Method Man and Redman bring the pain to Ventura
By Cesar Augusto Rodriguez 06/13/2013
Maybe you have the albums Tical and Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) sitting in your five-disc CD changer at home. Or perhaps you prefer the newer collaborations like Blackout! 1 and 2. Of course, there’s always the 2001 movie How High, which gave a newer generation its stoner comedy and connected Method Man and Redman to an even larger audience. Regardless of the projects that these two lyricists have created together, countless fans have followed them on their journey of irie adventures that most recently invoked some serious head boppin’ at the Majestic Ventura Theater.
Local crew Mantis set the proper tone with some fluid rhyming by Erik K executed with kung-fu precision. The crowd was plenty ready when the Def Squad/Wu-Tang duo hit the stage. The aroma in the theater became increasingly floral as the night progressed, which melded perfectly with the RZA and Erick Sermon (EPMD) beats rippling through the crowd. Meth and Red kept the energy high and took few breaks. (Favorite moment: hearing one of Redman’s tracks, which also helps to remind us of what to do when we find a bag of weed on the floor “Pick it up, pick it up!”)
The show was a revisit of older tunes and some tracks off the newer Blackout! albums. No Ventura Theater show is complete without some speaker climbing which Redman used as an opportunity to get up-close and personal with the crowd. There was even some sharing of Phillies products from stage to fans, but that’s not my usual brand of cigar.
Some hip-hop shows feel like a bunch of instructions being thrown at you in order to take your attention away from an inferior performance: “Wave your hands in the air, let me hear you say yeah!” But although such instructions were given, this show was far from low-quality. It felt more like an authentic big party with bumping sounds and good people. Smiles were on everyone’s faces, and more than once I ran into locals that I didn’t think were into Wu-Tang-style beats.
While Meth and Red’s performance was in part a celebration of old school, it was also a reminder of how some of us have grown up in tandem with the genre’s evolution. Perhaps these guys feel so familiar to us because they have become ingrained into our memories via respectable amounts of creative output over a wide swath of time. Their sounds have become associated with experiences we had when we first heard these tracks. Experiences like when your friend picked you up after installing subwoofers from hell and cueing up the Alpine to play “Method Man” (the song) on the 36 Chambers album. You know those lyrics have a special home in your dome: “M-E-T-H-O-D, MAN, M-E-T-H-O-D, MAN, Hey, you, get off my cloud. You don’t know me and you don’t know my style.” (Just typing those lyrics gets me pumped.)
Even when I play “Da Rockwilder” now, in 2013, the phrase “surfin’ the Avenue” fits seamlessly with my local neighborhood drives in the area of Ventura I call home. Regardless of which tracks are your favorites, Wednesday’s show played at least a couple of them. Meth and Red brought a hell of a party to Ventura, and those lucky enough to attend got their fix until the next Blackout! album is released or we see some solo work from either rapper. Until then, if you desire to educate yourself, throw on Redman’s “How to Roll a Blunt” and follow its simple instructions. It will help pass the time.