Some more Wu-Tang action in my B100 favourite tunes list now, as Method Man teams up with Mary J. Blige for this 1995 collaboration.
An all time great hip hop duet, “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By” was released as a single in April 1995 and reached number 10 in the UK charts, making it by my reckoning the second biggest mainstream Wu-Tang associated hit behind “Gravel Pit” (number 6 for the whole Wu-Tung Clan in 2001). I’ve recently covered Wu-Tang Clan as my #94 song choice – and Method Man was the first Wu-Tang MC to emerge with a solo LP, November 1994’s excellent “Tical”. Building on that album’s track “All I Need”, “I’ll Be There…” sees Mary J. Blige interpolate elements of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s hit “You’re All I Need To Get By” – with her honeyed vocals on a new chorus and backing vocals adding beauty and grace to Method Man’s original raw, relaxed flow.
As could often be the way in the mid 90s, multiple variants of this track exist and were featured on different formats. To my mind, RZA’s “Razor Sharp Mix” is the definitive statement, much fuller and more adventurous than the original “Soul Inside Mix” or the “Puff Daddy Mix” – and as the official video is for this version, that certainly seems to be the popular view. The “Razor Sharp Mix” is also the lead track on the best way to have bought this particular record back in the day – the humble old CD single, which also featured Chemical Brothers and Prodigy remixes of two highlights from Tical: “Bring The Pain” and “Release Yo’Delf”. A pretty definitive slice of 1995 there really, and a strong reminder that imaginative pop music wasn’t all Blur v Oasis back then.
As I also covered in my song #94, after the Wu-Tang Clan’s imperial period of the mid 90s they experienced a down-turn in both quality and profile but, aside from Wu-Tang leader RZA, Method Man has probably been the most successful since. Fairly prolific musically, frequently collaborating with Redman as well as his continuing Wu-Tang and solo records, Method Man has also carved out a productive second career as an actor. Displaying comedic chops in many films including “How High” and “Garden State”, Method Man also had a strong dramatic supporting role in one of the greatest TV series ever made when he played Prop Joe’s nephew Melvin “Cheese” Wagstaff in The Wire.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- Other great Method Man songs include: Release Yo’Delf, Bring The Pain, Method Man, Meth Vs. Chef.
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