Having a pure appreciation and respect for one’s craft is often the catalyst for sustained greatness, as the hours spent toiling away with hopes of achieving perfection is perceived as a pastime rather than labor. Such is the case for veteran rap star Method Man, who continues to be enamored with the finer points of emceeing, ever eager to put on a masterclass of lyricism.
Not even the success from Meth’s continued rise as a bonafide film and television star has tempered his love for the game, which is palpable anytime you hear the 51-year-old attack and toy with any given beat that’s in his circumference. This has never been clearer than on the third installment in his Meth Lab Season series, as the Shaolin rep reminds listeners that he’s still one of the best at verbally putting foot to a** throughout the 12 tracks on the album. Dubbed The Rehab, the record, which is Meth’s first in more than three years, finds him sharpening his sword while jousting with an array of guest stars.
Coming out of the gate strong on the album opener, “Stop Crying,” Meth wastes no time compiling quotables, as he rhymes, “Damn, Feds done raided the Meth Lab/ I’m Tom Selleck, them boys hating on Meth stash.” He also quips about him still spending funds accrued from his role as Melvin “Cheese” Wagstaff in the popular HBO drama The Wire. Wu member Cappadonna and vocalist Elaine Krista bolster the introductory cut with solid contributions of their own. The collaborative energy is carried onto the Rj Payne-assisted “Butterfly Effect,” a single which surfaced during the rollout of Meth Lab Season 3. Method Man more than holds up his end of the bargain. However, his Philly-bred counterpart performs admirably, surgically attacking the murky backdrop and accounting for one of the more riveting guest spots of the year thus far.
More than capable of carrying a track by the means of his own devices, Method Man does just that on the bruising standout “Guillotine,” a salvo that finds him manhandling a soundscape crafted by Rockwilder. The lone solo record from Meth on The Rehab, the track brings to mind a vintage Wu-Tang offering and finds Meth fully locked into his zone, volleying clever couplets atop the frantic backdrop.
Linking up with Redman, Krs-One, and JoJo Pellegrino on “Live from the Meth Lab” and Jadakiss, Eddie I, and 5th PXWER for “Switch Sides,” Meth sprinkles some posse cuts mid-way through The Rehab. This sets the stage for a respectable latter half of the album, filled with its fair share of highlights. 5th PXWER reappears on “Act Up,” while battle rap stalwart Cortez trades bars with Tical on the intense “Training Day.” Yet, the fireworks hit a slight lull on “King of New York,” which suffers from a plodding beat and redundant hook, resulting in one of the project’s few lowlights.
iNTeLL joins Meth and Iron Mic on “Find God,” while the latter two reconnect on “Last 2 Minutes,” a pair of selections that showcase their collaborative chemistry. On the close-out cut, “K.A.S.E.,” named after his deceased friend Ernest Sayon, who passed away in 1994 at the hands of the NYPD, Meth convenes with Hanz On and Carlton Fisk for a blistering composition that ends the proceedings on a high note.
One knock on Meth during the earlier portion of his career that had nothing to do with his ability was his susceptibility to failing to finish as strong as his otherworldly skills could otherwise allow him to. However, such aspersions don’t apply to Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab, as Method Man puts together one of the stronger and more cohesive bodies of work in his catalog. Youth may be wasted on the young, but Method Man continues to make use of his talent well into his later years, as Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab finds him as invigorated and engaged as he’s ever been.
Listen to Method Man’s Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab album below.