It’s been a busy two weeks for me. While I have been a fixture on #TheHobby side of Twitter this year, lately, my time has been evenly split between work and working out. My goal is simple: obtain that “summer body” that has evaded me for 38 years of my life. Somehow, as I push 40, I have come closer than ever before so I’ve been pushing harder and harder to see if I can finally do it. As a result, my blog, and my daily appearances on Twitter have suffered a bit.
At some point this week, Topps’ Allen & Ginter dropped. To me, this is a must-see product year after year thanks to its innovative cards such as wood and silk parallels but just as much for its non-sport autographs, a niche in this hobby that has suffered since the loss of Upper Deck and Donruss’ Americana line. In fact, the only company doing celebrity autos the right way these days seems to be Leaf Trading Cards with their yearly brand, ‘Pop Century’ becoming the go-to product.
Yesterday on Twitter, someone asked if a particular A & G auto was going for less than expected due to it being a redemption-only card at the time of release. I clicked on the link and found a $33-dollar card for a Method Man autograph redemption. This was a topic near and dear to me as I still have a copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s iconic debut ’36 Chambers’ and their amazing 4-5 solo albums that followed. Method Man was arguably Wu Tang’s most popular member throughout their career.
Unless you were a young Hip-Hop fan during the mid-90s, it’s likely you won’t know just how popular Wu-Tang Clan actually was. Unfortunately, just 4 years after their debut, the bubble burst. Their second album, released in 1997, was a bloated, unfocused mess and their entrance into the new decade saw their stock drop year after year until I was able to catch them perform for $10 dollars at the Tampa fairgrounds in what was to this day the worst concert I have ever seen in my life.
According to Wikipedia, Method Man has 5 studio albums with sales barely hitting just over 4 million during a time when people still bough CDs. You see, while Method Man was popular, other members were the true stars of Wu-Tang. Ol’ Dirty Bastard was the wild card of the crew, while Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, GZA, U-God, and RZA were all more talented than METH. Aside from the RZA, who found success as a producer and filmmaker, no other member of Wu-Tang Clan survived the 90s.
So yeah, $33 dollars seems a tad bit high. Method Man’s Topps card is likely to hit the below-$20 mark by this time next month and will be long forgotten when A & G returns in 2019. It was just Topps’ version of album filler. Get a rapper fallen on hard times to sign a few thousand cards and move on. The question is, will Method Man ever sign these cards? He’s not exactly hobby-friendly and by no means, fan-friendly. It could be years before these cards are ever ready to ship.
It seems like we are getting a new baseball product every single week from Topps so I don’t expect much more traction from Allen & Ginter after this week comes to a close. At the moment, the big autographs and pulls are all over the card forums, eBay, and Twitter but surely by next week, something “new” will have grabbed all the attention away from collectors and Allen & Ginter will fall from grace the way Finest and other less notable releases have in 2018. There’s just not enough days in the week to appreciate any brand.
As for Jose Canseco, Topps has peppered him all over this year’s A & G but it’s the base card that really caught my eye. Somehow, Topps has found YET ANOTHER photograph of Jose that has never appeared on a baseball card and I am truly thankful and excited to add it to my collection at some point next month. I am a bit behind and haven’t even added a single Stadium Club card yet despite how much I loved this year’s release. Like I said, not enough time and WAY too much product.
Now, back to Method Man to end this post. As you can imagine, I am not a fan. To me, Ol’ Dirty Bastard was the heart and soul of Wu-Tang and his debut solo album is to this day, my all-time favorite Rap album. He was without a doubt one of the most unique rappers and human beings this world has ever known and unfortunately, he has really never gotten his due. However, yes, Method Man was a big deal between 1993 till about 1996 before the world moved away from Wu-Tang and its overly-commercial work.
To me, it’s a barely one-minute long “freestyle” from 1995 that is the high of Method Man’s work in Hip-Hop. He had several memorable appearances on Rap City in the mid-90s but this crazy verse with a space oddity-like theme is simply insane and a must-hear for any fan of Hip-Hop. A year later, Method Man began teaming up with the corny Redman and changed to a more goofy, cartoon-like version of himself which completely killed his persona and ultimately, his career.