Method Man & Redman
Blackout! (Def Jam), the second collaboration by Wu-Tang mainstay Method Man and the Def Squad's Redman, is basically 71 minutes' worth of two friends--plus guests like LL Cool J, Ja Rule, and Ghostface Killah--screwing around for fun and profit. But it earns every cent of the latter by making the former clear even to people who don't belong to the rappers' mutual-congratulation society. Part of the appeal is the beats, provided by Erick Sermon, RZA, Rockwilder, and Red himself (as Reggie Noble): simple, unhurried, funky of course, sneaky enough to keep on surprising after a dozen plays. But mostly it's the sheer chemistry between Meth and Red: they're so psyched to be in each other's company that the lyrics (though there's plenty going on there) matter less than the palpable joy of the delivery, especially when they get goofy with their peers' catalogs: entire Cypress Hill chorus here, four layers of Ice Cube references there. Something tells me their esprit will translate well to the stage. Sunday, 7:30 and 11:45 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212. The late show is sold-out.