finding out how high with method man and redman!
“Damn Johnny, you blinging today,” an over-excited Redman directs at his partner. Sporting a Gucci sweatsuit and matching Gucci-custom made boots, Johnny (one of Method Man’s many aliases-short for Johnny Blaze) sits patiently in the trailer, waiting to shoot the next scene in the duo’s “Part II” video. The blinging Redman speaks of is coming from Meth’s obviously expensive jewelry, two diamond dressed bracelets reminiscent of the Wonder Twins power bracelets from the Super Friends cartoon. Munching on a fast food lunch, Meth looks up with a smile. Rap has been good to him, but his film career is about to be better.
For both Method Man and Redman, How High marks their first leading roles in a major motion picture. Directed by Jesse Dylan, the son of folk singer Bob Dylan, the comedy features the rappers as college students who aced their entrance exams and got accepted to Harvard. They have to keep their good grades up to stay enrolled. “I can’t tell y’all about the movie,” Redman begins, wearing a doo-rag dressed with two interlocking black and white headbands. “But we run out of the same thing that helped us get into college. And the movie is about us trying to maintain.” The brainpower Redman won’t admit is a special home-grown weed that makes them smarter. Meth and Red have no problem getting into character for this modern-day
Cheech and Chong flick.
What is it about you two that works so well together? When asked the question, the two rappers look at each other for the answer. Then, as if rehearsed, they laugh together. “Weed,” Redman blurts out.
The film’s subject matter was inevitable. What else could it be about? Their first collaboration effort, the single “How High,” was premised upon the same thing. Individually signed to their own solo deals on Def Jam, the two rappers had a similar rhyme style and persona. The label figured putting them on a record together might be beneficial to both of their careers. The result, however, was better than they thought. And after the single, fans waited for more from hip-hop’s dynamic duo. Then, almost two years after the song, they released the album Blackout!, which spawned the hits “Da Rockwilder” and “Y.O.U.” The album went platinum, and introduced both Method Man and Redman to the pop culture audience. “After we recorded the single, the response was so good, we decided to give the people what they wanted,” Method Man stated. “And even after the album, the people still wanted more.”
Method Man is no new jack to the big screen. Though most of his roles have been small parts, he’s tried his hand at acting more than once, and for the most part, he has received praise for his performances. From a memorable role in Belly to a recurring part in the hit HBO TV-series OZ, Method Man has shown his potential to crossover into acting, Will Smith-style. But he has no intentions to abandon the musical career that has paved the way for his current success. “Of course, we want to do more movies, because we want to get more paychecks,” Meth sarcastically responds, holding his head steady while his hair gets braided. In addition to the Method Man and Redman projects, the Iron Lung- as he also calls himself-has his own solo album coming out next year, as well as the fourth Wu-Tang LP, currently set to drop at the end of the year. For now, it would seem as if the acting would have to take a back seat. Still, Meth speaks about the film and his character with much excitement. “Me and Silas is the same person. What you see is what you get. And we’re both assholes.”
“Security. Where’s my security?” Redman asks. Immediately, two young girls surround him, waiting for his next order. Redman doesn’t need a bodyguard to walk him around; today, the kids will do just fine. Red’s security team follows him as he signs autographs for fans hanging out around the video shoot. “If y’all are going to be my security, you have to be next to me every second. I need y’all to have my back.” He begins to make his way back to his trailer, but not before he frisks two newcomers to the set. “Wait, let me make sure y’all are clean.”
Never out of character, Redman constantly jokes around. Meanwhile, the kids have no problem playing along with him, and acting as his security. Redman is always on stage, the center of attention. That personality helped make playing Jamal King easy. “Jamal is not a flashy character. He’s a momma’s boy. His momma was always on his back, and the college thing made his mother happy,” Red describes. Though he has made brief appearances in the films Ride and Boriqua’s Bond, How High is only the beginning for the Funk Doc, who intends on following in his partner’s footsteps. “Meth is a great actor.” As Red compliments him, Meth looks over his shoulder at Red, squinting his eyes to show his disbelief. Red laughs.
“How High, Part II,” produced by Erick Sermon, is one of many tracks from the movie’s soundtrack, which is a combination of Meth and Red collabos as well as songs featured in the movie. The album features production by Rockwilder, Scott Storch, Hi-Tek, and guest appearances from Cypress Hill. It will hit streets a couple of weeks before the film’s December 21st release. Just in time for the holidays.
Filmed almost a year ago, Red reminisces on putting in so much time to make the movie. It was an extreme contrast to the late nights spent at the studio. “I remember waking up in the morning,” he says disgusted. “Jesse Dylan put us on point when we were off though,” Red thankfully recognizes the film’s director. “No, he didn’t,” Meth replies, only to play devil’s advocate. Trading lines in conversation like they do on wax, and now on camera, Red chimes in, right on cue, “Yes, he did.”
+ charlie craine