Blackout! 2

May 30, 2009

It’s been nearly a decade since Meth & Red released an official follow-up to their 1999 classic Blackout!, and the obvious sequel has been long overdue.  The first album got serious rotation in the late nineties/early 2000’s, and still sounds fresh to this day when played in the blaster…Two important points in favor of the “classic” argument.

There has never been a more animated duo in hip-hop, and the overall energy these two bring when combined is off the charts.  Whether on stage (if you haven’t witnessed this you’re tripping) or through the mic, Red & Meth stretch out a wide array of feelings…From laid-out weed anthems, to bang-your-head street joints, they have all areas in between covered.

It’s been a long time coming, but well worth the wait..

Review after the jump.

Off the bat, Blackout! 2 stays very true to the original sound as defined a decade ago.  “I’m Dope N***a!” sets the tone with in your face lyrics, provided from the lyrical duo.  While this is a solid entry (and beginning to the LP), things don’t really pop off until the next track “A-Yo (feat. Saukrates)”:

After listening to “A-Yo” on repeat for an hour, I dug a little deeper, only to realize that Pete Rock was in charge of production.  While this doesn’t sound like your average Pete Rock joint, the careful sampling and beat orchestration are signs that an ace beatsmith was in charge.  Oh, and how dope is the idea of a Method Man/Redman/Pete Rock collaboration?

Anyways, things only get better from here.  “Dangerous MC’s” continues the album with a sound most reminiscent of their previous effort.  Complete with “UFO” sample and a banging drum kit, this highlight features both Red and Meth at their best, backed by a golden era boom-bap beat to knock your wallabees off:

While a lot of reviews tend to go in-depth on each track  within an album, such a method (pun intended) would be doing BO!2 an injustice.  Mainly due to the fact that this LP is thick with great (not just good) material.  As a matter of fact there is not one track on here that weighs the quality down…Actually, after several listens from start to finish, I can confidently say that BO!2 is a better overall effort from Method & Red than their debut album.  While the first joint ran with a certain mood for a majority of the songs (fast-paced, lyrically heavy, etc.), this time around there seems to be a much more diverse and balanced range of moods.  From the lady anthem, slow-tempo “Ms. International,” to the hardcore Wu-banger “4 Minutes to Lockdown,” BO!2 has it all.

The only gripe I have with their latest effort is the subtle use of the autotune on “City Lights (feat. Bun B).”  It seems entirely out of place and completely unnecessary, but for some reason was included nonetheless.  In an album that seems to do no wrong throughout, this is the one moment that left me scratching my head…It’s as if some record exec. heard the final product and said, “You know, the kids these days LOVE autotune…Why don’t you get back in the studio and give us our radio hit?”  First off, the only people buying BO!2 are familiar with Wu-Tang and Redman, so no need to appeal to a younger crowd.  Secondly, this is the first time on the album they show their age.  However, it’s not enough to ruin the experience, but definitely comes across as a little bit desperate:

Other than that, the beat is nice…Dope to see an ode to the South on this record, including a Bun B appearance and Pimp C chopped sample (“I-I-I get toe-up..).

Aside from the autotune hiccup as mentioned above, this is about as close to classic as any hip-hop album can get in 2009.  I have a strong feeling that I will revisit this LP in a year and claim official classic status, but that has yet to be seen.  This is a phenomenal overall record, and is a huge breath of fresh air in an overall disappointing time in music.  Not only is Blackout!2 nearly flawless, but it’s the best thing to come out of the Wu-Tang family tree in years.

If you like good music, don’t sleep…This is worth a trip to the record shop and then some.

Overall: 9 out of 10

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