Wu-Tang Clan “Triumph” (1997)
Producer: The RZA
Album: Wu-Tang Forver
Method Man: “It was a lot of energy in the room when we did ‘Triumph.’ We did it at Ray Parker Jr.’s studio. I remember we had two studios in there, so some dudes would be over here doing this and some dudes would be over there doing that. But in the beginning, we were all in one studio doing ‘Triumph.’
“Deck went first, killed it. I went in and did my verse. It was the same order [as recording ‘Protect Ya Neck’]. Nobody was moved around. As far as Ol’ Dirty goes, once we hit Cali you couldn’t find that nigga. When we got him in the studio, we tried to throw him in as much shit as we could.
'Triumph’ was like, all the pressure of the name being bigger than the group and everybody smelling themselves and thinking they were bigger than they really was. You can hear all that on ‘Triumph.’ By the middle of the album, focus was being lost.
“Dirty, he was the motherfucking star. He was able to handle all the cameras and all that, he was ready for all that shit. Not saying that I wasn’t, I enjoyed what I did. I wasn’t walking around uncomfortable all the time.
“‘Triumph’ was like, all the pressure of the name being bigger than the group and everybody smelling themselves and thinking they were bigger than they really was. You can hear all that on ‘Triumph.’ By the middle of the album, focus was being lost.
“I’m speaking for myself, not my crew. My focus was lost by the middle of the album and my heart just wasn’t in it like it used to be. I don’t regret anything that I did, but I wish I would’ve been a little more focused on the shit that really mattered at that point in time.
“I started feeling uncomfortable around the cameras. I started feeling uncomfortable around crowds and in party atmospheres. I just didn’t like it. You can get a moment of clarity when you’re at your highest point—when you’re fucked up and you high and something hits you like an epiphany. My epiphany was seeing all these motherfuckers doing the same thing every night in every club and in every video.
“It became like, ‘What the fuck is this frivolous bullshit?’ It’s like going in the club and knowing what somebody answer is gonna be when you say, ‘What’s up my G?—‘Everything is all good’ or ‘It ain’t nothing to a playa.’ I did not want to be a part of that shit no more.
As far as Ol’ Dirty goes, once we hit Cali you couldn’t find that nigga. When we got him in the studio, we tried to throw him in as much shit as we could. Dirty, he was the motherfucking star. He was able to handle all the cameras and all that, he was ready for all that shit.
“All I was talking about was smoke this, party that, and all this shit. Is that really what this shit is about? I’m not really about that shit. I want to do something different. I don’t want to conform and be the same like the rest of these motherfuckers.
“It started looking that way to me. I think I was the first one to stop wearing throwbacks. I’m not giving up the du-rag though because I was the first nigga to bring them back. Fuck that! I’m serious.
“It always felt to me like everybody was fronting and acting bigger than what they actually were. For me to be around them, it looked like I was doing the same thing. Let’s say you sitting in a room and you know you washed your ass today. Picture you sitting there and a bunch of funky niggas is in there with you. Now a chick walks in. When she walks in, all she see is a bunch of funky niggas.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I did. That’s why when I was doing [movies and TV], I was cool. But when it came to extra stuff—red carpet, award shows, and things like that. That’s when I was like, ‘Whoa. I have to take a step back.’
“When we first came in, I used to look forward to going to the Jack The Rapper’s [Convention] and shit like that so I could see all these niggas face-to-face and see if it was really real. All of them was real cool, but then it got to the point where I started feeling uncomfortable because now I’m that nigga. They looking at me the way I used to look at them. So now I’m uncomfortable because I don’t like being under the microscope.
I think I was the first one to stop wearing throwbacks. I’m not giving up the du-rag though because I was the first nigga to bring them back. Fuck that! I’m serious.
“I don’t even like eating in restaurants in front of people that know me. If nobody knows me in the restaurant and I don’t see anyone staring, then I can eat. If I think someone knows me, then I can’t do it. It’s something funny about that. I don’t like the attention.
“It’s cool to sell the records and all that shit, but I don’t like being on display. Another thing that used to piss me off is when I used to be around Russell Simmons or Kevin Liles and they used to refer to us as ‘their artists.’ I hated that shit.
“But as the career progressed on, the way we was coming into the game and looking at niggas a certain way, now other niggas is coming in the game looking at us a certain way. I’m not comfortable with that. Only real niggas will see shit in that perspective because they came from a real nigga perspective when they stepped in the door.
“That’s why they say real recognize real because a nigga will see it out the corner of his eye, like, ‘Yeah, this nigga sizing me up and shit. I remember I used to do that shit.’ I’m not comfortable with that. I’m a little quick on the trigger, and I’m not talking about guns—I’m talking about these hands man.
Another thing that used to piss me off is when I used to be around Russell Simmons or Kevin Liles and they used to refer to us as ‘their artists.’ I hated that shit.
“God forbid I have to put my hands on anybody because then it’s lawsuits and who knows. I can get hurt and they can get hurt. I just don’t like resorting to that shit right there. But feeling uncomfortable makes you resort to shit like that.
“I don’t go to any of the parties. I just stay in my room and meditate and write instead of hanging out at the parties. To this day—Redman will tell you, he goes to the afterparties—I’ll never go to after parties unless I’m being paid. If you see me in that afterparty, a nigga paid me! I wanted [the attention] in the beginning, but not in the sense of ‘everybody’s watching’.”