On First Listen: Tical

tical

Coming to hip hop post Wu-Tang’s prime, it’s taken me a while to get around to listening to all of their solo releases. The first solo member I ever really dedicated time to was GZA. At the time, I was convinced that he was the pinnacle of hip hop lyricism. I later moved on to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Masta Killa, Ghostface, Raekwon, and RZA, in about that order. And finally, maybe spurned on by watching The Wire nonstop–I even had dreams last night about being in The Wire, which was odd–I’ve finally gotten around to listening to some Method Man solo joints, beginning with his debut Tical.

It will come as no shock to Method or Wu-Tang fans, but this record is astonishing. A record that fully showcases Method Man’s saliva laden flows, this record benefits from being the first solo Wu-Tang record, thus receiving the full RZA production treatment. The beats on this record, while fully in the lexicon of Wu-Tang beats are arguably the most consistent collection aside from Enter the Wu (36 Chambers). One of the most interesting things about this record is the noticable lack of Wu-Tang guest spots. There’s the nonstop flows of “Meth vs. Chef” and a few Wu emcees on “Mr. Sandman”, but aside from those two tracks, the other guest spots are from various artists. This distinct separation makes this record interesting in that aesthetically, it clearly fits into the Wu-Tang catalog (RZA’s production is undeniable), but it seems separated from other releases where Wu members are more prominent. Though without looking back through the other solo Wu releases, this is mostly an off-the-cuff comment that may be completely wrong.

But being Method Man’s most prolific and critically acclaimed release, Tical is undeniably the peak of Method’s career–sad to say as it came right on the heels of the Wu’s breakout release and the other records in the Tical series seem to be unremarkable at best.

Method Man – “Bring the Pain”

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