The Underrated: Method Man's Tical

By @CherchezLaPorsh

1. Tical
2. Biscuits
3. Bring the Pain
4. All I Need
5. What the Blood Clot
6. Mef vs. Chef 2
7. Sub Crazy
8. Release Yo' Delf
9. P.L.O. Style
10. I Get My Thang in Action
11. Mr. Sandman
12. Stimulation
13. Method Man (remix)

Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Wu-Tang and everything about them. I remember when the “36 Chambers” dropped, I went right out and bought it! It was the first exposure I had to rap music. I guess it was their unique styles and experiences, fantastic delivery of lyrics, the way each member complimented each other that made me a fan. "Protect Ya Neck" would be one of the first rap songs I heard and learned the words to. It just so happened that Method Man’s verse on that song was easiest for me to rap along with, so naturally he became my favorite Wu member and my favorite rapper for quite some time, and he never disappointed.

In 1994, RZA would make one of the best decisions ever as a producer and creator of the Wu, as he would release member solo albums and start with Meth. In November 1994, with the genius production sounds and samples from Rza, the hip hop world was blessed with the “Tical” album. Considering Method Man had very few featured MCs on this album, he really executed this project well. He brought to this album his signature voice, smooth flow, wordiness and wit. It’s expected from one of the best rappers of the time which brings me to my favorite part. Let's look at the album and its tracklist.

The album opens with the title song “Tical” and in true “Wu-Form” with the sound of what reminds me of “war time” trumpets quickly followed by dialogue from the films “Master Killer” and “Ten Tigers from Kwangtung” (amongst a couple others). The snippets of martial arts is always appreciated and expected as the Clan's trademark.

From the very first verse, or rather the very first line to the end of the song, we hear almost immediately Meth’s creative rhyming on top of clever word play(read this one out loud, you’ll know what I mean).

"Check it, I got styles, all of em sick/
Niggas ain't fit to walk a mile in the dead man's kicks/
I make em shit about a pile, of bricks to show/
He ain't nuttin but another, a lone John Doe.../

"Move that, niggaz came strapped, shoulda knew that/
Do dat, pussy cat rap, boy, I'll screw that/
To' up, from the flo up, don't even show up/
To the battle, I heard you rattle, now hold up/"

This is so dope. What this song doesn’t have is a great chorus, or even a catchy one at that, but we don’t need it here. Method Man’s lyrics and ability are such that you almost never even notice a lackluster chorus if there is one.

“Biscuits” follows and here we have the familiar Wu type beats again, but the way this song starts off is interesting to me. There’s no actual repeated chorus in this song, so you really get an intro, a verse, almost a continuation of the intro (I don’t know what I would call that) and then another verse and then an outro. The set up of this song is  story like and since I never really see much of that with Meth, I appreciate it. The brilliant thing here is that the intro and the "between verse" part works like a glue in the whole song, its kind of hard to explain.

Here’s the snippet between the verses:

"And you can even ask your crew/
Betcha bottom dollar that they tell ya fast/
Meth-Tical got STYLE with his nasty ass/"

My favorite thing about this track though is the second verse around the midway point. His delivery is great, and his ability to rhyme words that don’t seem like they would rhyme well together on paper is great.

"Hey I'm Mo' Better/
I'm hopin niggaz get the point
Cause they could never/
Stop the veteran/
word to God, When I'm severin’/ the head of a mental vegetarian.../"

"Veteran", "severing", and "vegetarian" all in one sequence. Well done! Two tracks in and I’m already wondering how this could get any better and sure enough it does. As the first single off the album, “Bring the Pain” was received quite well by the majority of fans. This is my third favorite track on this album and with good reason. This starts out of nowhere right into the first verse and a very fun one at that. The chorus showcases Meth's word play again with the intense amount of repetition and it's catchy. I also love the change of tone with the reggae interlude. That was a perfect style variation and such a complimentary sound to his rapping. I know some people critique Meth for lack of imagery, but that’s really all I see here. Incorporating the mechanical sounds, the screams and all the busy background noise just creates image after image, albeit a bit “off the wall” and intense, but vivid nevertheless. Here, let me point out a few.

