By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated December 20, 2019 at 06:24 AM EST

“Rick James is coming,” a crew member at a midtown Manhattan studio announces into his walkie-talkie. No, this isn’t a seance. Method Man and Redman have come here to shoot the video for their new single “Miss International,” and one scene involves Redman dressing up like the late funk legend. Sure enough, Red walks on set a few moments later wearing black leather pants and jacket, round shades, and James’ signature beaded braids, grinning and muttering the word “b—-” to himself a la Dave Chappelle. It’s just one of the outre costumes he and Method Man are donning today while they lip-sync to “Miss International,” a smoothed-out ode to sophisticated females that will appear on May 19’s Blackout 2, the duo’s long-promised follow-up to 1999’s Blackout!

Upstairs in his prep room a few minutes later, Method Man (pictured, left) is in a slightly less jovial mood at first. “My videos usually suck,” he says. “Redman’s videos are usually good, because he takes time. Me? I show up. I don’t be with all that costume s—, unless we’re doing a comedy.” Method Man sighs. “I’m jaded. Video shoots don’t excite me. I get excited in the studio when I hear a new track, or when I’m about to do a show. Everything else is just so plastic.” Luckily, he got to log plenty of studio time with Redman for Blackout 2. “It’s like we’re connected at the hip,” he says. “When we work, there’s never any pressure, never any on-the-clock s—. It’s always fun.”

Method Man is a pop-culture fiend, and before long he’s warmed up into a nearly hour-long monologue about his current movie, TV, and music picks. (Click through to the jump for a few select quips.) Sadly, he pauses along the way to deflate longstanding rumors of a sequel to his and Redman’s 2001 stoner movie, How High: “We want to, but the guy that wrote it, Dustin Lee Abraham, is busy doing all kinds of other stuff. You can only wait for so long to do a sequel to a movie before it loses its steam. Maybe we’ll do another movie, but it won’t be called How High, for sure.”

Redman, meanwhile, visibly flinches when he’s reminded later in the afternoon that a full decade has passed since Blackout! “I don’t even like hearing that, man,” he says, now back in his regular threads. “That s— flew by me.” In the meantime, he’s been busy working on his solo career. He hopes to put out a new album of his own, tentatively titled Reggie Noble ’09 and a Half, this September. So what brought him back into the studio with Method Man at last? “S—, we needed some money!” Redman jokes. “It’s our fault for not being out for so long, just laziness. But f— that. I’m not letting it turn off again.”

Method Man’s bon mots

On his iPod rotation: “Tom Waits, Nighthawks at the Diner, that’s my s— right there. ‘Eggs and Sausage’? Love that song. Joe Cocker, probably because of that song from The Wonder Years: [singing Cocker’s ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ cover] ‘What would you do/If I sang out of tune…’ Even Cream. I listen to a lot of old-school s—.”

On Lil Wayne: “That little n—-‘s nasty. I don’t mean as far as emceeing, I mean as an all-around entertainer. That is an artist, period. It’s like Andy Kaufman: A lot of people didn’t get him. The world was his inside joke, straight-up.”

On Battlestar Galactica‘s series finale (SPOILERS): “Just watched the final episode, and I’ve been sticking with that show since season one. Good job, Ron Moore! Excellent f—ing job. It was complete, and I felt satisfied at the end. I just need one question answered: Was Starbuck dead all that time? Was she a Cylon? What the f—?!”

On Judd Apatow: “I love Judd Apatow’s stuff, and he knows it. I actually read for Funny People. RZA got the part — go figure, right? But they’re cool-ass dudes, man. They’re just like frat boys. I got to read with Seth [Rogen]. I wasn’t intimidated by that at all. Then [Apatow] said, ‘Okay, let’s drop the scripts, and you guys just talk.’ I’ve never done that before!”

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