The man who once rapped "Bring the Pain" is feeling bruised.
"Over the past three years, I ain't heard, seen or read nothing good about myself," an enraged Method Man told MTV News recently. "And I don't f--- with nobody, man. You could ask people about me. I'm a very humble dude. I don't think I deserve that. It's not coming from the fans in the street — it's starting to now, because they believe what they read — it's coming from the industry people that are trying to push my black ass out. I'm not going, though. I think the game needs me, 'cause a lot of y'all can't even perform, let alone rhyme."
Meth, whose 4:21 ... The Day After was released Tuesday (August 29), has been facing harsh words since the release of 2004's Tical O: The Prequel, a critical and commercial disappointment despite an impressive lists of collaborators (see "Missy, P. Diddy, Snoop, Busta Join Method Man On New LP").
"It wasn't like I was trying to please a mass audience or anything like that," Meth said in his defense. "I was just doing it basically for myself. And what's so crazy about that sh-- is, they want artists to grow. Well a part of growth is change. You can't be afraid to try new sh--, and that's what I did. I went in with Puff Daddy — so to speak, 'cause he was barely there ... but I got a lot of love for Puff — but it was like the formulas didn't mix. The fans didn't want to hear me like that. I went from dark to light. I don't understand that, but people looking from the outside in, they see things different. So I take notes and I move on."
Method Man, who said he recorded 20 tracks with RZA for Tical O only to have Def Jam shelve all but one, said he was pressured into working with Diddy (see "Method Man Drops Diddy, Seeks Clarity On New LP, 4:21 ... The Day After").
"I wanted to get my album out, honestly," Meth said. "I'mma take full blame for everything. I'm not giving no excuse, I'm just giving y'all the story. I want to get an album out, so if they wanted me to work with the pope at that point in time, I would've worked with the pope just to get my mother----in' album out. 'Cause Def Jam was going through their transition, people were leaving in the middle of the project and all that."
On his new album, Meth is "back to the gritty sh--" and back with RZA on several tracks (see "RZA Happy To Once Again Be The Peanut Butter To Method Man's Jelly"). Erick Sermon, Kwame and Mr. Porter (D12's Kon Artist) also contributed tracks, and Fat Joe, Redman and most of the Wu-Tang Clan make appearances.
"I got a posthumous Ol' Dirty Bastard joint, so it's a tight album," Meth said. "Everything these people got mad at me [for not having] on the last album is all on this album right here, man."
That's not to say the album's come without controversy. For one, the rapper and Def Jam have had words over the first single, "Say," which samples Lauryn Hill.
"All I said was, and y'all can quote me on this, when I was in a radio station I said, 'All right, it's a dope song, but I think it would be a dope second single for Method Man, not a first one,' because when Meth come out the gates, I come running," the rapper explained. "I figured, 'OK, this is a different angle. I'mma ride with these dudes, whatever.' And then it gets back to the label that Method Man don't like his own single. Never came out my mouth, not once, but people get it twisted."
"Say," a response to Meth's critics, has also taken heat over the song's lyrics.
"Certain radio stations didn't want to play it, because they got offended by a line in the song: 'Radio lyin', that ain't where hip-hop lives,' " Meth said. "Now if I can explain that line right there. Hip-hop starts where? In the street, and that's what I said after that line. ... Anybody that takes offense to that line, it pertains to them, bottom line. And I said that 'cause I'm just offended."
A video for "Say" was delayed after Method Man "wasn't too happy with the treatment" (surprise!), but it should be arriving soon.