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Method Man

Of the 7 trillion (and counting) members of the Wu Tang Clan, Method Man has always shown the most promise. From the get-go, the sandpaper-throated roughneck dazzled, with an exuberant flow and one head-spinning turn of phrase after another. His debut solo outing was a stunner, but Meth has never recovered from Tical 2000's sophomore slump.

After years of cameos and half-baked cinematic crapola, Meth returns with a record that makes that God-awful How High flick look like a work of inspired genius. The rapper reportedly butted heads with Def Jam over Prequel's final track listing. Let's hope so, because Prequel isn't just scattered; it pisses in the wind. Over 17 tracks, there are almost as many producers, and all but four of the songs feature another MC, elbowing Meth right out of his own album. Occasionally, the strategy works, such as on "What's Happening," a spirited romp with Atlanta motormouth Ludacris. But Meth mostly sits in the corner, spitting paper-thin retreads of his classic verses and letting everyone else do the talking. Meth reportedly has cleaned up his act in recent years. If that's the case, someone needs to pass the man a bong before he steps to the mic again. -- Geoff Harkness

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