Prequel, he went through an especially rough time in his life-both personally and professionally-which provided him with a bulk of material. "I had a lot on my mind at the time and the second thing was, I decided to really talk about something and I had a lot to draw from and when the pen hit the paper it was like damn, remember this? And by the time I was done it was like shit, let's go." The result is his most personal and introspective work yet.

Doing the work behind the boards on 4:21, are Wu Tang mastermind and long-time collaborator, RZA as well as Scott Storch, Havoc, K1 and Eric Sermon. "With Eric, we did three songs in three days," Meth says with an amazed smile, "He just comes in with ideas of top. And with RZA, shit, I've watched him build tracks from scratch, so all I really have to do is put the pen to the paper". Eric Sermon provided the beat for Meth's first single, "Say", featuring Lauryn Hill. The track finds Meth addressing critics, fickle fans and haters for disrespecting him and his Wu Tang brethren.

"I've been venting about all this for years and [my manager] was like, 'Write about it, Eric has the perfect joint.' And, Lauryn Hill herself, she just had the raw emotion, the small things she said on the song was enough for me to push my pen and let myself be vulnerable." Meth says his ability to let himself be so open is in line with the entire concept of the album, and its title. "The national weed smoking day is 4/20, so I named my album 4/21 the day after. Because after that day, you have this moment of clarity when you're not high and you see things clearly." The Grammy-winner sighs and continues, a serious, determined look on his face. "You feel like you're not in on the joke, and everyone's laughing at you. I felt like no one was taking me seriously. I got real angry and I just starting writing."

Anger proved to be a great motivator, as the Ticalion Stallion wrapped up the album in a few short months. He says the creative process has been cathartic, and though his skin hasn't gotten any thicker, he's able to use his writing talent to inspire self-confidence. "It's real talk, I'm going to keep my spirits up and not let it get things to me. You know, if you start reading your own press and feeding into it, and you start questioning yourself, like, 'am I wack?' and you have to be like, 'No!' I learned to pat myself on the back, and that it's ok to pat myself on the back sometimes." We definitely agree.

You are now about to embark on a unique adventure where time, sound, and reality all have different meaning. No you won't be hanging with Pee-Wee Herman money, your guide for this ride is none other than Reggie Noble BKA Redman, and the place with all the bass just happens to be The Dark Side. There's no need to go into how Redman came on the scene housin' $%&! right ? What! Your memory is failing you? Don't ask somebody, I'm about to school ya. After years tearing it out the frame doing classic freestyles across the Tri-state area, Redman burst out upon the Hip-Hop scene in 1991 by catching wreck with his gift of vocab on the EPMD tracks "Hardcore and "Brothers On My Jock."

Soon after he gained more props by releasing his first funky single "Blow Your Mind" off the now Gold debut album "Whut? Thee Album." It contained gem tracks such as "Time 4 some Akshun" and "Tonight's The Night." Besides that, Redman was also a powerful force in The Hit Squad, a crew in Hip-Hop so revered any mention of the name brought instant respect.But that was two years ago, and a lot has happened in between. In 1993 Redman was voted by The Source as the top rap artist of the year. And Now Redman returns to reveal "Dare Is A Dark Side", his highly anticipated follow-up on Def Jam Recordings.

The title for the new platter came easily as the mc has gone through a barrage of stress, trials and tribulations career wise, in addition to the everyday struggle of maintaining out in society. After a quick trip to the corner store for a couple of phillips, he broke it down to me, "My meaning of the dark side is deep and real. All that shit I was GOING thou, I was like "This don't make sense." So you know what? I may just let shit go on this album to the dark side. Everybody's got a dark side, but they don't let it come out by pretending and grinning up in your face, and when they get home, they're on a whole different note. It wasn't about no gimmick. It's strictly real. The shit is dark but it's still funky."

Ah yes, the funk. That word combined with Redman go together like rice and beans. "Dare Is A Dark Side" packs the same quality head-noddin' funk the Hip-Hop nation came to love about "Whut...", but it also contains if possible a heavier bottom groove on 17 tracks. For example the first single, "Rockafella" contains hypnotizing bassline that symbolizes traditional east coast funk, cleverly merged with snippets of samples that will undoubtedly bring mad love from the west. "Rockafella" is also a personal special jam as it's dedicated to his man Rockafella, who was tragically gunned down just before the process of Redman putting him on. Redman states, "He had mad songs and he gave 'em to me because I was trying to let people hear him and stuff.

So I was like fuck it, I can't do nothing but let the world hear him (on the intro). The track "Cosmic Slop" features Redman gettin' biz with his present Def Squad family members Keith Murray and Erick Sermon the only way they know how. "Can't Wait" is a padlock to be a favorite in the rides as it carries the same vein of the previous butter track "Tonight"'s The Night." The joint "Green Island" finds Reggie Noble flippin' lyrics over a Caribbean -type beat to be believed. Other dope tracks such as "Da Game" and "Slide And Rock On" spotlights Redman doing what he does best, rhyming his ass of while even more importantly, showing us his captivating personality that gets heads open. Not too many mc's can lift the choruses from "Hey D.J." and a Prince jam, and in a comedic fashion, flip them, and be talking about blunts, But the treats don't end there.

The funkadelic devil does a wicked duet with Hurricane G on "Werun N.Y." and every single person that dug the first album "Sooperman Luva." Redman has succeeded again on the production tip. He knocked five joints himself, while benefiting from the fly skills of the Funklord Erick Sermon and coming Funky Noble Productions producer Rockwilder who completed the package with him.

$35.00 - $50.00

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Dress Code ENFORCED AT EVERY SHOW: - Shoes, Shirts, Pants/Shorts must be worn at all times. - No Gang or Racist Attire - No Spiked Jewelry or Sharp Objects - No Knives, Wallet Chains, Pens, or Markers. - No Pipes or Any Illegal Drugs. ENFORCED AT ALL HIP HOP SHOWS: Check our Calendar page for more information. - MUST be wearing Pants and Collared Shirts. - No Beanies, Bandanas, or Hats. - No Sports Attire of any kind, No White Tee Shirts. - No Shorts.

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Method Man, Redman

Wednesday, June 5 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Ventura Theater