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Clifford Smith (born March 1, 1971), better known by his stage name Method Man or Meth is an Americamarker hip hop artist, record producer, actor and member of the hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan. He took his stage name from the 1979 film The Fearless Young Boxer, also known as Method Man. He is one half of the rap duo Method Man & Redman. He won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" with Mary J. Blige.

He is also one of the few rappers to use their intake of breath as part of their flow, creating melodies while inhaling.

He appeared in the motion pictures Belly and How High as well as a minor role in The Wackness, and had a recurring role on the HBO television drama series The Wire as Calvin "Cheese" Wagstaff.

Biography

Method Man was a founding member of the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, has worked solo, with current collaborator Redman, and as a guest rapper on several projects. He has starred on hit singles and albums.

Method Man grew up as Clifford Smith, a youth who was shuttled between a delinquent father in Long Island and a mother on Staten Island, New York. Staten Island — dubbed "Shaolin" by the Clan — was where he met the men who would eventually become the Wu-Tang Clan. Smith grew up in the Park Hillmarker projects on the North Shore of Staten Island with his mother and two sisters, one younger, one older. At various times he has claimed to have dropped out of high school in the ninth and eleventh grades, and sold and experimented with drugs. "Reality smacked me in the face early. That's why I don't like to talk about my childhood".

Method Man currently lives on Staten Island. He is divorced and has two sons and two daughters.

Tical / Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

As Wu-Tang Clan ascended to hip hop stardom, Method Man was always one of the most visible members of the collective. He was one of only two members to get a solo song on the group's debut album Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and he was the first to release a solo album under the Clan's unusual contract which allowed its members to release albums under any record label (Method chose to sign with rap label Def Jam). Method Man's solo debut, Tical (1994) was critically acclaimed and well received, entering the American charts at #4 and eventually selling in excess of one million copies. He soon collaborated with Mary J. Blige and Redman for a series of hit singles, one of which (the Blige duet "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need") won a Grammy. He appeared on Tupac Shakur's album All Eyez on Me, on the song "Got My Mind Made Up". During this time Method Man also became close friends with the late great The Notorious B.I.G., and was the only guest rapper featured on his debut album Ready to Die. He was featured on a song on Showbiz and A.G.'s album Goodfellas.

Tical 2000: Judgement Day / Wu-Tang Forever

On June 3, 1997 the Wu-Tang Clan released their Grammy-nominated multiplatinum double CD Wu-Tang Forever, the long-awaited follow up to 36 Chambers. The album has sold over 8.3 million copies to date worldwide.

His second solo album was Tical 2000: Judgement Day, released in 1998, which was heavily influenced by the apocalypse theories surrounding the forthcoming end of the millennium, and which featured myriad guest appearances, from his fellow Wu-Tang MCs. The album was certified double platinum. Other guest appearances include Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, D'Angelo, Chris Rock, Mobb Deep, Redman, and brief cameos from Russell Simmons, Bishop Don "Magic" Juan, Janet Jackson, and Donald Trump. The album sold better than his first fueled by the party track "Judgment Day" and the D'Angelo collaboration "Break Ups 2 Make Ups", earning Platinum and Gold certifications in the U.S. and Canada respectively. Reviews for the album were mixed and its long runtime and abundance of intermittent comedy skits were widely criticized. Producers on this album included Tru Master and the RZA.

Blackout!

Method Man was part of the very successful Hard Knock Life Tour with Jay-Z, Redman, and DMX. During this tour, Method Man & Redman recorded Blackout!, a light-hearted, bass-heavy, profanity-laced, party record with an EPMD-evoking emphasis on funky beats and the mischievous wit and cool flows and good rhythm of the two MCs. The album reached platinum status quickly, both in the U.S. and Canada, fueled by "Da Rockwilder", "Cereal Killa", "1, 2, 1, 2", "Tear It Off" and "Y.O.U.". This album also featured three previously released tracks on which the two collaborated.

