Method Man: What's in a Name?

Submitted by notoriousclassics on Tue, 03/02/2021 - 22:36
Method Man performing at Coachella in 2013

Even a 10-man posse like Wu-Tang Clan needs some breakout stars. While everyone has a favorite - from the late Ol' Dirty Bastard's anything-goes flow and RZA's killer production to the dexterous rhymes of Raekwon - one of the group's first breakout stars was immortalized from their first album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

That honor goes to Clifford Smith, Jr., better known to the world as Method Man. Taking his name from a 1979 martial arts film of the same name, Meth broke out on the group's second single, the aptly-titled "Method Man" - a solo showcase for his quick-fire rhymes and catchy cultural references, from candy to cartoons.

Wu-Tang helped make hip-hop history thanks to a unique deal that let its members cut solo deals for labels other than the Clan's homebase of Loud Records. Meth's Tical was the first of the Wu-Tang solo invasion to drop, reaching No. 4 on the pop charts and topping Billboard's hip-hop survey. It also featured a thug love classic, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," a Top 5 hit duet with Mary J. Blige.

Meth also made music and movies with longtime friend Redman of the group Def Squad. Their first formal collaboration together, Blackout!, was another million seller; they followed it up with a cult classic film, How High, about a stoner duo who somehow manage to enroll at Harvard University.