Even their first full-length collaboration in 1999 didn't quite live up to the ridiculously high bar set by that initial single -- which even they seemed to acknowledge by using it as a bonus track on Blackout four years later. (However, some would say they came closest for a choice 2 minutes and 16 seconds on that album, the running time for "Da Rockwilder.")
At first listen the sequel's impression is underwhelming. But before long it becomes clear that while it may be understated, it is undeniably solid.
Early on, Redman opines that "hip-hop is lame, the whole game is lacking." And from that point on the self-proclaimed "new Tango and Cash" do their best to raise it up -- and at no point have to navigate a Jack Palance-built maze.
But that doesn't mean the album is without misdirection. A gritty opener sets the tone, followed by "Ay-Yo," the Pete Rock-produced first single that slows it down and restores the party vibe. Then they immediately pick up the pace and remind you of their "Dangerous Emcees" status.
The next track does it all in one. Keith Murray joins the duo for a seemingly speedy "Errbody Scream" -- until the hook hits and it feels like the batteries are running out on the listening device of your choice.
"Hey Zulu" gives the franchise its first taste of auto-tune (it returns later in "I Know Sumptn") but thankfully it's not the top-billed stars providing the vocals, making it a tolerable addition rather than distraction.
"City Lights" featuring Bun B feels out of place, but in a good way. It's like jumping into the middle of a UGK album with Meth and Red as the guests, rather than the other way around.
"Father's Day," "Mrs. International" and "Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers" -- a sequel in its own right to the song we've already mentioned too many times in this review -- hold down the middle of this album like a pair of Spanx.
Oddly, a skit called "Lockdown" precedes a full-length track featuring Ghostface Killah and Raekwon called "Four Minutes to Lockdown." No matter, the album finishes strong with "Neva Herd Dis B4," the aforementioned "I Know Sumptn" and especially "A Lil Bit," with its constant scratching in the background.
All in all this might be the best Method Man and Redman have had to offer since "How High" (the single), even edging the first Blackout ever so slightly. Or maybe its just refreshing to hear such a strong offering 10 years later. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
-- Mason Storm
More reviews from The 411 Online
METHOD MAN & REDMAN, Blackout