Rapper-turned-actor and hunky sex symbol Method Man is celebrating 52 years around the sun today. Meth has been influential in the rap game since the early 1990s, and the star remains a relevant force in the industry today. Whether he’s dominating onscreen in shows like Power Book and The Godfather of Harlem or lighting up the stage with his infectious bars, Method Man knows how to get fans and crowds going with his talents and big charisma.
The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Smith, Jr., was born in Hempstead, New York, in 1971. He grew up in Staten Island, which is where he met several members of the iconic rap collective, the Wu-Tang Clan.
Rapping alongside RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the Wu-Tang Clan churned out iconic rap hits that helped to popularize the East Coast hip-hop and hardcore hip-hop styles. Together, the group released hits like ” C.R.E.A.M.” and “Protect Ya Neck,” two groundbreaking singles that still rock on radio stations today.
After the group went their separate ways, Method Man began rapping alongside his close friend and Newark native Redman. The hip-hop duo collaborated on several successful albums, including Blackout! and Blackout! 2, spawning hits like “Da Rockwilder” and “Dangerous MCees.”
Method Man’s solo career began in 1994 when he released his debut album, Tical
The 13-track project helped his career soar to new heights. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, earning platinum certification in the months following its release. The album featured several hit singles, including “All I Need” featuring Mary J. Blige and “Bring the Pain.”
Following the success of Tical, Method Man continued to release successful solo albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In 1998, he released Tical 2000: Judgement Day, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and earned platinum certification. The album featured collaborations with several high-profile artists, including Janet Jackson, Redman, and Chris Rock.
In addition to his music career, Method Man has also had a successful acting career. He has appeared in several films, including Belly and How High. He has also appeared on several popular TV shows, including The Sopranos, Luke Cage, and The Wire.
In honor of the multi-talented star’s birthday, let’s look at Method Man’s achievements and why he continues dominating the entertainment world.
1. Method Man won his 3rd NAACP Image Award this yearSource:Getty
During the 2023 NAACP Image Awards, the rapper-turned-actor was crowned Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as criminal defense attorney Davis MacLean in Power Book II: Ghost. This is his third time winning in the category.
Meth previously snagged the award in 2021 and 2022, both for his role in the buzzing STARZ drama series.
2. He has a Grammy underneath his beltSource:Getty
Before dominating the acting world, Meth made legendary strides pioneering as a trailblazer in hip-hop. At the 38th annual Grammy Awards, the New York native won the Best Rap Performance by a Group or Duo category for his collaborative hit “You’re All I Need” alongside Mary J. Blige.
Method Man’s win came a few months before his stardom with Wu-Tang began to explode in the 90s. The group was widely celebrated for popularizing east coast hip-hop and the hardcore hip-hop genre during the era.
Following their second album Wu-Tang Forever debut in 1997, the project debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart and was later nominated for Best Rap Album at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
3. Health is wealth to the inimitable MCSource:Getty
Method Man has become a sex symbol over the years due to his chiseled physique and broad muscles. But being fit isn’t about vanity for the award-winning MC.
“What really got me started in the gym was I had insomnia real bad,” the star told Men’s Health during an interview in 2020. “I found myself waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning, playing video games, just wasting my time. I had this gym membership, and I was like, ‘Well hell, I’m paying for it. Might as well use it.'”
Now, the busy star works out religiously to keep his mind and body working in tandem.
“My goal is to get to a point where I can take my shirt off in any setting and basically be The Rock, but without the tattoos and the accolades,” the rapper jokingly added to the outlet.
4. He doesn’t let his age stop himSource:Getty
Initially, transitioning from music to Hollywood was difficult for the hip-hop titan. During his interview cover story with ESSENCE last year, the 51-year-old star went into detail about some of the challenges of getting older in the entertainment industry.
“There was a changing of the guard in hip-hop. I was cool with that. I had to evolve with the business, and if that meant acting, so be it. I was going to throw all my eggs in one basket,” the Staten Island MC shared.
“The higher-ups, the so-called gatekeepers, didn’t have much use for a 44-year-old rapper…I guess my background turned some people off. Some people aren’t willing to give you a chance, especially when you’ve already had one and you kind of squandered it.”
Ultimately, with resilience and a little bit of sweat equity, Method Man was able to work his way up the ranks to Hollywood stardom.
5. He loves to learnSource:Getty
Method Man is a student of the game. In fact, when his interest in acting sparked, the MC turned to his close friend and collaborator Redman for a few tips to get his acting skills on point.
“Redman is a consummate professional like myself. If anything, I owe him a lot because he actually showed me how to perform correctly on stage, whether people remember or not,” the star told Sherri Shepherd during an interview last year, “He had been in the game two years prior than what I had been. So, when you put us on screen that resonates. We have chemistry.”