If you could party with anyone in hip-hop, who would it be? Poppin bottles with Diddy in...
DJBooth Album Review
America’s been inhaling Meth and Red’s energetic brand of hip-hop since 1999, when they released their joint debut Blackout!. In the decade that’s followed they’ve done numerous solo and group projects, released an immensely inappropriate and hilarious movie aptly-titled How High, and borrowed money from me to eat at a Domino’s outside of Boston (that’s a story for another time). Now the chronically dope duo is back with Blackout! 2, a simultaneously gutter and sky-high album that will have hip-hop heads everywhere putting one in the air.
Any party with Meth and Red would have to start with A Yo, Blackout! 2’s soul-based lead single. A Yo is a worthy re-introduction to the pair’s frenetic ways, from Red’s unapologetically dirty verses to Method rhyming in his trademarked relaxed mode. More than anything, A Yo’s a reminder that while people may never take Redman seriously because of his borderline-insane style (and fantastically insane appearance on Cribs), he’s one of the best in the game when he’s on point. Similarly laid back is Mrs. International, the closest thing to a for-the-ladies track that we’re going to get. On the real, Mrs. International is a little boring, a description I never thought I’d apply to a Meth and Red song. International’s not great, it’s not bad, it just, is. Much better is Hey Zulu, a cut that brings in every production trick in the book, from a chopped vocal sample to an auto-tuned chorus, but the pair embed the track with enough style and creativity to make it come to life. It’s hard to see Blackout! 2 spawning any huge singles, but it’s got more than enough to spark the party, and spark something else.
All those feel good tracks are fine, but I prefer my Meth and Red a little more destructive. That’s why I love Errbody Scream, a quickly-paced track that, well, I think the chorus explains it all: “When we in the house, s**t get retarded.” Exactly. Even better is the cinematic 4 Minutes to Lock Down, a track featuring Meth’s other family members, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. It’s hard to imagine a better line-up than this for a true East coast street anthem, and 4 Minutes delivers (especially, as always, Ghostface). By contrast the bouncing City Lights bangs, but only half as hard. While Meth and Red certainly do the damn thing, the track’s slowly marching production gives Bun B home field advantage. City Lights is a hell of a song, but it sounds more like a Bun cut featuring Meth and Red than the other way around, and getting upstaged on your own album is never a good thing. (Side note: at the end of City Lights our very own DJ Z gets a shout out...kind of...ok, not really, but still).
The past decade has inevitably matured the mischievous Meth and Red, making Blackout! 2 a more well-rounded but slightly less compelling album than the original. Ultimately that means that while Blackout! 2 won’t go down in hip-hop history like its predecessor, for fans who’ve waited years for more criminally-minded rap from the duo, it more than delivers. Even after all these years, when it comes to weed-smoking, skull-stomping hip-hop no one does it better. And if I was one of those kids with cancer who got to make one wish, I think I’d wish to spend just one night partying with Meth and Red. Now that would really be inspirational.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on May 18, 2009
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