Method Man 4:21… The Day After

What the fuck is in the Wu’s water these days? First, Ghostface drops a so-far peerless rap-album-of-the-year candidate in Fishscale and now here’s Method Man with arguably his best album since his debut. If Ghost’s latest fire was like a "reWunion,” consider 4:21… The Day After the afterparty. Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, RZA and Ol’ Dirty (once again from beyond the grave) plus satellite members Redman and the seldom-heard LA the Darkman all contribute. But while most of the guest appearances are solid (Ginuwine, no one would’ve missed you), Method Man outshines all of them. The record’s title implies a hazy hangover, but Meth sounds totally rejuvenated here, glassy-eyed as ever and staring through a fresh cloud of smoke. Guest producers Scott Storch, Kwame "K1Mil” and RZA do really well, while Erick Sermon, who produces more tracks, is hit and miss. Yeah, so in a way, the whole affair is; Meth could’ve cut all the skits and five tracks and 4:21 would’ve been much stronger, but this is still a fiery, if bloated, declaration of Meth’s relevance. (Def Jam)