Method Man & Redman - Black Out      
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written by Philip Oliver    
The collaboration of these 2 blunt brothers has been too familiar with the Heltah Skeltah project from Cube and Dre, long awaited and seemed it was never gonna happen. Well 3 years on from when Redman announced on the inlay of ‘Muddy waters’ that him and Mef would finally work on an EP we have a full-length album plus bonus tracks. For a duo of this caliber to come out with something just under 72 minutes long is pretty spectacular.

I don’t need top break down any history on these 2, you should know that they first wove their magic on ‘How high’ way back in 1995 and its included here as the final track. From there on they’ve been freestyling and doing collabos on loads of projects, they included their best as 3 bonus tracks, the aforementioned ‘How high’, ‘Big Dogz’, and ‘Allritechall’ but who can forget how they flipped it on ‘4321’, ‘Got my mind made up’, ‘Do what ya feel’ and more recently on ‘Symphony 2000’. I ‘ve heard some people already say that Meth and red are not really emcees of various lyrical content but they are emcees who can spit and if they got tight beats underneath them who gives a fuck?

You gotta really notice because of the majority of E doubles production this feels more like a Redman album that features Method man. This production hasn’t really changed which is good and bad, good because basically its dope and bad because Sermons showing no versatility. It does carry the album though and other bursts of life from RZA, Mathematics, Scratch and Rockwilder make this a listening pleasure. The opener of the title track is that heavy funk we know from Sermon and Meth and Red just ride the track sounding just as excited as the listener probably is. This continues into ‘Y.O.U.’ a pretty minimal based beat that keeps that head in back and forth motion in the same way that ‘Full co-operation’ from the Def Squad did. Def jam obviously wanted some collabo on there with label mates so LL proceeds to come thru and pretty decently may I add on ‘4 seasons’ but what the fuck is Ja Rule doing on here?, the track seems to go smoothly til he comes in. By now your getting just a little bit sick of that funk so its up to RZA to come with some 70’s shaft like music on ‘Cereal Killer’. His production here is different and both emcees seem to lap it up but where RZA really leaves me with jaw open is on ‘Run 4 Cover’ this track alone is proof that he can still do it. Add to this Street with a blazing opening verse, Redman loving the track and a killer verse from Ghostface to close things off this is the albums best track. Mathematics comes close with the wailing of ‘Dats dat shit’ featuring Mally G with a great verse and Young Zee on the hook and he even comes correct on production with ‘Fire ina hole’.

‘Maad Crew’ comes off nice even if it’s a bit slow, it freaks the same loop as Extra P did on ‘Mad scientist’ and speaking of familiarity the def squad remake one of their past tracks once again. On ‘Cheka’ Das Efx’s ‘Mic Cheka’ is reused both in some of the lyrics and the original beat, surprisingly its good, no, its very good. In fact all tracks are rocking that Richter scale but maybe with the exception of the disappointing ‘1,2,1,2’ which I was looking forward to because of DJ scratch’s past production and I still really ain’t warmed to ‘Tear it off’ its good but when it’s a Meth and red track its boring. Its not really about the production which I’ve talked about but you cannot ignore it on here, you know Method Man and Redman won’t disappoint lyrically and they seem so at ease in each others company.

I had no expectations for this album, because A) I didn’t think it was gonna happen and B) cos I didn’t hear half of it before it got released. Listening to something this good in its entirety for the first time is pretty rare. No wonder this took a long time to record, even if they did do most of it on the Hard Knock Life tour, their ideas and freestyle sessions fuelled their passion for rhyming and they put a lot into it. This is definitely one of 1999’s great releases.









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