20 June, 2011@7:38 am
Some ten plus years ago, Eminem emerged on the scene with his independently released Slim Shady EP, which would later mature into a full-length Interscope/Aftermath extended LP version. Around the same time, Em introduced the world to a promising, fellow Detroit emcee named Royce Da 5’9. Together, they recorded three tracks, two which were released on a Game Records 12″ single (“Scary Movies” b/w “Nuttin’ To Do”), the third, simply titled “Bad Meets Evil”, appearing on the Slim Shady LP. This early in his career, Em found an emcee strong enough to go toe-to-toe with, making him a shoe-in for the inevitable launch of Shady Records. But things went in a strange direction, as the two went their separate ways. To make a long story short, the two had a falling out, making the precedent of a Bad Meets Evil album seem like it would never be. With all of that in the past, the signing of Royce’s Slaughterhouse crew to Shady Records revisited the possibility of a Bad Meets Evil album; but instead of making the fans wait until after Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf LP’s dropped, Em and Royce got right down to business. Together they have released Hell: The Sequel, an album over a decade in the making.
Em might not be the high-voiced joker that he used to be, while Royce has gotten nastier as the years have gone by. So what Hell: The Sequel represents is two emcees that have perfected their craft, less concerned with making “hits”, and more concerned with what we all liked them in the first place over, lyrics. To say this album is “lyrical” is an understatement, as the record is a tour-de-force of back-to-back battle raps from Royce and Em. Only on “Lighters” (feat. Bruno Mars) is substance traded for style, while the rest of it is contest to see who can come fresher.
That’s not to say the songs aren’t topical, but when these dudes pick a topic, they then compete to top one another on each verse. “I’m On Everything” finds the two likening their flows to cocktail of every drug imaginable, while “The Reunion” and “A Kiss” find them in the depths of depravity, seeing who’s the bigger misogynist. Their boldest statement however is on “Take From Me”, a scathing diss to over-anxious bloggers who feel they have a right to leak and spread their unfinished music. The ante is definitely upped on “Loud Noises”, where the entire Slaughterhouse crew joins in the fray; too bad Yelawolf couldn’t have added a bonus verse.
Packing incredibly solid production, undeniably dope, endlessly quotable lyrics, and flows that well make competing emcees rethink their whole career, Bad Meets Evil delivers on every level. It’s been a long time coming, and Em and Royce are very different emcees since their humble beginnings. But dead the idea that it was “too late” for this to happen. It was definitely worth the wait to hear these two on an album together, raising hell.
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