Their success would lead the duo on to star in movies and TV shows, become product spokespersons and household names, but also associated them with marijuana use in the media. The most immediate results of their success was their co-starring roles in the major motion picture film How High, their endorsement deal for Right Guard, Redman's starring role in Seed of Chucky and a short-lived sitcom on Fox Television entitled Method & Red.

The W / Iron Flag / Tical 0: The Prequel

The Wu-Tang Clan released The W on November 21, 2000 and Iron Flag on December 18, 2001. The W received both critical and commercial success for the group, while Iron Flag did receive some but not to the effect of The W. The efforts earned two more platinum plaques for the Wu-Tang Clan.

In 2004, Meth released his third solo album Tical 0: The Prequel, which featured the hit party single "What's Happenin'" with Busta Rhymes. Hip hop critics voiced their displeasure with the album, many agreeing that Tical 0 felt like generic party rap and featured too many mainstream guests, detracting from his own performances. Regardless, this album sold reasonably well and was certified gold record by the RIAA relatively quickly, but would not see the platinum success of his previous solo releases. There was trouble even before the album's release when Method apparently complained to the press about excessive interference from Def Jam over the album's beats (Meth supposedly desired more input from Wu-Tang leader RZA). On its release, many fans and critics were taken aback by its strong "mainstream" or "commercial" sound, highlighted by the guest appearances of pop-rap stars like Missy Elliott and P. Diddy, two artists that are involved with much different facets of rap music.

P. Diddy was one of the executive producers for the album, although Meth later voiced his displeasure with the final product. "On the third LP, it was suggested (by Def Jam) to bring in Harve Pierre and P. Diddy. Who am I to argue? Puff knows how to sell some records. But that wasn't the direction to go in, and I know that."

4:21... The Day After

Method Man's fourth album, entitled 4:21: The Day After was released in August 2006 with a star lineup of producers featuring Havoc, Erick Sermon, Scott Storch, Allah Mathematics, Mr. Porter, and, most importantly to Meth, RZA. This time around, a more focused Method Man went back to his hip hop roots and both hip hop fans and the media took notice. He did an interview on the ItsHipHop.Tv. Despite this being one of Meth's strongest solo efforts to date, the album failed to do well commercially due to it having no single or video, which Method Man has held discontent towards his own label for. However, he has been touring strongly all over the world to promote the album, and has appeared onstage with fellow Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck, as well as New York up and comers Saigon, and Gat Murdah. Meth contributed various reasons for the problems between him and his label, Def Jam. While puts most of the blame on personal agendas in the Def Jam offices, Meth did take some blame, himself, for giving into his record label.

In early May 2007 Method Man's camp leaked the street single "New York New York" which became a popular track on the internet.

Blackout! 2

On March 27, 2007 Redman confirmed on BET's Rap City: Tha Bassment that the sequel to How High, How High 2, is currently being written.

In an April 10, 2007 Onion AV Club interview , Redman hinted that there would be a second collaborative album with Method Man, with work beginning in midsummer or early September.

In early 2008, a remake of the Smoothe da Hustler and Trigger tha Gambler classic Broken Language was released to the internet by the duo entitled Broken Language 2008, fueling rumors of a Blackout! sequel coming soon. This rumor was further fueled by the duo while performing in Gainesville, Floridamarker at the University of Floridamarker. A Blackout! 2 LP was scheduled for a December 9, 2008 release but was recently pushed back to the first quarter of 2009, with a new release date on May 19. Bun B has confirmed that he will guest star on Blackout! 2 - in April 2009, a single has been released named City Lights, produced by Nasty Kutt Also producers such as Erick Sermon, Rockwilder and Pete Rock have announced their presence on the album.

The duo is finished their Still High tour with Termanalogy, the Alchemist, and Evidence of Dilated Peoples.

Personal life

Method Man was married in 1996. He is now divorced and has two sons and two daughters. He resides in Staten Island, NY, Los Angeles, CA, and Trenton, NJ.

