|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2004-03-30
Q: I hear you didn't appreciate being included in our "Step Your Rap Game Up" column.
A: Unless you're an MC, and understand how hard it is to even start a line, that first line is so hard to come up with. And it's just as hard to end it as it is to start it, so for somebody to tell you that you gotta step your shit up and they ain't never wrote a rhyme before, yeah, it gets your a little peeved.
Q: Maybe it's a challenge because fans expect so much from you.
A: I understand. let them challenge themselves and try it. You're a writer, you understand. Sometimes you out-think yourself so much that you're a little too witty. Now, if I read of one your articles and said the shit sucks, you'd look at me and be like "Come on. Have you ever written an article before?". That's how I feel about it. But I think it's all funny.
Q: With all your outside endeavors, it's like you've been AWOL from hip hop lately
A: What's so funny is that I've been there. It's that people wasn't checking for Wu-Tang the way they used to, 'cause Wu-Tang albums is what usually help up the released of my albums. I could have been a greedy muthafucka and said, "Fuck ya'll" and go do my own thing. But it was never like that with us, we weren't exactly money-hungy dudes or fame-stealing muthafuckas. We was like, when your time comes, your time comes. I'm very patient about things, which in a sense also hurt, because between those I could have made so many more moves and learned so much more stuff instead of now just catching up on a lot of things... I'm not here to say where Wu-Tang is right now, or what's going on with us right now, 'cause this interview is about me. But just know this: There will not be a Wu-Tang album anytime soon as far as I'm concerned.
Q: It would be fair to say that the Method Man fan base, at this point, is pretty different from the Wu-Tang fan base...
A: I understand that. But when we first broke into this, we broke in as a unit. Everyone started from ground zero with nothing. I might not even be sitting here right now if I wouldn't have worked as hard as I did. You might be talking to Inspectah Deck.
Q: How has acting affected your rhyming?
A: It helps a lot. Plus, when I act, I see words this big (holds hands two feet apart) in my head. For one, metaphors: a lot of them come out of movies... I think I'm the only artist that I know that does crossword puzzles. My mother hooked me on it when I was younger, and it was a challenge. But then after a while, certain words that pop in my head came out of a puzzle. It's like a reflex.
Q: When you were a kid, did you see yourself acting?
A: I never really thought past tomorrow. I remember the question always used to come up: What do you wanna be when you grow up? My answer was always: Rich. Period.
Q: So when you got rich, how did you feel?
A: I didn't feel rich. I still don't. I don't live a rich man's life. I live a wealthy man's life. A wealthy man's life. A wealthy man will fly himself first class; he'll get yourself a suite. A rich man doesn't have to go to the DMV. But a wealthy man does. I'm a common dude. That's why when people see me out in the world, they're like "Where your bodyguards at?". That's how I roll. Plus, I don't fuck with anybody, period. If anybody got a problem with me, I can't see it. Anything that comes inside my little area has to be about positivity and peace.
Q: Because you're a dad?
A: Yeah, maybe. That, and a husband. Like, you will never catch me at a party unless I'm working. That has a lot to do with my kids... I will give you a scenario. At my highest moment - highest as in weed and drunk and shit - I'm at a party, and I started thinking, my wife is at home right now, with those kids. Probably yelling, chasing after them, and I'm at a fucking party. And then it just got me, like, man, get the fuck outta here. This shit ain't for me; I'm a family dude. It just didn't seem right that I should be enjoying myself while she busting her ass back at the home front.
Q: Saint Meth!
A: I dont' want her to party. So instead of being demanding and saying, "You ain't partying," I don't party by example.
Q: Many of the people reading this think of you more as a "personality" than a "rapper"
A: That's crazy. They probably look at me like Nick Cannon or some shit. (laughs). That's the beautiful thing about it - having to prove yourself, staying on top of your toes. Best thing to happen to Nas was Jay-Z, coming at him sideways. A lot of people will till you that. I doubt if Nas would, though. The hip-hop audience? They'll have a new nigga next year. It's basically what you do to keep yourself out there. I go into every project like it's my first, and I've gotta run the gauntlet again. I gotta do the radio, the in-stores, to reintroduce myself to this audience. But back in the days, it was like, the dudes that was rhyming - they knew about Cold Crush. We knew about the Fearlous Four, the Treacherous Three, and that was the '80's, '90's. It's just, the kid these days, they don't check their history. Everybody knows how to read a fucking Billboard chart.
