Even before they began collaborating regularly, Method Man and Redman shared more than just similar names. Both established themselves as standout members of prominent crews, both developed their skills under the tutelage of influential rapper-producers, and both share colorful, larger-than-life personas. Rumors of a Redman/ Method Man album have circulated for years, but the duo finally got together only recently, during and directly after this year's landmark Hard Knock Life tour. Superstar hip-hop collaborations are often underwhelming, but Method Man and Redman have a chemistry that can't be faked, and that must have been strengthened through rigorous months spent performing and touring together. Meth and Red are formidable forces apart, and one of the great things about Blackout! is that it's more than the sum of its considerable parts. The two bring out the best in each other, with Redman teasing out the sharp streak of dark humor latent in much of Method Man's work, and Method Man's charisma and lyrical prowess pushing Redman to ever more demented heights. Functioning as a pair of crotch-grabbing, gun-toting, party-crashing anti-superheroes, their work on Blackout! is as fun as it is irresponsible. They might not be good role models, but both are in excellent form here. Rooted in the bare-bones production of Redman mentor Erick Sermon, Blackout!'s production borders on the simple and monotonous. But with keen production contributions from Mathematics, DJ Scratch, and RZA—who jacks the beat from The Coup's "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish" on "Cereal Killers" to great effect—it seldom stays that way for long. Funky, funny, and surprisingly consistent, Blackout! marks the emergence of one of the most formidable hip-hop teams since Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg.
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