“How High” Were We for Method Man and Redman’s 4/20 Verzuz Battle?!
Faced with the question of how to provide live music during a global shutdown, producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz answered with a new webcast series called Verzuz. The Livestream show featured acts including Snoop Dogg vs. the late DMX, Brandy vs. Monica, and most recently The Isely Brothers vs. Earth, Wind & Fire. Just one month before the green holiday, @VerzuzTV announced that they would be hosting a “How High” 4/20 Special featuring the stars of the 2001 film. Fans rejoiced as they prepared for hip-hop’s favorite duo to reunite.
Clifford Smith A.K.A. Method Man was a known MC in the celebrated rap collective, Wu-Tang Clan. Being from the East, Method Man was familiar with Reginald “Reggie” Noble A.K.A. Redman before signing with Def Jam. When both rappers reconnected they found themselves as featured artists on tracks by Tupac “2Pac” Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. After collaborating and battling freestyles, they finally released their first collaborative debut single “How High.” The song reached number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and inspired their stoner comedy film. The longtime friends then went on to release three albums including Blackout!, Blackout! 2 and How High: The Soundtrack. The dynamic duo finally reunited in 2021 for their Verzuz battle with various special guests, a tribute to two late New York rappers and a huge announcement.
Normally April 20 calls for a spark in the stoner season however, tensions were high as the 2021 date also marked the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. That stress slowly came to an end, as the disgraced figure was convicted and found guilty of all charges for the murder of George Floyd. With this news, it was time for a celebration and fans made their way to the long-awaited Verzuz battle between the two East coast legends.
Kicking off the night, audiences were treated to a New York-inspired background accompanied by Brooklyn’s DJ Scratch. The award-winning DJ and producer has worked with EPMD, Busta Rhymes, The Roots and many more. He even produced one of Redman and Method Man’s tracks from Blackout!, “1, 2, 1, 2.” Playing hit after hit, Dj Scratch prepped the crowd until two headliners came out. Airing live from NYC, the rappers performed a concert-style show breaking the Verzuz battle tradition.
Meth and Red started the battle with a performance of the 420 classics, “Diz Iz 4 All My Smokers.” Continuously reminding the audience of the cannabis celebration, they followed up with back-to-back hits of “How To Roll A Blunt,” and “What The Blood Clot.” After setting the tone, the duo then traded raps between one another and performed some of their top singles. The two performers kept the virtual crowd hype proving they still have the stamina and charisma to perform as if it was the late 90s and early 00s.
Both artists proved that they were both lyrically unmatched while taking on some of their solo songs like Redman’s “Hardcore” and Method Man’s “Dangerous Ground.” The rap vets then pulled some of the features and group work from their large catalogs. For Method Man, this included hits with his illustrious Wu-Tang members and Redman along with the Def Squad supergroup. Speaking of the Wu-Tang Clan, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna and RZA joined Meth for a performance of “Wu-Tang Ain’t Nuthin to F– With.” The duo then took a much-needed intermission and proceeded on with the show with some more surprises. Def Squads Keith Murray also took the stage for his stoner hit “Get Lifted,” while EPMD performed “So Wat Cha Sayin.” Though predominantly showcasing the duo’s grimier side, the show also had both men doing their glossy hits such as “Soopaman Loova 3” and the most popular love song hip-hop duet of all time, “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By.”
As the show was coming to a close, the two New York rappers went on to acknowledge two fallen legends Black Rob and DMX. They paid tribute with a performance of “4, 3, 2, 1,” their track with DMX and LL Cool J. Method Man and Red Man also ended their amazing Livestream with the announcement of a Blackout 3 joint album between the two. Post-performance, the audience was in awe after the show Redman and Method Man both put on. Impressed by the partner-in-rhyme’s chemistry, fans were left satisfied and not even an unexpected phone call with Russell Simmons, could slow down the show’s momentum.
Autumn Simon is a music and cultural journalist based in Los Angeles, Ca. She graduated from the University of La Verne, where she studied journalism and social media marketing. Her work has been published on DoLA and UncoverLA. Her interest includes finding hidden gems in LA, discovering new artists, and attending live concerts and festivals. Her favorite artists include Kanye West, Ice Cube, Frank Ocean, and Smino- just to name a few!