Beckwith: Method Man and Redman: Time 4 sum Aspen
January 30, 2018
Aspenites all have their favorite Belly Up Aspen shows. If you ask a group of friends, it quickly turns into a one-upping contest.
"Oh, you saw Jane's Addiction? Well Al Green invited me onstage."
"That's cool. One time, after Jurassic 5, Chali 2na and I got high on their tour bus."
"That's almost as impressive as the time STS9 asked me to get them molly."
I've had my moments — Black Star, Jurassic 5, Black Pistol Fire, last week's Big Boi show — but now I have my Ecuadorian salsa trump card.
The Method Man & Redman show at Belly Up Aspen on Jan. 24 is that piece de resistance.
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I wasn't going to write about it after drooling all over the page/Big Boi in my last column because, frankly, I didn't think they could top it. I was wrong. Fantastically wrong. I was as wrong as the guy who said the internet was a fad or that ski blading would be the next winter recreation staple.
We showed up early because I didn't want to miss a second of a show that cost me $85, or as I like to call it, a week's budget. We staked out spots close to the stage, which was easy because the opener was an electronic DJ with the charisma of a Quaker Rice Cake.
When he mercifully played his last drop, Meth and Red's DJs came out and got the crowd hyped as fast as you can play Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says." That's kind of when I knew I was in for a Mount Rushmore-level show. The DJs turned on the hip-hop Bat Signal and the dance floor immediately went from weekday-bus busy to X Games "I will fight you to catch this next bus home" busy.
Then it happened. It was like you took two decades of fandom and music, cooked it down into liquid form and mainlined it for an hour and half. I knew Redman's "Time 4 Sum Aksion" probably banged hard live but I didn't know it also made you delirious. Method Man's self-titled song — the only song I've ever looked up lyrics to and attempted to memorize/rap — was perfection.
Meth: "I got myself a …"
Meth: " And I got myself a …"
Meth: "And I'm about to go and …"
Crowd: "Stick it!"
Meth: "Yes, I'm about to go and …"
Crowd: "Stick it!"
My raspy, lifelong smoker-esque voice the following day had me sounding like I was about to ask you for a Virginia Slim before making passes at ladies in a bowling alley. I'm sure The X Games performance was good and, from what I gathered via the Aspen Times' Andrew Travers' review of the X show, they played similar sets, but you can't overstate how perfect Belly Up is for good hip-hop.
Is it located underground or somewhere very dark? Yes.
Is it small enough to get the production-to-vocals ratio right? Yes.
Do the performers get booted after smoking an L on stage? No.
When they did "Da Rockwilder" for an encore, I almost forgot they hadn't played it yet. We were treated to a barrage of some of the finest, funkiest, scream-inducing tracks feasible. When Method Man did "C.R.E.A.M." he rapped Raekwon's verse like he wrote it. Redman's "Pick It Up" opened the show with the eternal question, "If you find a bag of weed on the ground, what the f— you gonna do?" (The answer is in the title.) The cover of Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" featured a heart-warming couple of words for the fallen Dirt McGirt.
We were so close to the stage that when Redman asked where are my dogs at, Meth shoved his mic in front of my roommate and he proceeded to bark like he was an extra in "Who Let the Dogs Out?" — which was definitely not played. I would've been mad about getting splashed from Johnny Blaze whipping water at the crowd but, by the end of the show, his hat was sweating. Well that and, by the end of the show, I welcomed a splash of water. I almost caught his towel but it was snatched right before it got to me like an outfielder robbing a homerun from a fan.
If I were to rank the Method Man & Redman show alongside other concerts, not just at Belly Up but all time, it would be top three, maybe No. 1. (It's Chance the Rapper at Red Rocks, The Black Keys in Las Vegas, Black Star at Belly Up and Method Man & Redman in some order.)
However, when some bro new to Aspen boasts about some faceless EDM act feverishly pressing buttons, I have my ace of spades.
"So at what point during the set did the guy come out from behind the computer and crowd surf? Oh, he didn't? What a shame. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I helped Funk Doctor Spock and Method Man crowd surf? Well, that happened."
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor for The Aspen Times. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.