Tical is the debut studio album by American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man. It was released November 15, 1994, by Def Jam Records. It was the first Wu-Tang solo album released after the group's debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Similar to all first generation solo Wu-Tang projects, Tical was mainly produced by group member RZA, who provided a dark, murky and rugged sound. The album features guest appearances from RZA, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, as well as several affiliates, who would later appeared on the future group projects. The album's title "Tical" is a slang term for a blunt that has been laced with an adulterant, typically a sweetener or another psychoactive substance. The album title is also a play on the word "methodical". On October 5, 2017, Method Man revealed on the Viceland talk show Desus and Mero that Tical is an acronym for "taking into consideration all lives."[19]

Tical was a commercial success, reaching number 4 on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. On January 18, 1995, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and on July 13, 1995, the record was certified platinum for the shipment of one million copies in the United States. The success for the album was driven by two singles: "Bring the Pain" and "I'll Be There for You / You're All I Need to Get By". The album has since been hailed by several music critics as a classic hip hop album. Its success is matched by its influence as a major piece in the East coast hip hop renaissance.

Background

In 1991, rapper GZA assisted Method Man in shopping him to label executives at Cold Chillin' Records.[3] Though this would turn out to be unsuccessful, he formed the Wu-Tang Clan with his cousins RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Method Man was included in the group. Method Man went on to perform on eight of the twelve tracks on the group's acclaimed 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and even had a solo song entitled "Method Man". That song as well as "C.R.E.A.M.", on which he performed the chorus line, reached #69 and #60 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. These two songs had higher chart positions than any other tracks on the album, and thus caused much anticipation for Method Man's solo career. At the time of Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Method Man's rhymes, charisma, and smooth, deep voice made him the group's most visible, popular member.[3]

With the exception of "Sub Crazy" and "P.L.O. Style", which were co-produced by 4th Disciple and Method Man respectively, group member RZA produced Tical in its entirety - leading Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic to refer to the album as "a two-man show". As with the rest of the first round of Wu-Tang albums, RZA would recreate the distinct "Shaolin" sound while tailoring it to the featured rapper. On Tical, his production was especially gritty, dark and murky, complementing both Method Man's distinctly smooth-yet-rugged voice and his raps of cannabis smoking, project love, and traditional hardcore hip hop lyricism. During this time period of the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA was the sole provider of beats for all of its members, whom he would then have battle over the rights to record over them. This competitive approach to quality control would result in Tical's "Meth vs. Chef", a recorded battle between Method Man and Raekwon.[3] "Meth vs. Chef" was recorded in 1993 before RZA's 36 Chambers Studios was flooded, destroying reportedly fifteen beats per Wu-Tang Clan rapper.[3] Many of the beats for Tical would be hastily recreated, and mixed.[3]

Singles

In 1994 the lead single "Bring the Pain" (backed with "P.L.O. Style") was released. "Bring the Pain" was a RZA-produced track with an understated but funky groove, capped with the ragga vocals of Booster. The single would reach number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the Hot Dance chart. The follow-up single, 1995's "Release Yo' Delf", was a more upbeat track, and featured Wu-affiliate Blue Raspberry singing an interpolation of Gloria Gaynor's disco anthem, "I Will Survive". "Release Yo' Delf" reached number 98 on the Hot 100, failing to match the success of "Bring The Pain". Tical however, remains the only Method Man album with two singles reaching the Billboard Hot 100.

To continue the album's promotion, "All I Need" was remixed and released as a single in the summer of 1995 as "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By". There are two remixes of this song: "Razor Sharp Mix" by the RZA, and the remix by Puff Daddy, both featuring Mary J. Blige. RZA's version proved to be more successful, with its accompanying music video aiding the song to reach number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the Hot Rap, Dance and R&B charts. "Razor Sharp Mix" also won the two a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996.

