It is a wholly satisfying experience to throw a clenched fist at the head of someone who has wronged you, connect with a crispy thwack and send teeth spinning violently into orbit as their unconscious owner slumps into a flaccid heap on the pavement.
Perhaps with the exception of the spinning teeth, Wu-Tang Clan's Masta Killa did just that in 1994, with Rap Pages writer Cheo Coker on the highly-unenviable receiving end of the fist of fury. Coker had written a rather positive feature on the group, but the editors had run it with a set of caricatures depicting the Clan as less-than-hetero-looking superheroes.
The result was an encounter that has become a hip-hop urban legend of sorts, with some accounts claiming that, after the knock-down, Raekwon reportedly snarled, "Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothin' to fuck with!"
With this in mind, it would not be entirely unbelievable for fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man to follow suit, pulling a rap critic's tongue out his mouth and stabbing that shit with a rusty screwdriver. Or, perhaps, sewing his asshole closed and feeding him.
Afterall, it is no secret that he has been pissed at the media lately. In a recent interview with NobodySmiling.com, Mr. Meth said some variation of "fuck" more than 100 times and called the interviewer no less than 15 names, including "you fucking writing piece of shit."
The source of his rage is what he considers to be an abundance of unfair criticism over the past few years, such as claims that he "went Hollywood" and ain't street no more.
"It's like I finally get the inside joke," said Meth, on a recent break during the tail end of a Wu-Tang Clan tour. "You know, people weren't laughing with me, they were laughing at me."
Splashing fuel into his fiery inferno of frustrations, 2006 has simply not treated him well. Earlier in the year, several pieces of his jewelry, along with his Mercedes Benz, were stolen. (As for the latter, a friend had helped Meth sell the car, and then pocketed the money.) His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer—which she has since beat into remission—and radio host Wendy Williams revealed it on air, when even friends and family of the couple didn't know.
"I've been better," says Meth understatedly.
So perhaps if this were another year, the unfair criticism would have gone over a little better. But no, this is 2006, it sucks, and he is pissed. Rather than bludgeoning writers in a massacre of massive proportions, however, Meth has taken a more responsible and hemorrhage-free approach to unleashing his wrath. For roughly eight months out of the past year, he has been crafting his latest album, 4:21 … The Day After, which dropped August 29. The 20-track disc is littered with angry references to every critic who's ever had anything bad to say about the M-E-T-H-O-D Man, culminating in the surprisingly calm "Say."
He spits: "The last album, [they] wasn't feelin' my style/This time my foot up in they ass, bet they feelin' me now/'Cause Tical, he put his heart in every track he do/But somehow, you find some way to give a wack review/It ain't all good, they writing that I'm Hollywood/Trying to tell you my shit ain't ghetto and they hardly hood/Come on man, until you dudes can rhyme, keep that in mind when you find yourself reciting mines…."
Meth's label, Def Jam, has released the song—which samples Lauryn Hill's rendition of "So Much Things to Say"—as the album's first single, but it is receiving mixed reactions from radio, possibly because the first verse shits all over radio (i.e. "Radio is the same, whole lotta speculatin'/These muthafuckas defecatin' on the name Wu-Tang/ if this is where the hip-hop is/Radio lyin' then, that ain't where hip-hop live…."
Other standout tracks include the nameless intro, the grimy "Presidential M.C." featuring Raekwon and the RZA, "The Glide," "Got to Have It" and "Somebody Done Fucked Up Now." Guest appearances include Ol' Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, Redman, the RZA, Ginuwine and Fat Joe, while beatsmiths like the RZA, Erick Sermon, Scott Storch and Havoc are among those listed in the production credits.
So far, the response has been generally positive. It seems that many who weren't feeling his last effort, 2004's Tical 0: The Prequel, are having their interest in Meth rekindled.
"It's my best work," says Meth. "But I think the label needs to push me a little better, at least according to the people."
Last February, the Ticallion Stallion reunited with the Clan for an Ol' Dirty Bastard tribute tour, their first tour together in almost a decade. Recently, they came together again, for a 17-date tour that spanned the month of August.
"I like to tour with the whole crew," says Meth. "It's less work."
He also has a number of projects lined up for the near future: Blackout! 2, with Redman; How High 2, which is currently being written; and HBO's The Wire, for which he will reprise his role as Cheese for a third season. And, presumably, there will be further promotion of 4:21 … The Day After.
"I hate most [critics] and shit, but you know, I take notes," says Meth during a brief intermission from intense loathing. "You have to learn where to find where the real criticism's at inside the critics. I utilize those and I build in certain areas. You know, like if you're in the gym and the trainer tells you, you know, ‘You need to work on your chest a little more.' I basically went up in the studio and worked on where my fans felt I was lacking at."
But for the obnoxious, meat-head critics who snort Creatine and punch nerds because they can, Meth has a method of torture updated from the asshole stitching of years past.
"Leave 'em stranded on a desert island with nothing but a jar of mayonnaise and some bread," he snarls in his signature gravelly voice. "That's nasty. Once they eat up that mayonnaise, you can forget about it."