Method Man – Tical

Method Man.  The most charismatic and possibly most well known member of the Wu Tang Clan, dropped the first solo album of the group after their monumental debut as rap’s first supergroup.  It remains one of the most essential recordings in Wu – and the genre in general – history.

Fuck yes.  Firmly lodged in the holy triptych of Wu legend, between Enter the 36 Chambers and Liquid Swords, Tical is a timeless slice of hip hop tastiness, as fresh now as the day it dropped 16 years ago.  16 years ago, to think of it, is a long way back for any album, much less one in the constantly evolving (or revolving, depending on your take) hip hop universe, to hold relevancy.  But it’s true, through and through.  Put this on right next to whatever your friends have been digging lately and watch as nothing happens:  no jarring shift to ‘old school’ sound, no ratcheting back of production intricacy, and certainly no stale whiff surrounding Meth’s iconic vocal delivery.  Blunted is blunted, and this album defined it in 1994.  No update required, just inhale and enjoy.

If Liquid Swords was a jagged rusty blade flashing in the dead of winter, Tical is the bare-bulb-lit basement beneath a sticky summer night, full of smoke and apprehension.  Isolated, paranoid, incubating ideas for the outside world, it’s an environment unto itself, an album to truly be immersed in.  Coming up for air when the last track ends is understandable, but the stoned reverberations beckon again soon.  Spinning from the opening PBS library fanfare through dusty organ laments like All I Need and the exhuberant 70’s-action-flick horn laden highlight Release Yo’ Delf, there’s not a more consistent Wu release in existence.  Tical lays down a mood and explores every nook and cranny therein.  And hell, if you share my allergy to skits, there’s no more undiluted source of Wu mastery than this release – even my beloved Liquid Swords has the one “Tony Starks” intro (not that I mind it) and no matter how funny the ‘torture mothafuckas’ segment on 36 Chambers is, it breaks all sense of flow.  This piece is straight genius shot from a glock, the proverbial all killer, no filler work.  If you somehow haven’t become intimate in the intervening years, you owe it to yourself to dive in.  Lacking any better words of encouragement than the man himself, I leave you with his words:

Throw your hands in the sky

and wave ’em from side to side

and if you’re ready to spark up the Meth- Tical

let me hear you say STIM-U-LI!

…so yeah.

[pick this up virtually anywhere. amazon for instance.  or cduniverse]

Heaven and Earth Magic – Flying Lotus + Dr. Strangeloop

In my prior post sharing about Flying Lotus‘ recent appearance in Ann Arbor I mentioned the film Heaven and Earth Magic and shared a single image.  Now I’ve come to find, there are not only two video segments from the event shared online, but a good portion of the insightful and honestly funny interview with the guys afterward.  Basically the film is impossible to fully describe to the uninitiated.  So just catch a bit yourself.  This doesn’t convey the complete impact of the hourlong film and black-hole score in a dark theater, but it at least gives a glimpse to those who couldn’t make the show.  Here’s hoping, as Flylo himself hinted at, they release this piece in some form, so everyone can share in the magic.

Watching this now, I’m brought instantly back to the warm realization that Mr. Ellison is as personable, endearing and humble as imaginable in person.  That he has not only the chops but the charisma to be a star.  It’s exciting to witness this artist’s skyward trajectory.

Not only that, but Dr. Strangeloop proved a worthy foil and equally appealing force.  The man is quickly scaling my to-watch-for list.  The best part is that the show aftwards blew everything about this event to dust.  At least for a while.  It was a unique experience to take in two entirely different sides of an artist in one day.