Collaborations bring out the best in Method Man—or maybe it’s the adrenaline rush of cutthroat competition. Put Meth on a track alongside Ghostface Killah, his other Wu-Tang brethren, or musical soulmate/smoking buddy Redman, and he makes a miraculous transformation from middle-aged has-been to Super MC. Method Man and Redman haven’t dropped a collaborative album since 1999’s Blackout!, but their chemistry remains as potent as ever, even as Blackout! 2 lacks the intricate verbal tag-teaming that distinguished its predecessor.

Method Man and Redman defined swagger well before it became a meaningless buzzword. On Blackout! 2, they take it back to basics with big hooks, funky breakbeats, neck-snapping boom-bap, and chest-beating braggadocio. On “City Lights,” Meth and Red embrace the sinister grime of the Dirty South and engineer a posthumous UGK reunion by collaborating with Bun B on a song built around a killer Pimp C sample and Meth’s ice-cold, molasses-slow codeine flow. Method and Red do right by pot smokers and the fairer gender on “Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers” and “Mrs. International,” respectively; the latter is as suave and continental as Meth and Red get. Redman’s impeccable comic timing and delivery redeem even the corniest punchline, and Method Man hasn’t sounded this inspired in ages. It’s been a long, long decade since Blackout!, but this very worthy sequel proves worth the wait.