Method Man - Tical - Review
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critics' view

After the success of 36 Chambers, it was obvious that Method Man had the most mass appeal. I guess you could say he became the closest Wu have to a pop rapper, especially between 1998 and 2004ish, although now his style has reverted back to his classic underground style. "Tical" is Meth's greatest solo album by far, and it kicked off the whole RZA producing a whole solo chapter of the Wu Tang saga that was part of the greatest run of albums perhaps ever. Of the 7 albums the Wu dropped between 1993 and 1997, I do have to say that "Tical" is the weakest, but by weakest I just mean it's not an all out masterpiece like the others.

The main reason is, RZA being the mastermind behind this album, it seems surprisingly less confident than the two albums sandwiched between it (36 Chambers and Return to 36 Chambers). For instance a couple of the songs "Meth Vs Chef" and "Mr Sandman" were admittedly outtakes from the 36 Chambers sessions, and the album is significantly more minimalist, simplistic and shorter than say Liquid Swords or the epic Cuban Linx. But even with these seemingly negative criticisms I've thrown at it, "Tical" is still a hugely enjoyable album. It just comes short of 36 Chambers, and doesn't hold the same innovation as the 95 albums really. It's still a fuckin mid 90s Wu album, which is unmissable.

But there are some huge strengths here. Method Man holds down the show with his genius voice and rhyming flow, you get even more Meth than on 36 Chambers which is definitely a good thing, and lets face it his presence on the mic is just cool as fuck. RZA unleashes his darkest beats of his entire career. Most of the samples are damn right eerie and sinister, with minimalist bleeps and discordant piano loops over the top. The closest the album gets to accessible is "All I Need" only because it rehashes such a familar soul sample, and "Release Yo Delf", but this is still some seriously dark and foreboding stuff. The best traks are "Meth Vs Chef" which is the definition of battle rapping, and Meth and Rae just go no holds barred insane on the mic. The title track and "Sub Crazy" are great off kilter hip hop tracks that sound like nothing else in the Wu library, and pass the mic "Mr Sandman" is the Clan track which has the closest 36 Chambers feel, whilst introducing the ever expanding Wu Affiliates that were only hinted at in a shout out on "Clan In Da Front".

"Tical" just works and is hugely enjoyable and replayable. It's short and to the point Illmatic length and structure works in it's favour. The album may not be as eclectic and innovative as Liquid Swords or Cuban Linx, but for what it is it is an extremely solid DJ and MC collab where RZA keeps up his extreme consistancy as the producer that everyone else in Hip Hop was now trying to match, and Method Man is just too cool not to love on the mic. The album is only overshadowed by just how much better and improved the other 93-97 Wu Saga albums are, compared to other 94 Hip Hop albums this is a bonafide classic.

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