Controversies

Wu-Tang management

In 2003, Method Man criticized Oli "Power" Grant and Mitchell "Divine" Diggs, the managers of the Wu-Tang business. "Number 1 on my shit list right now is Divine from Wu-Tang management. He took something major from me that he had no intention of giving back." Divine is multiplatinum record producer RZA's brother who along with Oli "Power" Grant took over the business end of Wu-Tang around 1997.

Aside from the financial issues, Method Man was unhappy with the decision to bring Wu-Tang into the fashion world for a brief period of time with Wu-Wear, despite the brand being a major money-maker for the group. "When Wu-Wear started making shoes and sneakers and pants, it was shoddy material. I never rocked that shit."

Wendy Williams

In 2006 Method Man had a highly personal and highly publicized conflict with TV talk show host Wendy Williams on The Breakdown, an internet show on ONLOQ.com. Williams talked on air about Method Man's wife having cancer, which was something he had wanted to keep private and even her own family members had not yet known about. He said that people who lived next door to him didn't even know, but Williams had dug it up and made it public over the radio.

Williams also reported rumors that Method Man had even been having an affair with his wife's doctor. Method Man first heard of this while in recording sessions in Los Angeles.

Sean Combs

During a concert in 2006 Method Man criticized Diddy's decisions on the posthumous The Notorious B.I.G. Duets: The Final Chapter album, saying that Biggie never would have worked with some of the subpar rappers. "They got niggas on that album Big would have never rocked with, for real," Meth said of the album. "Musically, I ain't fuckin' with Puff Daddy". He also brought up the fact that he was the only other rapper that Biggie chose to have on his debut album Ready To Die. He was featured on the track "The What".

Diddy was one of the executive producers for Method Man's 2004 album Tical 0: The Prequel, to which Meth later voiced his displeasure on the final product.

Fox Television

He starred in a Fox sitcom called Method & Red in late 2004, however after only a short time on the air the show was put on hiatus and never returned. Method Man later complained in the press about Fox's influence on the show's style, claiming that "there's been too much compromise on our side and not enough on their side" and bemoaning the network's decision to add a laugh track. Before the show even aired for the first time, he was telling fans not to bother watching it. He told the newspaper:

The law

On Thursday May 17, 2007 Method Man was arrested in New York City on marijuana charges. His Mercedes-Benz convertible was pulled over at the Battery Tunnel en route to Manhattan, and when he rolled his window down the officer noticed a strong smell of marijuana. "It was like something out of Cheech & Chong. He rolls down the window and the smoke would choke a horse," a source later said. The arresting officer said he noticed two blunt and a plastic bag with more marijuana in plain view. Upon further inspection more marijuana was found under the driver's seat. The arrest was made at about 10 P.M. Thursday night near the Battery Tunnel toll booths on Hamilton Ave. in Carroll Gardens.

He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of marijuana, operating a motor vehicle under the influence and driving an uninspected motor vehicle. He later made many public service appearances to try to make up for it, most notably at Abraham Lincoln High Schoolmarker in Brooklynmarker.

On 5 October 2009, Method Man was arrested for income tax violations after turning himself in. He is accused of failing to file income tax returns for the state of New York between 2004 and 2007 and owes nearly $33,000 in taxes.

Acting career

In the early 2000s Method Man began a career in acting. He has had recurring roles in critically acclaimed television shows such as HBO's The Wire in which he plays Prop Joe's nephew Cheese, HBO's Oz as Tug Daniels, The Twilight Zone and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He and Redman hosted a pilot on MTV called Stung. He has made numerous appearances as himself on TV shows such as Mind of Mencia, Chappelle's Show and others.

He plays the recurring character Drops on CSI, a wealthy Las Vegas party promoter who clashes with the CSI team, specifically investigator Nick Stokes, in their investigations involving his clubs or entourage. His first appearance on CSI as Drops was in the 2006 episode "Poppin' Tags". He resumed the role in the 2007 episode "Big Shots" and again in the 2008 episode "Drops Out".

