Method Man & Redman - Blackout! 2 (2LP)

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With each having individual obligations all over the place, it took ten years for Method Man and Redman to record a follow-up to 1999's beloved Blackout!, but one listen and you'd think it had only been ten days. Interplay during the intro proves that none of the chemistry is lost, then the slow-grinding "I'm Dope Ni**a" declares that happy and horribly high days are here again, with mentions of Club Nouveau plus Tango & Cash putting a date stamp on the duo. Their fine vintage is displayed two tracks later when "Dangerous MCees" spits "Even Herbie Hancock know where to Rockit" over a beat that's identifiably Erick Sermon. It's topped by the Phyllis Hyman loop Pete Rock cuts for the preceding track, "A-Yo," a superior weekend anthem featuring Saukrates from Redman's Gilla House group. With the sound of the South having exploded since the first Blackout!, the hypnotic highlight "City Lights" with guest Bun B plus a UGK sample is identifiable as post-2000. Also of its time is the dreaded Auto-Tune device, which corrects some pitch here and there, although its polish is negated on "I Know Sumptn" by the very Redman lyric "Check my bowel baby/This is the mother load." Mentions of riding jet skis on land and all sorts of other absurdities sit next to innovative viewpoints on sleaze, then "Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers" does the weed song right as the blunt brothers roll over a DJ Scratch track that sounds heavily influenced by RZA. Speaking of Wu-Tang members, Raekwon and Ghostface appear on the key cut "Four Minutes to Lock Down," an intense barrage of Shaolin lyrics that helps anchor an album that's often just a party on wax. The original deserves the top spot, but think of this as the Godfather Part II of reckless boom-bap rap and you've got an idea of how well this Blackout! satisfies.