“let’s go inside my astral plane find out my mental’s based on instrumental” 

“How deep can shit get? Deep as the abyss” 

“And I’m from the dark side of the Force”

“Me gwanna lick out dem brains”

“The only way to hang is by the neck...”

He seemed to have "painted it" well. If “Bring the Pain” didn’t have you hooked, not to worry, you get “All I Need” right after. This is my absolute favorite song on the album. This would be remixed a year later in an attempt to further promote the album. This decision worked very well and in everyone’s favor because it did very well commercially, I just wish they did it so we had both versions on one album.  First off, I love the lyrics. They are incredibly sweet in a "rough around the edges" kind of way. “You’re all that I need, I’ll be there for you, if you keep it real with me I keep it real with you, loving your whole steez....” REALLY?!?!?! This makes my heart melt! It’s Meth, being about as sappy as you’re gonna get from him, so I’ll take it and he lays out his feelings honestly while staying true to his raw style. This makes the song believable and definitely allows the listener to connect. This track has as much affection as one could need “It be true, me for you thats how it is you can be my Noah I can be your Wiz....I can be your sun, you can be my earth”...again...really?!?! This makes me fall in love with Meth all over again. He catered heavily to the female audience with this one and definitely won the hearts of the ladies. Brilliantly played.

Right after the reassurance of love and affection, Meth puts all that aside and includes "What The Blood Clot" and "Meth vs. Chef", also great tracks. I think they showcase all of Meth's capabilities in different ways rather than anything deep. "What the Blood Clot" is one continuous verse which shows vocal endurance maybe, but definitely highlights his ability to flow comfortably, confidently and effortlessly. The lyrics aren't anything of depth but I think a track like this is needed on a solo joint coming out of a 9 member group. It reaffirms the fact that he can shine without the support of anyone else. "Meth vs. Chef" is dope because this is battle rap between 2 very very talented and strong lyricists. Regardless of who "killed" it on the track, it's quite enjoyable and having Rae on this was a great addition. This back and forth is great and a notable highlight for sure.

Let's skip a couple tracks and get to my second favorite on the album, "Release Yo Delf". This was the follow up single to "Bring the Pain", but didn't do quite as well. It actually it BARELY made Billboard's Top 100. I can't understand why to be honest, as I can't say enough good things about it. This song features Blue Raspberry. Her part was like a new take on Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". I loved her voice the second I heard it. Goodness, she has an INCREDIBLE presence on this track. Her voice is absolutely flawless and the a cappella to start was PERFECT to showcase it. She has immense vocal strength and as soon as the beat drops, her voice against the blaring trumpet sound is fantastic. She is absolutely incredible and RZA was a genius for throwing her on this track. As soon as the backbeat and Method Man's rapping comes in one after another, it's almost dizzying. It just unravels so fast. The tempo is heightened compared to any other track on this album so there's a massive amount of energy that carries through to the listener. The lyrics here are enjoyable, they flow well and Blue Raspberry on the chorus/hook is amazing because we get more of her throughout. Honestly, I always thought Blue Raspberry was the Wu's best kept secret, but most under-utilized talent.

"Tical" gives us another five tracks on this album for a total of 13 tracks. A short and sweet album. The remaining songs follow suit in that they all showcase Method Man's lyrical strength, wit and wordplay all done in true RZA/36 Chambers form. The album closes out with the "Method Man (remix)" and this is THE ONLY negative thing I'll say... it wasn't as good as the original on "36 Chambers". Matter of fact, I almost wish it wasn't included. I think the reason it was though is because the original was so well received, but this remix didn't even come close to being as good even though lyrical snippets of the original were used, it just wasn't executed as well.

All in all on a scale of "wack" to "definite classic", Tical was great without question. I think conceptually it was flawless and with Method Man being the first Wu member to drop a solo, the majority of the tracklist, the features, the samples, the infusion of Wu-Tang flavor all couldn't have been better. I have heard that some critics say Meth is one dimensional, but I don't agree as he gave us varying tracks of high energy, heartfelt emotion, rugged accounts of street life in Staten Island all with a raw delivery. I think there is nothing one dimensional about it. This album is definitely replayable and really only has a few skippable tracks, so although I would not label it a classic, a couple tracks can be considered as such, so to me he knocked it out of the park. M-E-T-H-O-D MAN!



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