Side Note

Listen to more Method Man

Yesterday was 4/20, the official/unofficial holiday for ingesting marijuana, which also means it’s the day where a bunch of people smoke weed while listening to music, because that is what people who smoke weed do. There are myriad records of every genre that serve as a great smoking soundtrack. In fact, according to an informal survey of musical history I just conducted, the only musician who has never made a stoner-friendly album is Wagner. But there is only one album that is perfect for 4/21, the day after 4/20. That album is Method Man’s 4:21… The Day After.

There’s not too much about 4:21… The Day After that seems actually tailored for a day-after-the-weed-smoking-day listen — there’s a song on the record that’s called “4:20” — but it is the best Method Man solo album besides Tical. By the record’s 2006 release, Method Man was in the weird place in his career. He’d been a rap star for over a decade — the Wu-Tang MC had won a Grammy, scored Platinum albums both by himself and with Redman, and enjoyed the distinction of having made songs with both Tupac and Biggie before their deaths — but at some point, hip-hop fans had unfairly written him off.

Maybe it was the fact that his previous album Tical 0: The Prequel was kind of a mess. Maybe it was the fact that he and Redman had recently starred in the stoner comedy How High, an absolutely insane movie in which Meth and Red smoke a bag of magic weed and get into Harvard (incredibly it was directed by Bob Dylan’s son Jesse which was panned upon its release. Maybe it was more general than that, and much like Snoop Dogg, Meth had leaned all the way into his stoner persona and the public had forgotten that Meth could rap his ass off. “You feel like you’re not in on the joke, and everyone’s laughing at you,” he said in an interview leading up to the album’s release. “I felt like no one was taking me seriously. I got real angry and I just starting writing.”

4:21… The Day After is not a stoner record. It’s caustic in some parts (“Intro”; “Y’Meen”; and, ironically, “4:20”), and vintage Wu-Tang griminess in others (“Dirty Mef”; “Presidential MC”; “Everything”). On many songs, Meth raps like he’s trying to remind listeners he’s still a great rapper (“Is It Me”; “Got to Have It”), and if history has proven anything, subjecting oneself to extremely hard rapping is not necessarily conducive to being high. It’s overly long and contains more than a few duds, but it’s the exact sort of rap album that’s so good that you should listen to it at least once a year — so, you might as well listen to it on the day it’s named after.