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Ten years after the release of Blackout!, Method Man and Redman are back with the sequel.  It’s a little hard to understand why they’ve taken this long, because aside from Method Man’s stint on HBO’s The Wire, neither of them has done anything worthwhile since.  They had a TV show, the cleverly titled Method Man & Redman (remember that show?  Didn’t think so.); they each released a couple forgettable–no, that’s too generous, I should say barely noticeable–solo albums; and they’ve made a variety of appearances on some other nonsense.

The original Blackout! album was the perfect combination of two of the most magnetic flows in the business.  However, despite some magical moments of rewind-that-back brilliance early in their careers, neither MC has ever truly maximized his talents.  The Blackout! 2 is a prime example.  It’s just blah.  It sounds like mostly retreads of previous songs from their previous albums that really weren’t all that good to begin with.

The first couple tracks (“I’m a Dope Ni**a” and “A-Yo”) are a decent enough start–all we’re really looking for here is a summer album, anyway.  Something to nod your head to and turn up loud while you drive around, right?  But the album isn’t even worth that low standard.

On “Dangerous Mcees,” which sounds just like something off Redman’s 1998 release Doc’s Da Name 2000, the duo strangely talks as if they’re representing the underground.  “I’m trying to stand on my own two/get signed to a major/be a franchise player/and get my own shoe,” Method Man explains.  It’s possible he’s trying to give us some back story on his coming-of-age, but the man’s been a household name since the early 1990s, so this seems kind of out place and irrelevant in 2009.

Songs like “Hey Zulu,” “City Lights” and “A Lil’ Bit” will be fine for the clubs.  They’re standard issue, throw on a some innocuous thumping beat, give it the most simplistic hook you can come up with and drop some so-so rhymes over it, hip-hop songs.  Of course, we don’t want anything deep from these guys, but they could at least do us the favor of not being generic. No such luck with Blackout! 2.  The only time they sound inspired is on the weed ode, “Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers.”  Here the two trade witty, self-deprecating rhymes:

Method Man: “Never thought that little bush in that baggy would have me hooked/I’m a pothead/everyone look/then point your fingers at the bad guy/with the cotton mouth and glass eyes.”

Redman: “Find me drunk/fucked up/at the Cannabis Cup/…you smoke more than us, ni**a, it’s beginner’s luck.”

While marijuana anthems aren’t very compelling at this point, it’s no secret these guys have a passion for the substance, and it comes across in the music.  It’s entertaining to hear Doc and Meth poke fun at their perpetually high selves.  It’s one of the rare moments of, maybe not insight, but personality on this album.

You have to realize something about Method Man and Redman: they’re pushing 40!  Meth is 38, Redman is 39.  In hip hop years, they’re old men.  We don’t expect maturity from them, but how about a little wisdom?  Some wryness?  Something that tells me they’ve been around the block, seen it all, and can have a laugh about it in their old age.

One of the best Redman lines is from the song “Whateva Man” off 1996′s Muddy Waters when he said, “I smoked with a lot of college students/most of them wasn’t graduating and they knew it!” Such a great line.  With this one bit of anecdotal humor he paints an entirely animated picture of who he is as a person, the kind of crowd he hangs out with and his own short comings. However, there are few, if any, memorable lines on Blackout! 2.  And really, it’s been so long since Blackout! 1 that maybe they should’ve come up with a completely new title.  Perhaps, Burnout!Stefan Schumacher

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