His first prominent role came in 1998 with the film Belly along with fellow rappers Nas and DMX. He has since added many credits to his name, including roles in the films Garden State, One Eight Seven, and many others, with starring roles in the feature films such as How High and Soul Plane. On March 27, 2007 Redman confirmed on BET's show Rap City that the sequel to How High was being written. The script for How High 2 is being written by Dustin Lee Abraham of CSI, who also wrote the first movie. In 2005 Method Man also had a cameo in the horror movie Venom, where he played a deputy who shortly into the movie is killed. He appears in the 2008 movies The Wackness and Meet the Spartans.

Method Man stars in the episode "Snitch" of Law & Order SVU as the main antagonist. The episode was first broadcast December 4, 2007.

Method Man has made an appearance in the Def Jam series of video games. In Fight for NY he voiced Blaze, one of the main characters. In Icon, he voiced Gooch, a major character in the storyline. He made a guest appearance in the music video for the 2003 "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys, where he played the role of her boyfriend. He also appeared in Beanie Sigel's music video "Feel It in the Air", where Method Man played an undercover cop leading an operation against Sigel.

Method Man has fallen back from pursuing more acting roles after the situation with his sitcom on Fox left a bad taste in his mouth, and now mostly just acts if the project is being handled by a friend of his, as was the case with CSI and The Wire.

Method Man appears as a hip hop business mogul in an episode of Burn Notice.

Method man had a cameo appearance in the 1997 film Cop Land as a physically violent fleeing criminal that throws Peter Berg's character off of a New York rooftop. Method Man has also appeared in the TV drama Wonderland, as a patient in a mental hospital and in Meet the Spartans 2008 in the Dance battle

Other work

Method Man appeared in the 1995 documentary entitled Russell Simmons Presents: The Show. There is a memorable scene in which Method Man, on a train in Japan, gets into an argument with U-God and Ghostface Killah, over camera time, radio interviews, and clothing mishaps.

In 2006, Method Man appeared on the MTV reality game show Yo Momma in the first episode of Season 1.

He also appeared on MTV Cribs .

Method Man is the first of the Wu-Tang Clan to produce a series of eponymous graphic novels for Hachette Book Group USA's imprint Grand Central Publishing (to be followed by GZA and Ghostface Killah).

Discography



Videography

Filmography

Year Film Role
1995 Cop Land Shondel
1996 The Great White Hype As himself
1997 One Eight Seven Dennis Broadway
1998 Belly Shameek
1999 Black and White As himself
1999 Big Daddy Man #7
2000 Backstage
2001 How High Silas P. Silas
2003 Volcano High Voice of Mr. Ha
2004 My Baby's Daddy No Good
2004 Garden State Diego
2004 Soul Plane Muggsy
2005 Venom Deputy Turner
2006 Hood of Horror Himself
2008 Meet the Spartans Persian Emissary
2008 The Wackness Percy
2009 Sinners & Saints Weddo
TBA Red Tails Sticks


References

  1. Method Man Seeks Clarity On New LP, MTV News
  2. The Breakdown Channel, Onloq
  3. New Method Man track gets high marks, Entertainment Weekly
  4. Redman | The A.V. Club
  5. [1]
  6. Method Man Talks Beef With Wu & ODB, SOHH.com
  7. Dear Superstar: Method Man article, Blender
  8. The Breakdown, an internet show on www.Onloq.com
  9. YouTube - Method Man Calls out Diddy
  10. Phew-Tang Clan! Posse guy in dope-filled car bust
  11. http://www.allhiphop.com/hiphopnews/?ID=7105
  12. Sohh Tv
  13. Method Man Sounds Off, Entertainment Weekly
  14. More Comics Coming from Hachette, Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2006
  15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1y8fiZbwbM


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