Q: So what's up with Tical 0?
A: It's not me. The record's been done. I don't think the label has a much faith in me as I do. Not saying they don't have any faith in me at all, they just don't have as much as I do. They're talking the same way you are: "Where have you been for five years?", They listening to my whole album, and they don't think I had a first single. Not saying that the album isisn't good, just that they didn't think it had a first single to come back after five years. I'm like, Whatever -- let's get this shit cracking. They had me sit down with the Neptunes and the Just Blazes and the Kanyes, and these dudes had fire. But me being an artist on label - you wanna feel like you're part of something. Like, sometimes you want your ego stroked every now and then. And to think they don't have as much confidence in you as you have in yourself, that eats at you and makes you angry and makes you wanna do dumb shit to hurt yourself in the process. What I had to do was bite down hard and takes whatever the fuck they gave me. And whenever I drop -- if a fan is a true fan, and the music is dope, people don't care when you come. Because Dr. Dre comes about the same time every four years. You get a better product when the man takes his time.
Q: That sort of conflict could drive a person nuts.
A: It pissed me off. It fucks with you... I've never experienced what I've experienced now with Def Jam. I guess this is the feeling artists get when the people around them feel like they're on their way out. But I'm far from on my way out. Let me give you a scenario: Let's say you're in love with this guy. And after six years of being with this dude, ya'll finally break up, 'cause you know this son of a bitch ain't never gonna marry you. A month later, you hear he's engaged. You see where I'm coming from? That's how it feels. Is it me? What could it be?
Q: Did you ever think of just saying "Fuck it" ?
A: I thought, if I'm getting treated like this, it's for a reason. And I have to earn my muthafuckin' spot back - which I have no problem doing, but just be up front with me. Don't blow smoke up my ass like everything's fine, and then I do a video shoot and no one from my label shows up... You'll drive yourself crazy and make yourself sick swelling on that, though, so my idea is to keep moving forward.
Q: Say that this record doesn't do well. Will you know when to stop?
A: Well, I've got one more album in me if that happens. If that doesn't happen (if the album does sell), I've got four more albums. But if that does happen, one more album. And that's to satisfy me. If people aren't feeling it... I'd feel the same way, like, maybe it is time. When that happens, sometimes it's like "You're not good enough". Not even your album, but "You're not good enough". Sometimes people just have a problem with you. Not even your music. It's like, I love Jennifer Lopez. I just don't love Bennifer...
Q: You're not that over-exposed.
A: Not at all. But my face is out there enough for people to not forget what I look like, and the impact I'm trying to make when I do come back is like "Damn! Where this nigga been? I missed him..."
Q: Would being a full-time actor be satisfying for you?
A: No. 'Cause my bones is in the music. I know there would be some wway that I'd still be involved in music. I'd probably ghostwrite for a female.
Q: Any plans for another album with Redman?
A: If Def Jam will have us. It's funny. It's not like in China, where the older you get, the more respected. But I'm a strong-willed person, I've been broken down a few times, but nothng's gonna break me all the way down. Def Jam is not treating me bad, but it's not the treatment that an artist who's been there X-amount of years should get. But it's my fault, for not speaking up and not being as present in Def Jam as I should have been.
Q: Can you gauge your impact?
A: I don't think I've made it yet. I made it once with "You're All I Need", but people ten to forget so fast. My impact won't be in music. It'll be in something bigger than that. I'm gonna save somebody's life. I know it. And I will lose my life in the process. I just feel it.
Q: Okay, that's a little heavy.
A: (Laughs) I'm sorry, but that's where my head is at. I've always sacrified to make somebody else feel better.
Written by XXL Magazine