The members of the Wu-Tang Clan have been as productive as ever, with the legendary rap group releasing The Saga Continues last year. Some of the members have also individually gained a lot of attention thanks to more recent releases. This includes Ghostface Killah’s The Lost Tapes, which came out in October, and the release of the late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s posthumous single ‘Intoxicated’, celebrating what would have been his 50th birthday. However, now is the time for one of Wu Tang’s most prominent members, Method Man, to step into the spotlight with his newest album Meth Lab Season 2: The Lithium.
As the title suggests, this album acts as a spiritual sequel to 2015’s The Meth Lab. While a lot of elements (especially musically) are carried through from the first Meth Lab to The Lithium, I appreciate the fact that this newest record feels a tonne more self-aware and is trying much harder to have more of a solid concept. With each of the main tracks being titled as ‘Episodes’ and a number of very humorous interludes to break things up nicely, it feels like the musical equivalent to watching a Netflix series.
We were treated with two teaser tracks prior to this album’s release. The first being ‘Grand Prix’ back in August and the second being ‘Wild Cats’, which was released on 1st November. Both are fantastic tracks and definitely gave me a great idea of what was to be expected from the album and saw Method Man having much more presence than many of the tracks from the original Meth Lab. With his own bars greatly outweighing the ones from other rappers, fans will be pleased to know that Method Man has made sure that he is the album’s main focus.
The majority of the album’s atmosphere feels very traditional and stays true to the era of Wu-Tang Clan’s golden years, which is what many members of the group have championed time and time again. This album might just be one of the best examples of this, especially with its underground aesthetic. In many ways, The Lithium feels like an album that could’ve been released 15 years ago yet, at the same time, feels very current thanks to the production behind songs like ‘SI vs. Everybody’ and the previously mentioned ‘Grand Prix’.
The seven interludes on The Lithium (if you include the intro and outro) make the album entertaining to listen to from start to finish. Including the guys from Impractical Jokers and a news reporter type character named Thotti Gotti, these breaks added a unique sense of comic relief to an otherwise gritty and serious sounding album, something that you very rarely get on a record.
In short, this album does an excellent job of giving the fans exactly what they want. It’s masterfully made in all of its areas, from Method Man’s clever bars to the brilliant production and narrative. In my mind, it is nothing less than a near flawless piece.