“Cuz this is what happens when bad meets evil / And we hit the trees till we look like Vietnamese people / He’s Evil and I’m Bad Like Steve Segal / Against peaceful, see you in hell for the sequel”. Those were the bars uttered by Royce Da 5’9 at the end of the song “Bad Meets Evil” off Eminem’s Slim Shady LP way back in 1999. Over ten years later, a project that fans thought would never see the light of day has finally been released, and Nickel Nine and Slim Shady WILL see you in hell for the sequel. However, a lot changes in over a decade and the MC’s that were responsible for vile gems such as “Scary Movies” and the original “Renegade” are quite different from the MC’s that grace the tracks on Hell: The Sequel. Royce will be the first to admit that he has matured, and Eminem is now sober, with a whole new style and delivery to his music. As a result Hell: The Sequel does not contain the overwhelming presence of the cynical alter ego’s that made the early Bad Meets Evil joints so disturbingly ill, but instead features two veteran rappers reuniting and reminiscing through less sinister lyrics and 100 mile per hour flow.
Hell: the Sequel is a rapping race from the start as the Detroit duo spits super fast on songs like “Welcome 2 Hell” and “Fastlane”. Shady and Royce arguably display their best chemistry on the album while riding the “Fastlane”, most notably as they trade bars during the second verse. Royce’s bars especially stand out as he flows so quick yet so smooth by mastering the art of alliteration and rhyming as many words as possible when he spits lines like “I’m livin’ the life of the infinite enemy down, my tenement too many now / to send my serenity powers spin ‘em around enterin’ in the vicinity now”.
In his first verse on “Fastlane” Nickel Nine spits the line “Me and Shady deaded the past so that basically resurrected my cash flow”. Royce speaks the truth as it pertains to at least one song on the album, as Bad Meets Evil completely deaded their past but most likely will earn a few dollars for the track “Lighters”. “Lighters” is a forgettable cut that contains nothing evil about it, but it is quite bad. Even with Eminem’s reestablished success in the field of pop, this song still sounds extremely forced as listeners have to painfully endure a Bruno Mars chorus in between just average verses from Em and Nine.
“Take From Me” is another poppy song that isn’t the least bit menacing, however the result is a lot more successful than “Lighters”. Eminem gets pretty personal on his verse as he discusses the downside to his musical success with lines like “I live in a bubble, I struggle with the fame / Trouble as the pain grows double, give a fuck what you say / When my music you take so subtle, just to give it away”. Al though it is different from what fans normally expect from Bad Meets Evil, “Take From Me” is still one of the strongest songs on Hell: the Sequel.
“Take From Me” also contains one of the most captivating beats on the album. It is produced by D12 member Mr. Porter, who produced three other tracks on Hell: the Sequel, but none more unique than “I’m On Everything”. “I’m On Everything” is distinctive because the hook is composed of a sample taken from a stand up routine by comedian Mike Epps which sets the tone for the song with the words “Syrup, pain killers, cigarettes, weed, Hennessey, vodka, Im on everything”. “I’m On Everything” takes listeners back to the days when Slim Shady was on everything, and while he spits two verses full of intoxicating lyrics, a song like this just isn’t as enjoyable with his sober screaming style delivery.
Aside from “I’m on Everything”, “Above The Law” and the Bangladesh produced “A Kiss”, which is perhaps the best beat on the album, there really aren’t any other songs that standout as far as production goes. In terms of lyrics the whole album is very consistent. Listeners are treated to a pleasant surprise on the track “Loud Noises” as Royce brings out his boys from Slaughterhouse to commit four minutes and twenty seconds of pure lyrical assassination.
At the end of the day, Hell: the Sequel is a decent project that includes a great deal of dope lyrics and wordplay. However, fans expecting a reincarnation of songs like “Rock City” and “Nuttin To Do” are straight out of luck, as this album is directed towards a whole new demographic of younger fans. Generic production and a feature from Bruno Mars make Hell: The Sequel severely less sinister than previous Bad Meets Evil cuts, but fans should just be content with the fact that this album actually came to fruition.
3 Mics Out Of 5 Mics