Thursday, 10 April 2008

Method Man - Tical

When the Wu-Tang Clan signed their first recording contract for 36 Chambers in 1993 they made sure it covered the respective members as solo artists. This exemplifies the Clan's business-like approach and the creation of hip-hop's first franchise and dynasty...

This is real beats and bars, every verse saturated with the Clan's personal mythology; every beat, sample or malevolent instrumental touch riveted with Shaolin (Staten Island) and Brooklyn street corners. The heat bearing down, ever-vigilant, murky undergrounds, darkness begets dark deeds... All this permeated with the Clan manifesto - master yourself and enlighten the '85%' in darkness.

So, here is a whistle-stop tour of the Wu-Tang member solo albums that myself and generations of popstock believe to be essential mid-era hip-hop, in six parts. I will only be looking at the the first, universally acclaimed, slew of Wu albums unleashed on the industry; all pre-'Forever' (the Clan's 1997 sophomore double LP).

Turn it up and take heed.

Method Man - Tical (1994)

The first Wu solo album. The title? Let's say that 'tical' is to Meth as chronic is to Dre...
RZA is on the switches of course, steering Meth (the Clan's dynamic, versatile, substance-fuelled MC) through a dark and gritty soundscape that was responsible for kicking the Wu into commercial overdrive.
We're still in early Wu-Tang mode here, with 'Bring the Pain' being a classic example of the quickfire sampling and minimal beats; RZA still using relatively basic samplers and mixers to poisonous effect.

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