With his Wu-Tang colleague Ghostface off doing ambitious concept albums while team leader RZA offers million-dollar LPs as art pieces, Method Man's The Meth Lab is a ramshackle delight, coming nine years after his last solo joint and not giving a damn. Walking into the room with a shrug and then slaying the competition is what Meth does best, and as the title track drops the old and utterly brilliant reference "Like 'Confessions of a Video Vixen,' we by the book," it's obvious he's on point here, and remains so throughout the album. Halfway through, the vengeful "Water" paints the Wu-Tang's great anchorman as a pathos-filled soul doling out moral judgments ("They done killed the homie's brother, what you supposed to do with that?/Who gonna tell his baby mother that her dude ain't comin' back"), while "Rain All Day" is the kind of wicked Wu swaggering, humorous, enemy-kicking anthem ("You monkeys hangin' 'round like you gorillas") that got many fans addicted in the first place. With Hanz On as executive producer and Allah Mathematics frequently behind the beats, The Meth Lab comes off as vintage in sound and from the core of the Wu-Tang ethos, but the showcase album doubles as an intro to some of Meth's favorite slept-on rappers, most of them from Staten Island. Uncle Murda, Streetlife, and Hanz On appear often, making this LP close in structure to the crew-focused Theodore Unit releases from Ghostface, but that's not a complaint as much as a caution. Consider this a Meth-led posse LP aimed at returning fans, and a very good one at that.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries