On "City Lights," Featuring Redman, Method Man, and UGK
Rap's 36-posts-or-so-per-mp3-blog-a-day regimen hasn't had nearly the same obliterative effect on the music itself as it has in, say, indie rock: If anything, it makes tracks by veterans like Red and Meth seem like major events, when in reality both of those guys have spent the better part of two decades tossing songs like this off in their sleep. But lacking something to prove is its own asset: listen to how assured everyone on "City Lights" sounds. Redman, Method Man, and Bun B are three of the most effortlessly conversational MCs in all of rap, and they take their time with this one. Redman's references--Jada Pinkett Smith, "chinky eyes," R. Kelly's sex trial--are, as ever, charmingly dated, and Method Man, evidentially, just heard Diplomatic Immunity for the first time in while (or ever?): "I dropped in '95, now I'm on 95 / South in the Dirty, been riding dirty since Dirty died." Old dogs, new tricks, etc.