Method Man And Redman: A History Of The Duo

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Krush Groove 2018
(L-R) Rappers Redman and Method Man of Wu Tang Clan perform onstage during the KDay 93.5 Krush Groove concert. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

A 20 year friendship between hiphop legends.

Method Man and Redman. Two names that hold enormous weight in the hiphop industry. These two hip hop heavyweights made their debut during the Golden Era in the 90’s. While separately there is no denying their greatness, over the past two decades, they have become synonymous with one another.

Having become somewhat recognized as a package deal in the entertainment industry, many have speculated whether the two MC’s were actually related due to their similar names and incredibly close relationship. Though the two are not related, it is only fair to wonder given the amount of other industry stars that actually are. Artists such as GZA, RZA and ODB are all related and created the very Wu-Tang Clan that Method Man is a part of. Though the pair have accumulated plenty of aliases over the years such as Meth & Red, Red & Mef, John Blaze and Funk Doc, they very much broke into the industry on their own accord.

On Their Own

Method Man (L) and Redman of Redman & Method Man perform during the Pemberton Music Festival. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic)

Clifford Smith, Jr. Is better known by his stage name Method Man. He was born March 2, 1971 in Hempstead, Long Island. Smith divided his childhood between his father's Long Island residence and his mother's home in Clifton. During those years, he hung out and rapped with Robert Diggs (now known by the names Prince Rakeem, or the RZA) and his cousins Gary Grice (the Genius, or GZA) and Russell Jones (Ol’ Dirty Bastard).

Some years later, Diggs and Grice, after suffering recording industry setbacks, gathered old friends Jones and Smith along with newcomers Dennis Coles (Ghostface Killah), Jason Hunter (Inspectah Deck), Lamont Hawkins (U-God), and Raekwon to form the Wu-Tang Clan in 1991. And after some practice, they were considered the best crew of MCs in the neighborhood.  He took his stage name from the 1979 film Method Man. Meanwhile, while the Wu-Tang was being formed on Staten Island, Redman’s roots began in Newark, New Jersey. Reginald Noble is best known by his stage name Redman. Growing up he was raised in Newark, New Jersey and attended West Side High School. Which was an experience he described as "off the hook".

How Method Man Got His Start

He was later expelled from Montclair State University his freshman year due to poor academic performance. At the time having no other options, Redman then went back home to live with his mother, who kicked him out of her house for selling drugs. Roughly two years later, when he was 18 years old Redman became a DJ-MC who went by the name "DJ Kut-Killa". During that time he would  freestyle over funk and hip hop instrumentals that were spun on vinyl records in various parks and house parties around New York and New Jersey.

Eventually, he was discovered by Erick Sermon of the legendary hip hop group EPMD. A few months after moving in with Sermon, Redman went out on tour with EPMD. While on tour with them he did everything from carrying their bags to coming out on stage and doing rap freestyles. In 1990, during one of their shows in New York, Redman was invited onstage by Erick Sermon where he delivered a rap freestyle that was life changing. He freestyled a song describing himself as a rapper using every letter in the alphabet, from A to Z. After his performance, Redman began production with Erick Sermon on his first major label album.

The Dynamic Duo

Rappers Method Man and Redman perform during the Budlight Event 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)

The duo have known each other long before they both signed with Def Jam records. They actually met for the first time at a Kris Kross release party in the very early 90’s. In 1994 during their time under the same label they met again on tour. And then again in 1995 in a recording studio while working with 2Pac. The pair recorded "Got My Mind Made Up" for his multi-platinum album All Eyez on Me.

During an interview Redman explained what touring together was like and how it solidified the pair’s friendship. He explained, “Every time when we roll together, I’m the music man. I put the music on or whatever. We listen to s**t that everyone can vibe to whether it’s beats or old school, whatever. I’m kinda the DJ. So, when we was riding in the vans at that time doing promotion, that’s real promotion, we had some songs written.

They Started Making Music Together

He continued and said, "That’s how I can say how the Red and Meth brand came about was from us being on the road when Def Jam put us there. They placed that scene I would say. They mapped out that scene for us to be on the road. It was up to us, organically, to make the Red and Meth brand happen because it could’ve went another way. It could’ve went like, ‘Alright, I ain’t f***in’ with this n***a. Or I ain’t f***in’ with this n***a.’ And we could’ve just went on about our business after that promo tour. But after that promo tour, I threw them beats on and we literally connected through the music organically, and we came back home like real good friends and ready to say, ‘You know what? Let’s do an album.'”

After this, they had a few friendly freestyle battles against each other on the 90’s TV show, “Yo! MTV Raps”, which ultimately led to their collaborative debut single "How High" in 1995. In 2001 the rappers teamed up to star in the stoner classic coincidentally also titled, “How High”. In the film, Redman and Method Man portray two cannabis users who are visited by the ghost of a deceased friend after smoking his ashes. The ghost helps with their exams, and they receive scholarships to Harvard University. While the movie did not receive the best reviews, it goes down as one of the top stoner films of all time. 

What Are They Doing Now?

I(L-R) Rappers Method Man of Wu Tang Clan and Redman perform onstage during the KDay 93.5 Krush Groove concert. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

While the pair’s last official album, “Blackout 2!” was released in 2009, neither of them have stayed out of the spotlight. Singularly or collectively. As recently as 2022 the two had released music. A track titled, “Live From the Meth Lab”. Which featured Method Man, Redman, Hiphop legend KRS-one and Jojo Pellegrino. Although neither of them have released an album alone or together in a few years, it is not because of a rift between them at all. They have had and continue to have much love for one another. Although they are not blood brothers address each other and refer to one another as such on and off cameras.

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