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Friday, 17 June 2011



Good meets great.

Formed in Detroit, Michigan back in 1998; hip-hop underground star Royce da 5'9" teamed up with establishing rap megastar Eminem to form a dynamic duo deemed 'Bad Meets Evil'. It started with a self-titled track debuting on Em's first album 'The Slim Shady LP' in 1999. Royce brought the bold and 'Bad' while Marshall Mathers brought the excellent and 'Evil'. Following the classic, before Jay-Z 'Renegade' track came the dramatic and a 5'9" fallout with D12 and the ending of 'Bad' and 'Evil' as we knew it. Years later, late, legendary D12 rapper and Eminem's best-friend Proof helped build bridges between his close friends that laid the foundations for this project. Now in 2011 following Eminem's return to top-and before the release of Royce's 'Success Is Certain'-comes a reunion and guaranteed seller in the EP 'Hell: The Sequel'.

This play really is so extended it may as well be an LP. With enough excellent tracks even the buzz promoting single 'Nuttin' to Do / Scary Movies' is now the stuff of mixtapes, being left off this album. The tracks here however are full of rhymes as hard and kinetic as the beats that balance out this pairs flow. The duo of Em' and Royce have enough rap science chemistry and rhyme calibre to go the double-disc distance as these guys duke it out.

The brimstone hot intro 'Welcome 2 Hell' show this long-awaited collaboration is heaven sent as the duo duel with determined fire in their tongue twisters, trying to out-do each other, speed for speed, punchline for punchline. Eminem sets things off with cold, cutting lyrical torture. As he spits fire, "There’s a switch, I flip, emotions cut off/so cold I done froze my butt off/and this ain’t even the tip of the iceberg yet/it's like squirting a squirt gun in the ocean, f#$@ off/other words I didn’t put a dent in the game compared/to the damage I’ve yet to do/as long as you still have feelings to hurt" nobody can fan his furious lyrical flames for 16 bars or 11 deluxe edition tracks.

The single 'Fast Lane' is an energetic, torque filled racer, while 'The Reunion' shows the two getting back together and taking it back with some classic Slim Shady raps. Other top rappers thinking of collaborating on an album better 'Watch The Throne' as with songs like, 'Above the Law' Eminem and Royce da 5'9" handcuff the competition with gavel hard, determined rhymes.

Screwing with everyone from Kanye West to Nicki Minaj, the pair show- anyone's fair-game as they poke fun and jest. If you think these punch-line hard-hitters are funny then wait until you hear 'I'm on Everything'. This drug-abusing record makes the best of a Mike Epps sample soundbite for a track that will leave you fiending for more, whether it be jokes from the comedian or rhymes from 'Bad Meets Evil'.

With 'A Kiss' the two rappers get so explicit they have to wash their mouths out. The two rappers who like it dirty get a little cleaner however with the squeaky Bruno Mars on 'Lighters'. Reaching out to burn the pop charts up with the brightest chorus man of the moment, the pair lighten up the dark tone of this album as this track illuminates with inspiration. 'Bad Meets Evil' give their best on 'Take from Me' that once again features the vocals of rising talent Claret Jai, (Skylar Gray's about to have some company). On 'Hell's' highlight, Em and most notably Royce take everyone who's used them -from family to downloading fans-to task. "I know that without the fans/I ain’t s@#$ but y’all better read my lips, I don’t spit raps this ill/for you to just hack and steal and leak my s$%#," Royce sneers with serious lyrical and subject-matter superiority...and believe there's more where that came from.

If the lambs of competition hadn't already been led to slaughter by these two lions then they really will bleat at 'Loud Noises', an ear-piercing, explosive track that brings everyone from the pairs 'Slaughterhouse' group to Steve Carrell's 'Anchorman' character 'Brick'. This collaboration collects the hilarious one-liners in vast, posse cut helpings. The most rib-tickling comes from the feathers of Joell Ortiz to Joe Budden, but it's not all light and breezy with these heavyweights.

The 'Deluxe Edition' of this project takes this EP To album numbers. Want an example? Well, the track 'Living Proof' (another Mr. Porter produced piece of perfection) does Eminem and his partner in rhyme, Royce da 5'9" proud like Slim's legendary hypeman and D12 'dudie'. Plus to play us out, the energy everlasting 'Echo' sounds great as it reverberates from the tone set by this disc, along with Royce's renaissance and Eminem's career 'Recovery' success. All in all this 'sequel' does just as well as an original album back in the day would have intended. These two Detroit rappers take it beyond Aftermath and 8 Mile. Reuniting and complimenting each other perfectly the pair create their own lane down the road. Now we can't wait for what's next. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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