Legendary member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man, wraps up his latest music trilogy with Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab. The 12-track, third installment in the Meth Lab series percolates nostalgia and attacks listeners with its ultra-rappy, hyper-lyrical verses. Including all of the classic hip-hop tropes, any true “head” has grown familiar with over the years, from the straightforward format of each song to the vocal doubles layered under the last words of every bar; this album immediately feels as though you’ve entered a time machine upon listening.
Although the punchlines and schemes are absolutely on point, as they always are with Mr. Mef, the construction of each song and the album as a whole leaves quite a bit to be desired. Including features on every track except for two, “Guillotine,” and “Training Day,” the album is definitely lacking that one stand-out song, chorus, or production to accompany Meth’s iconic cadences and tones. Furthermore, there were only a few references throughout the project that felt current and relevant, with the majority of the rhymes coming across as purposefully retro. In close comparison: Nas’ last three releases between 2020 and 2021, all did an incredible job of blending that gully, late 90’s, East Coast style with modern artists and frequencies.
Meth Lab 3, however, if thrown into a shuffle of Hip-Hop songs from the early 2000s, would not be distinguishable as something created two decades later. This effort seems intentional, which is expected as Meth has never strayed far from his roots, but renders the album as more of a mixtape. Even though I did enjoy experiencing the album, there were no songs that made me feel like I had to give it a relisten. With awesome features and lyrics from legends like KRS-One, Jadakiss, and Iron Mic shining on Meth Lab 3, the overall engineering of the album wasn’t of the same calibre. That old-school, vinyl sound was captured and is definitely a positive for an album of this ilk. However, unfortunately, a lot of the verses weren’t mixed properly with volume levels being out of whack. This is especially noticeable in the song “Training Day” as Method Man’s vocals were drowned out by the intense beat he raps over. Overall, this album is great for old-school, boom bap fans who enjoy a good throwback but will not be considered a “must listen” in the annals of hip-hop history.