Welcome to our new series: Rappers I’ve Met.
As you’ve hopefully figured out by the title, the series will consist of ...times...people...have...met... rappers, preferably in unpredictable situations. Meeting Kendrick Lamar backstage at a show, or during a scheduled interview, isn’t a story. Having Kendrick Lamar crash your wedding, on the other hand, now that’s a story, and while we’ll be posting stories from a wide range of people, I’m kicking things off with the time I met Method Man in a suburban Domino’s and he “borrowed” a dollar from me.
It’s 2007, Boston, and my younger brother and I decide to hit up Rock the Bells, featuring a re-united Wu-Tang Clan. Wu-Tang delivers an underwhelming performance, feels more like a line of kids waiting for their turn to jump off the diving board than a cohesive group performance, and it’s also east coast summer hot, so we’re sweating like Rick Ross in a volcano, but whatever. I’ve now seen Wu-Tang Clan live, bucket list concert crossed off.
(Their NYC performance, not Boston, but you get the idea)
On the drive home, we realize we haven’t eaten in ten hours, and the only thing visible from the godforsaken stretch of highway between Foxboro and Boston is a Dominos, its sign lit up like a crusty, cheesy beacon in the desolate night. Dominos it is. We order a couple of pizzas, my brother walks across the street to the 24-hour CVS to buy a couple of those $.99 cans of Arizona Iced Tea he was obsessed with at the time, and that’s when they pull up. Two tour buses, massive, cruise ships, puling into a harbor far too small to contain them.
It’s the Wu-Tang Clan.
The store is staffed and filled entirely with white teenagers whose eyes light up; partly excited, partly terrified, they look like people who just saw a spaceship land as they wait for someone to get off the tour bus. Within minutes the store is flooded with people, maybe 15 guys, but no one I recognize until Method Man walks in. It turns out Method Man in real life is exactly the Method Man you’d expect from the videos, or at least the Method Man you’d expect at 1 AM in a suburban Dominos. Loud, unstoppably energetic, undoubtedly higher than a Russian satellite, he briefly terrifies the kid behind the counter by demanding an entire container of those flake things before breaking out into a smile and laughing.
We’re sitting in a back booth watching the insanity unfold when Meth spots us and approaches. “Yo, where’d you get that?” he asks my brother, nodding towards the Arizona Iced Tea. My brother points across the street to the CVS. Meth pauses and seems to be considering something profound. “Those things really a dollar?” he asks. Yep, they are. Another pause. “Yo, let me borrow a dollar,” he says, not aggressively, but in a way that makes it clear he fully expects two random white guys to give him a dollar.
While he says this, he has a diamond-encrusted Wu-Tang chain wrapped around his hand, the W resting on his wrist like a watch, and I briefly consider telling him that he can afford his own iced teas, but it turns out he’s right. These two random white guys are totally going to give him a dollar, and once we fork it over, he strides across the street to CVS to make his purchase.
Meth returns with an iced tea—I’m vaguely shocked he got it himself instead of sending some weed carrier to do the job—cracks it open, takes a satisfied sip, shoots us a nod of appreciation, and the entire crew exits on mass backs to the buses, pizzas in hand. Within seconds the buses are gone, and the store begins to feel like the morning after a hurricane. It’s evident a storm was here, the wreckage is visible, but in the calm of the present moment, it feels impossible that just a short while ago, the environment was so radically different.
And that is the time I met Method Man. He still owes me that dollar though...