On March 2nd, RZA broke the news that the Wu-Tang’s latest album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and not made available to the general public until 2103. The purchasing of this earth-shattering album apparently comes with an 88-year “non commercialization” cause; common amongst … absolutely no one in the history of music.
Naturally, the Internet erupted. And as the cyclical cycle ambled onward many people began hurling their opinions, hot-takes, knee-jerk reactions, and, on occasion, carefully reasoned “think pieces.”
But the only response that really matters is the one by Clifford “Method Man” Smith, a founding member of the infamous East Coast hip-hop collective. He said, in not so obscure language, “That shit is fuckin stupid. Fuck that album, if that’s what they are doing.”
However, no Wu-Tang related business was discussed when we sat down with Smith, who appears to be more interested in acting than making music these days. In fact, this week you can see him in theaters playing a local gangster in The Cobbler, a fantasy fable about a shoe repairman who literally has the ability to walk in other people’s shoes.
Before knocking out our Lucky 7, Method Man explained his love for The Cobbler, working with Adam Sandler, and why he doesn’t badmouth young rappers.
What about the movies of Tom McCarthy spoke to you as an actor?
I got the script the day before I met him. I’m a comic book guy and it gave me that kind of feel. You have the origin story, then the actual story, and then there’s an open ending for more stories, more adventures with this cobbler guy. This guy literally walks in other people’s shoes, and chaos ensues. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that, especially when you hear names likes Adam Sandler, Ellen Barkin, Steve Buscemi, Dustin Hoffman?
Was it daunting working with these revered actors?
I knew my only scenes would be with Ellen and Adam primarily. And I can’t forget Dascha Polanco from Orange is the New Black. By the time I got on set with Adam we were already cool because we had done rehearsals before that. Dascha’s just so down to earth – both of them really. Ellen always smells nice. Adam is the kind of guy you go to the game with and talk sports. There was no pressure once I got on set.
What’s next for you?
More acting. I’m focusing more on the acting than the music right now. Honestly, no one wants to be a 50-year-old rapper. This is a young man’s sport. I give it to them. That’s why I can’t knock what’s going on with the music now because obviously someone is listening, someone likes it. So let them have it. Let them run with it. If they want to turn up, let them turn up. Who are we to turn it down? We sound like our parents, “Turn that shit down! Don’t want to hear all that crap!” Nah man, let em’ live. Shit, I know I had fun when I was in it. I’m still having fun. Let them kids live, let them have fun.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
Oh, shit. Well we didn’t have Playboy. It was a black household. I don’t remember the names but we had black porn up in there. My little exposure to any kind of half-porn was probably a Funkadelic album. Dr. Funkenstein and stuff life that.
What movie scared you the most when you were a child?
Friday the 13th and I hadn’t even seen it. It was the way my cousin described it. It scared the shit out of me. I didn’t want to meet Jason. I was about six, seven years old. He gave detail for detail how people were dying. You gotta remember this was the 2nd slasher flick behind Halloween. I think Halloween came first and then Jason. And it wasn’t even actually Jason. But the name Jason was so prevalent. I was like, “Woah who the fuck is this?” I’ve seen it since then. I’m a big horror movie addict.
What is your pop culture blind spot?
I think I should’ve seen Boyhood by now. As far as music, who had a great album? Oh, Drake! If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Haven’t listened to that yet.
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Freedom. Can’t have that right? Maybe pussy.
What was your first car?
Toyota. A 4-Runner. I was in love with that truck. It was bought with my first big hip-hop check from Wu-Tang. And it was in my sister’s name because I didn’t have a license. Never got pulled over in that car, though. It had black tints on it, rims, golden trimmings, wood panels. Poppin!
What was the first song you knew all the words to?
“Sucker MC’s.” Don’t even ask me now, I can’t … go through that whole shit.
What was your favorite mistake?
Not finishing high school. That was one of my biggest mistakes. Four years ago I got my GED so I’m good. Education is key man. I just wish I would’ve stayed in school. That always haunted me because I was smart enough to finish but I just wanted to work. Probably study business so nobody could rob me.
Founder of Movie Mezzanine, Sam Fragoso is a San Francisco-based journalist whose work has appeared in Interview Magazine, The Daily Beast, Forbes, RogerEbert.com and The Week. You can follow him on Twitter @SamFragoso.