Music

Hip-Hop

Album review: Method Man, ‘The Meth Lab’

Method Man’s first solo record in nine years should come with an asterisk, as the revered Wu-Tang Clan MC basically plays master of ceremonies for a showcase of underexposed Staten Island-area rappers and a few Wu peers and associates. With the feel of a mixtape instead of a proper solo effort, this seems like a bridge to his upcoming “Crystal Meth”; ultimately the music is more Jesse Pinkman than Walter White-grade Meth. When he does appear, Method Man is mostly in a lower gear (“Water”), only rising up to inspired heights intermittently. Augmented by a serviceably brittle production, the numerous MCs offer more energy than consistency, making it difficult for the 19 tracks to sustain momentum. Hanz On shows up on a whopping 10 songs and acquits himself with nimble, urgent rhymes on two of the best tracks, “Another Winter” and “Symphony.” Predictably, a mini Wu collaboration, “The Purple Tape” with Raekwon and Inspectah Deck, generates heat, but it sounds like an addendum to this well intentioned, erratic collection.

KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Another Winter”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.