Reception

Initial reaction

Tical was well received by most music critics. Tracy E. Hopkins from Entertainment Weekly stated "Method Man proves to be one of rap's most formidable players. On his solo outing, Tical, the Wu-Tang Clan's standout MC wages lyrical warfare. His gripping rhymes creep out of the darkness and take listeners hostage".[8] Melody Maker wrote "Meth comes correct with this beamed-down-from-Planet-Mars making music that's way darker and more disorienting than was previously thought possible".[9] NME commented "The East coast hip hop renaissance continues apace... supremely laid-back, mooching along at a bass-weighted amble, whether it's framing the monogamous lover's lament of "All I Need" or the 'I Will Survive' hook of "Release Yo Self".[9]

Rolling Stone praised the album's singles, but stated "It's with its heaviest numbers that Tical delivers the primo goods".[9] Writing for The Source, Mitchell Pierce described the album's production as "dark bass and distorted wails that sound like someone is being hacked to death". Pierce concluded "Tical combines verbal terrorism, tenebrous grooves and home-demo lunacy to produce a gritty production". Michael A. Gonzales from Vibe magazine described Tical as "Incredible", and further stated "The production wizardry and vocal complexity build with each listen."

Retrospect

Although Tical failed to achieve the critical success of several other Wu-Tang solo albums of its era, such as Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... and Liquid Swords, it has acquired a fair amount of acclaim over the years from various music writers and publications. In 1996, Select magazine ranked it number 28 on their 100 Best Albums of the 90s list,[11] and in 1999, Ego Trip ranked it number 12 on their list of greatest hip-hop albums released in 1994.[11]

In a later review for Tical, Jason Birchmeier from Allmusic praised Method Man's charisma and RZA's production and stated "Tical strictly spotlights the group's two stars and does so with refreshingly straightforward flair. There's none of the epic overreaching that mars so many rap albums of the era; rather, there's just over a dozen tracks here, and they're filled to the brim with rhymes and beats and little else; no pop-crossover concessions, nor any heady experimentation for the sake of experimentation. Just good ol'-fashioned hip-hop, albeit with a dark, deranged twist". In 2005, Robert Dimery included Tical on his list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and in 2008, Tom Moon included it on his 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die list.[11]

Track listing

All tracks produced by RZA, with tracks 7 and 9 co-produced by 4th Disciple and Method Man.

No.TitleLength
1."Tical"3:57
2."Biscuits"2:50
3."Bring the Pain"3:10
4."All I Need"3:16
5."What the Blood Clot"3:25
6."Meth vs. Chef" (featuring Raekwon)3:36
7."Sub Crazy"2:14
8."Release Yo' Delf" (featuring Blue Raspberry)4:15
9."P.L.O. Style" (featuring Carlton Fisk)2:36
10."I Get My Thang in Action"3:46
11."Mr. Sandman" (featuring RZA, Inspectah Deck, Streetlife, Carlton Fisk and Blue Raspberry)3:38
12."Stimulation"3:46
13."Method Man (Remix)"3:16

Notes

Personnel

Charts and certifications

Charts

Chart (1994)Peak
position
US Billboard 200[20]4
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[21]50
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[22]1

Certifications

RegionCertificationCertified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[23]Platinum1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Accolades

  • The information regarding accolades is adapted from acclaimedmusic.net,[11]except for lists with additional sources.
  • (*) signifies unordered lists
PublicationCountryAccoladeYearRank
Ego TripUnited StatesHip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980-98199912
MuzikUnited KingdomAlbums of the Year199411
NMEAlbums of the Year199440
PopSwedenAlbums of the Year19943
QUnited KingdomAlbums of the Year1994*
50 Heaviest Albums of All Time[9]2001*
Robert DimeryUnited States1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die2005*
Rock de LuxSpainAlbums of the Year199429
SelectUnited KingdomThe 100 Best Albums of the 90s199628
Albums of the Year199418
Tom MoonUnited States1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die2008*

See also