“Relevance” is a confusing term when it’s applied to hip hop. Whenever I discuss the music I tend to switch off as soon as someone says “so and so isn’t relevant” – it’s the most overused word by those who lack the knowledge or familiarity with such a complex culture and art form (I’m not the only one who thinks so).
By the logic generally used by such people, Method Man and Redman are “irrelevant”, something which simply isn’t true; two great emcees who continue to exist and move in such an indelible groove – despite lack of new material – will always be relevant to the culture, whether it’s by pushing and fostering other growing artists, watching their legacy and influence continue to inspire future emcees, or simply taking fans back to the hip hop’s heyday through live shows.
Sydney had a chance to witness the latter at Enmore Theatre for the first time in years, and though the structure of their live set hasn’t really seen any major changes since the last time I saw them in Australia, in 2010, the endearing duo most certainly gave us a show to justify their place at two of the East Coast’s most valuable heavy-hitting lyricists.
Though it was promised as the “Blackout” tour, both emcees gave us a healthy mix of their individual greatest hits, whether it was through memorable features (“4,3,2,1”) or just assisting each other on solo cuts (“M.E.T.H.O.D Man”, “I’ll Bee Dat”) with hype man duties. Sure, things started of shaky with the relatively dull “Errbody Scream” but the main purpose, getting the packed out Enmore Theatre hype, was in tact, setting the energy high and keeping it there right up until the breathless Wu-Tang melody used to close the show.
The immortal LL Cool J track came second in the set list and truly showed off how well these two long-time collaborators work as a team, not only staying close lyrically, but physically as well, strutting around the stage like well rehearsed, conjoined twins often resulting in goofy choreography that contrasted to the deadly serious lyricism set over beats thrown out by Redman’s DJ Dice and Meth’s Mathematics.
The double-DJ thing didn’t come into play as much as I would have hoped, but Dice and Mathematics did get their own chance halfway through the show to impressively scratch and cut through classic hip hop tracks, right before the Funk Doctor and Tical returned to a flurry of their joint records including “How High” (disappointingly not superior remix), “Y.O.U” and “Da Rockwilder”.
Wherever Meth goes, you can be sure a Wu-Tang associate isn’t far behind, so Street Life was brought out on stage not long after the show started to bounce off the two superstars, filling the necessary role required to also give the crowd some certified Meth solo cuts and Wu Tang hits, from “Straight Gutta” to “Do You Really (Thang Thang)”, including a track I didn’t recognise (though the sample was ESG’s legendary “UFO”).
It’s been a long time since Meth and Red toured Australia, but it’s clear their legacy has reached far and wide enough to still be drawing in these massive crowds. Individually, they are still two of the most consistently exciting emcees to have touched the mic (Redman especially) and they put together a show that perfectly displayed just why that is. It proved that true legends will always be relevant in this game.
Time 4 Some AKsion
Let’s Get Dirty
Grid Iron Rap (Feat. Street Life)/Bring The Pain
I’ll Bee Dat/Da Goodness
Ice Cream/All I Need (Razor Sharp Remix)
Street Life Solo (ESG “UFO” sample)
Do You Really (Thang Thang)
Mathematics & DJ Dice Interlude
Cisco Kid/How High (Part 2)
Shame on a Ni**a
Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit
Method Man & Redman played Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on 31st October 2016