Ever since the release of the somewhat disappointing Tical 0: The Prequel, Method Man has been trying to prove that he really is the MC he was on his fantastic 1994 solo debut. So maybe the fact that he decided to name his fourth record 4:21...The Day After has less to do with marijuana (though of course that is never completely forgotten) and more to do with moving away from all the comparisons to his first album, Tical (and the subsequent Tical-themed titles that came after). And while 4:21 may be an improvement over his previous releases, Method Man's not quite the funny yet insightful rapper he was on his debut. To his credit, however, there are still some pretty good tracks on the album, including "Say," with a Lauryn Hill-covering-Bob Marley sample; "Dirty Mef," which has a verse from deceased Clansman Ol' Dirty Bastard; and "Walk On" featuring cohort Redman, and when Method Man spits out "Me and my soldier, we're taking over/taking payola from all those stations and record labels" over a beat by RZA and Erick Sermon (both of whom appear multiple times), you almost believe that he's going to make a comeback. Unfortunately, there are enough songs on 4:21 that are so utterly boring that the claim of redemption can't be made quite yet. "Got to Have It" is trite and almost hypocritical; the balladic "Let's Ride," which features a chorus from Ginuwine, is completely uninventive; and the closer, "4 Ever," with labelmate Megan Rochell, sounds as if it's trying to capture the energy he and Mary J. Blige had on "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," but ends up seeming more like an empty radio track. There is some good production on the album (besides RZA and Erick Sermon, Scott Storch, Kwamé "K1Mil" and Mathematics all contribute beats), and there are some decent verses as well, both from Method Man and his myriad of guest stars, but they're lacking some of the punch and ingenuity of Tical. Longtime fans should be happy to hear that he's sounding better, but he's going to have to keep making improvements if he wants to win over many new ones.
AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown
feat: Ol' Dirty Bastard
feat: Megan Rochelle