Method Man stepped onto the hip-hop scene 24 years ago alongside his Staten Island Wu-Tang Clan brethren—but the man born Clifford Smith always knew that he wanted to do more than just spit rhymes.

Meth made the leap to acting with appearances in Cop Land and One Eight Seven in 1997 and Belly a year later. Since then, he's never looked back: starring alongside his partner-in-rhyme Redman in 2001's stoner comedy How High; landing a recurring role as Cheese on HBO's acclaimed drama The Wire; prominent roles in comedies like Trainwreck and Keanu. Meth's resume is enviable to say the least.

He's now starring on new HBO drama The Deuce, and Meth talked to The Boombox about his appreciation for acting, how 2Pac still inspires him and why his biggest dream is wearing a suit and tie.

You’ve starred in quite a few films and TV series—what’s been the most pivotal moment?

Method Man: [When I filmed] The Cobbler [with Adam Sandler in 2014]. It gave me this newfound love for acting where I wanna do it more and more. I was having all these epiphanies and was like "Let’s try some more shit." [Sandler] is the one that painted the picture, and showed me the step-by-step [process] and brought my thinking to where it should have been. And I don’t even think he realized he was doing that. [He didn’t] just explain things to me, he explained things to me so I could understand – not to insult my intelligence or because I’m simple minded, but to say it in a manner so I could envision it without being too technical and shit like that. I fell in love with [acting] right then and there. I credit him a lot for where I was and where I am right now.

Is there a benefit to working on television as opposed to feature films?

Either is good for me. I just want to work. I had an epiphany: Like, "Okay, I get it now. I see what they’re doing up there. I see the translating. I see what acting is now." And I just want [to have] everything thrown at me so I can try these techniques that I’m thinking of in my head. I just wanna get my feet wet and show people that I’m actually serious about [acting]. When I walk in a room, I don’t want them to see Method Man; I want them to see an actor up in that room.

Method Man in The Cobbler
Method Man in The Cobbler (Image Entertainment)

So is How High 2 actually happening?

At this point, I have no idea. We had a script, [but] I didn’t really like the script. And I’m not sure if [Universal] is as enthusiastic as they would have been if we would had shot it right after we dropped the first one. The best we could probably get at this point is Video On Demand, and I don’t think that’s fair to me and Redman’s brand. But don’t get me wrong—they are making movements. Redman is not blowing smoke up y'all’s asses. We’ve actually sat down and had meetings. The conversation is being had.

Wu-Tang dropped a new album. How have you been able to manage being in the studio while shooting a show?

I never stop. When 2Pac came along, he stayed in that goddamn studio. Even if you didn’t like Pac, Pac’s music was every fuckin’ where. And dudes adopted that same technique. DMX was always in the studio—he had three albums out at the same fuckin’ time. That’s unheard of.

We've lost a lot of rappers in recent years and there seems to be a push—particular among veteran artists—to get to a healthier place once they've crossed over 40. 

With us older artists, we have to take into consideration that we did a lot of bullshit back in the days that if we continued on that path, there’s only one fucking road left for us: to be broke or destitute or otherwise. None of that is a real option. And you have to take into consideration that we’re at the age range where we can be grandmothers or grandfathers, meaning our clock is ticking—that doomsday clock—that death clock.

So you want to extend your time on this planet as long as you can by eating healthy, living healthy, working out, keeping your heart moving. You can treat yourself. Don’t just sit around and eat nasty shit all the time. You can go out and eat some cheeseburgers, but you gotta have a limit to that shit because at the end of the day what do you want [people] to remember about you? When my name comes up in the conversation, I want [my grandkids and kids] to have they head up proud like that’s my granddad or that’s my father.

TBS' Drop the Mic and The Joker's Wild Premiere Party
Method Man and Snoop Dogg at TBS' Drop the Mic and The Joker's Wild Party (Getty Images)

What dreams are you still chasing that you haven’t accomplished yet?

[Wearing] a suit and tie everyday, five days a week—an executive position.

Really? You want an office job?

Yeah—metaphorically speaking. Not exactly in the office, but an executive producer job where I’ll do about three hours of work, make sure everyone makes their connections and then get back to bed – and get paid doing it.

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