Nearly two decades after peak Wu-Tang Clan mania, and almost a decade since Method Man‘s last solo set, there’s no reason for a compilation album introducing his Staten Island rapper buddies to exist. But alas, that’s what The Meth Lab, billed as the rapper’s first LP since 2006, really is. All but one non-interlude track features guest vocalists, and a couple don’t even feature Meth at all. New guys like Hanz On (whose label is releasing the project), Kash Verrazano and Dro Pesci fail to impress; only when OGs like Redman, Raekwon and the always reliable Street Life join the fray are the guest spots justified.
Amy Schumer, Amber Rose & Method Man Parody Ass Obsession in ‘Milk Milk Lemonade’ Video
Luckily, when Method Man is on the mic, he defies age: Whether he’s rapping about industry shenanigans (“Bang Zoom”), trend-hoppers (“2 Minutes of Your Time”) or the pains of splitting cash with nine other Wu members (“What You Getting Into”), his clever rhymes and deft delivery sound like they’re straight out of 1994. Method’s skill and charisma are by far the highlight of The Meth Lab, but there’s not enough of him to make this unremarkable compilation pop.
Listen to music from Method Man, and more artists from this issue, in the Spotify playlist below:
This story originally appeared in the Aug. 29 issue of Billboard.