Method Man’s moody 1994 solo debut led the Great Wu-Tang Clan Solo Invasion of the mid-90s
The breakout success of the Wu Tang Clan’s debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), contributed to the hype surrounding Method Man’s solo debut, Tical, which was released by Def Jam in 1994.
Thanks to the charismatic emcee’s prominent appearance on some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Method Man,” and “C.R.E.A.M.,” he had become one of the most popular and sought after components of the group at the time.
Tical was predominantly produced by the RZA (under the name “Prince Rakeem”), whose use of poorly dubbed English dialogue from late-1970’s and early-1980’s Kung Fu movies, established a signature style that paved the way for more critically acclaimed projects like Liquid Swords and Only Built For Cuban Linx in 1995.
Debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts, the album was an immediate success—producing three hit singles including “Bring the Pain,” “Release Yo Delf” and the 1996 Grammy award winning duet, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” featuring Mary J. Blige.
VIDEO: Method Man “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” featuring Mary J. Blige
Meth told Complex in 2011 that the lead single, “Bring the Pain,” was already finished before 36 Chambers was released in ‘93. “I had that beat for a long fucking time. Soon as I started my album, I asked RZA if I could have that beat. I think he had to remake it because all that shit got lost in the flood. So when he remade it, we went in and did the ‘Bring The Pain’ record. I loved it from day one.”
While several pre-recorded tracks were reportedly destroyed by the flood and recreated for the album, they managed to recover one of Method Man’s early rap battles with Raekwon for the track “Meth vs. Chef.” This memorable match-up was later followed with a sequel on the Wu Massacre collaboration in 2010.
AUDIO: Method Man “Meth Vs. Chef”
The album also features a special guest appearance by Inspectah Deck on the posse cut “Mr. Sandman,” as well as several appearances from other Wu associates, including Carlton Fisk, Street Life, Y-Kim, 4th Disciple, and Blue Raspberry—whose interpretation of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” provided a captivating performance.
Following the album’s release, the song “All I Need” went on to receive additional attention in the summer of ‘95, when it was re-released as the single, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By.” Featuring remixes from RZA and Puff Daddy, the single climbed to the No. 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 before being certified platinum for having sold more than 800,000 copies.
Method Man went on to release five more solo studio albums, but would never quite achieve the same level of commercial success as Tical—which remains his only record to have two singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Nevertheless, his contributions to hip-hop and a successful acting career would provide him with many more years of success.
AUDIO: Method Man Tical (full album)