Method Man Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Notorious B.I.G. f/ Method Man “The What” (1994)

Producer: Easy Mo Bee

Album: Ready To Die

Label: Bad Boy

Method Man: “We were in Atlantic City and ran into Guru of Gang Starr. He was with this kid name Dan Smalls, whom I used to work with at the Statue of Liberty. Guess who he’s working for? Uptown Records. He’s like, “I’ve got a CD for you. It’s the Who’s The Man? Soundtrack, but I want you to listen to my man. It’s a single called ‘Party & Bullshit.’” I listened to that shit, I was like, ‘Ri-diculous. This nigga’s insane!’ But then I didn’t hear nothing of it after that.

 

It was like when you see a great movie and the credits are rolling, but you’re sitting there reading the credits, because the movie was just so fucking good. Even when the lights come on you’re still a little reluctant to get out of your seat, because you want to savor that experience. That’s how I felt when I heard ‘Me And My Bitch.’

 

“Long story short, my man Raider Ruckus was like, ‘Yo, you need to do a song with this Biggie dude.’ There goes that name again. I’m like, ‘Yeah? Why?’ He’s like, ‘He’s got this song called ‘Me And My Bitch,’ here’s the tape.’ So I take the tape, play the shit, and I listen to the record.

“It was like when you see a great movie and the credits are rolling, but you’re sitting there reading the credits, because the movie was just so fucking good. You’re sitting there until the last credit rolls out, and even when the lights come on you’re still a little reluctant to get out of your seat, because you want to savor that experience. That’s how I felt when I heard ‘Me And My Bitch.’

“Then, we did a show at The Muse and I met Biggie. I remember because he had the Big shirt on that he wore in the ‘Juicy’ video. He walked up to me and he had a scarf around his head trying to cover up the eyeball bag. He had it pulled it down and he was like, ‘Yo, I’m Big. I’m trying to do this record with you.’ I was like, ‘Yo, I’m with it. Whenever you want to do it.’ He was like, ‘Alright, cool. I’ll be in touch.’

“At that time, nobody had cell phones so we didn’t exchange numbers. But Tracy Waples—who got me my deal at Def Jam—was the bridge that got me in the studio with Big. On the way to the studio, she was playing the album and she was saying every song on there was ridiculous.

“I thought she was fucking fronting [Laughs.] I was like, ‘That’s why we don’t trust industry motherfuckers. Whatever, motherfucker. You’s an industry motherfucker. You don’t know nothing.’ She wasn’t fronting. Tracy knows her shit.

 

Contrary to what everybody thinks, Big sat there and wrote his verse on paper. I sat down and I wrote my shit on paper. The reason I know this is because he told me, ‘I need you to say this line right here.’ I was like, ‘What line, Big?’ He was like, ‘I’ve got more Glocks and tecs than you / I make it hot, niggas won’t even stand next to you.’ I was like, ‘I got you.’

 

“We get to the studio. Puffy wants to play torture. I remember I said something to him, ‘I’ll fucking liquidate all your fucking assets.’ It was a good one. Puff’s always been a cool brother. I’ve never seen him uncomfortable, with the exception of the Source Awards. [Laughs.] He kind of stammered a little when he went up there like, ‘I’m the artist that umm...umm.’

“Contrary to what everybody thinks, Big sat there and wrote his verse on paper. I sat down and I wrote my shit on paper. The reason I know this is because he told me, ‘I need you to say this line right here.’ I was like, ‘What line, Big?’ He was like, ‘I’ve got more Glocks and tecs than you / I make it hot, niggas won’t even stand next to you.’ I was like, ‘I got you.’

“After he did that with me, when I wrote my second verse, I was like, ‘Damn, now I gotta put him in my verse and shit.’ So, ‘Stop, look and listen,’ was all I had for him. That shit was done fast and shit.

“Next thing I know, I hear it on the radio. I’m like, ‘Whoa. Niggas feeling that shit? Wait until they hear this shit.’ I knew Big had some shit on his album so I was like, ‘They’re going to lose they fucking minds!’

 

Fuck me and Big, Raekwon and Big would have been Watch The Throne.

 

“Rae and Ghost weren’t really rocking with Big. But me and Big were cool. Anytime we were all in the same area and my goons would go by and not say shit to the nigga, he would still speak. That’s why I loved the nigga.

“I would go over to Big and be like, ‘What’s good, my nigga?’ and kick it with him. I knew the shit bothered him but he never showed me that it bothered him. In the same sense, I showed him that, ‘Look, that’s how certain individuals feel and shit, but me and you, we good.’ I think he respected that shit.

“If you look in hindsight, Rae’s done a fucking joint dedicated to Biggie. He’s saying in the record, ‘It wasn’t even that we ain’t like you, nigga. It was the competition at the point in time.’ That’s exactly what it was.

“They weren’t rocking with him and it was just the competition of the moment. Rae is the same type of nigga he was. If anything, I think them niggas should have done a joint together. Fuck me and Big, Rae and Big would have been Watch The Throne.

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