Saturday, 24 May 2003

Album Review: Tical 2000

Time hasn’t been particularly kind to Method Man’s sophomore effort. Recorded in 1998 during the pinnacle of the Millennium Bug end of the word hype, much of the album is now pretty redundant. The Intro, for example, now just sounds embarrassing. We were nowhere near to the apocalypse and Meth’s predictions seem a more than a little off-kilter.

It was Meth’s ability to mix wit with menace that made Tical special. Here, he tries in vain to find the same balance. The joker in Meth makes an appearance ten seconds into the first track as he parodies Sly Stallone’s Rocky, by yelling “Adriannnnn” – it’s pretty funny, but totally out of place. Elsewhere, the Chris Rock skit, You Play Too Much is admittedly hilarious.

Where his contemporaries Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Gza each give their own spin on criminal life, Meth meekly treads over ground he already covered in his debut. “Brain is punctured and drained through the nasal," he drawls on Spazzola in a nod to the intro to his anthem, Method Man. There are a couple of instances he just recycles verses from earlier releases, most notably on the sterile Killin Fields.

Perhaps predictably the production is uninspired. 4th Disciple, True Master, Inspectah Deck and the Rza each fail to set the album alight. Surprisingly, Eric Sermon’s contribution Step By Step is no better. Given the talent behind the production desk, it seems odd that Method Man would produce the best track himself, Judgement Day is the focal point, and indeed the most dazzling track on the LP. The production successfully straddles the line between cinematic and being a decent head-nodding track, but it is proceeded by 50 seconds worth of nonsense and one of the verses is recycled from Method Man’s collaboration with Texas. The fact that it is the best track is a pretty damning indictment of the overall quality. The only other track worth noting is Break Ups 2 Make Ups, D’Angelo is as silver-tongued as ever and he and Method Man make a respectable pairing.

Overall, it’s just not good enough and there are several criticisms to level at Tical 2000. Frankly twenty-eight tracks is far too many; eleven of them are skits, which itself ridiculous. The very notion that Meth has included as many skits as most artists have tracks is crazy. Those Wu fans that remain blind to the Wu’s least inspired albums will no doubt lap this up. But anyone more discerning should consider the meagre praise contained in this review as pretty generous.

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