The Wu-Tang Clan leader was speaking to Peter Rosenberg on Hot 97 when he revealed that Method Man only adopted the moniker after recording the song of the same name for the group’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
RZA said: “Method Man was Shakwon until he made that song — Shakwon the Panty Raider. Then, after he made that song, everybody in the hood called him Method Man.”
Method Man, who’s real name is Clifford Smith, adopted the persona after the song’s success. “It was the concept because meth is weed. He’s the king of smoking weed. So he’s the method man. A year later, he’s Method Man,” RZA continued.
The Abbot also said it was a group decision for the name switch: “It was a conscious decision by us as a crew, but the streets did push it.”
Watch the clip below.
The story behind the track “Method Man” is 🤯😳
We’re celebrating 30 years of “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” all day today!
— HOT 97 (@HOT97) November 9, 2023
The reveal caught a lot of Wu-Tang fans unaware, with many not knowing where Method Man’s name came from or the timeline that led to him taking on the moniker.
One fan reacted to RZA’s revelation by writing on X, formerly Twitter: “This is crazy!!!”
Another said: “Wow!!! Bet millions of fans never knew this.”
Even Rosenberg was taken aback, saying: “That makes so much sense! Now that I think about it. See, RZA, this is something that to you is so built-in that it’s a nothing burger, whereas to us, it makes so much sense!
“It was always a little weird that there’s one song on the album named after a member. We thought it was named after the member, but that’s not what it was; it was the name of a song that then became the name of a member!”
Method Man previously appeared on Drink Champs to discuss the origins of the iconic track and where he got some of the unique phrases from, citing inspirations such as Bootsy Collins, Hall & Oates, Masta Ace and even the Beatles.
During the interview, Method Man cited “Come Together” by the legendary rock group as inspiring the song’s hook and even sang John Lennon’s famous opening riff.
New York City mayor Eric Adams recently declared November 9 to be Wu-Tang Day in honor of the pioneering group’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) turning 30.
The occasion was marked by the world-famous Empire State Building being lit up in the Wu’s colors of black and yellow.
Additional celebrations of the album’s 30th anniversary include RZA performing three concerts at Gramercy Hall, which reimagine Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) with a classical music orchestra.
The album has also been re-released in a number of formats including cassette and most notably as part of a boxset which includes a seven-inch vinyl collection, a 60-page book that features exclusive interviews and images, the album’s lyrics and a trading card set.