METHOD MAN, Jan. 9, 2002

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1995 interview with Method Man

The Rihga Royal, one of Manhattan's most posh hotels, can cost you anywhere from $300 to $650 a night. That's some serious loot. With a hefty price tag like that, one should expect a few things to come with the room: a nice bed, a couple of TVs, a glass-encased shower, a full wet bar and a top of the line stereo system. Redman and Method Man, who happen to be lounging in Room 4310, on the other hand, probably aren't what you'd expect to see. While there's nothing wrong with Red's Rocawear jacket and black Timberlands or Meth's Phat Farm coat, jeans and slippers, the gear kind of clashes with the Victorian-style rugs. And who knows what Rihga Royal management -- not to mention some of its guests -- might say of the, err, aroma coming from their suite. But let it go down on the record that there was no smoking going on during the interview session. Hell, from the looks in their eyes and the laid-back, half-sleepy tone in their voices, it's safe to say Meth and Red had given their lungs a workout earlier in the day. Let it also be made clear that these guys are exactly who they've made themselves out to be over the past few years -- a rhyming Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. The blunt-smoking, smack-talking twosome has done a lot together: put out a hit song ("How High"), collaborated on a red-hot album (1999's Blackout) and most recently, went through their first year at Harvard, thanks to the comedy flick "How High." Though Method Man, the Wu-Tang Clan's most popular member and hip-hop's new leading man, has played minor roles in movies before, he should be more than anxious to share his first true Hollywood story with DeMarco Williams of So, Meth, are you ready? Meth? Wake up!

How high were you when you made this movie?

"Not very. We smoked a lot of cloves."

What's the reaction from smoking cloves?

"It's nasty as hell. Real nasty."

Did you all take acting classes?

"Nah, we had gone over the script so many times that we just had to go in there and do it. We did sit down with writers and go over the dialogue. Someone else's words were flying out of our mouths. From day one, we gave our ideas. Somebody wrote a script around us, but Dustin Abraham came with the best one."

What was it like working with the movie's producer, Danny DeVito?

"He gets all the kudos for giving us the opportunity to make this movie."

How long did it take to make the movie?

"36 days. Exactly 36 days. We shot some extra footage to cover up stuff... to make it fuller."

Who else would you like to work with in Hollywood?

"All of them."

Even Julia Roberts?

"I'd suck her bottom lip dry!"

Meth, you've done your thing in movies like "Copland"...

"That was my man Peter Berg. He plugged me in on that. It started with "Great White Hype." Peter Berg called me back for "Copland." And Sam called me back for "187." Now that was a good look. Sam Jackson is a real down brotha. He could have called anybody to come do that "187," but he hollered at his frog. I jumped right at it."

When you work with cats like Sam Jackson, are you extra careful on the set?

"Yeah, you have to be because you're walking in there like a stripper trying to get a job. All they're going to see is the stripper; they don't see her capabilities or what she can do. All they see is that she was a stripper. I'm a rapper trying to be an actor. And that's what they're looking at. [Exec voice] 'Oh, he's a rapper. He's not going to be on time. He's going to come in here with his guns and chronic and 40s.'"

Are those stereotypes hard to break?

"I don't know because they ain't gonna say it in your face. Hollywood is built on that, and they're really good at it. So, you just take it for what it's worth. You know when you did good or not."

Meth, the Wu has a new album, Iron Flag. What should fans expect on the CD?

"I think everybody should commend us coming out with a joint not so long after the last joint [2000's The W]. We've been having these little four-year spots between albums, and RZA's whole idea this time -- really the whole Clan's -- was that we're not going to make them wait for the next Wu chapter. We need to be giving these out damn near every month. It's like food for thought. We just wanna see where we stand at right now with our fans."

Cats are gonna be looking at what you all did in your first week.

"See, all that stuff didn't happen until... now you got everybody and they mama talking sales. You got high school kids 15 and 16 talking about what an album did in its first week. Whereas when I first dropped, the numbers weren't nowhere near where they are now and the label was happy. Let's keep this moving. Let's not get all wrapped up in what this album did or who charted that. Let's deal with substance and quality and music."

How does the Wu feel about your successes with Red?

"They aiight with it. He was on our last album. If I leave and I ain't there, and they run into him, he's running with them. It's all love. The same thing with me."

How do you all stay so balanced?

"You just gotta keep the haters from around you. You got a lot of people who used to be down with crews, and they was f------ up, so you had no use for them. In this business, if you ain't generating no business, we don't need your a--. So, these people get bitter and they start saying this, that and the third. They get 10 other people saying this, that and the third. And all of a sudden, your a-- ain't keeping it real no more. That's a crock of bullsh--. Hip-hop fans are the most unloyal fans -- to a certain extent. When you're hot, you're hot, but when you're not, you're definitely not."

What's "keepin' it real" to you?

"Doing yourself, and not going off your track. People know when you're frontin'. They smell it all over you. That's the mystique of this music. It's more soul music than anything, if you ask me. It was always built off of vibes and the way people were feeling in the struggle -- which is still going on, by the way. We're in a good place, but not a better place. Regardless of how me or this man right here or anybody else in this business get, when we walk on an airplane in first-class looking like this, we're gonna get searched. We got a lot of shit we gotta get past. Man, we're opening doors so y'all can get through. Knock that sh-- off! "

-- DeMarco Williams,

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