Bad Meets Evil Fulfills Promise with Lyrically Ingenious “Hell:The Sequel”

Bad Meets Evil Fulfills Promise with Lyrically Ingenious Hell:The Sequel

James Cullinane

 Bad Meets Evil Fulfills Promise with Lyrically Ingenious "Hell:The Sequel"

“See you in Hell for the sequel” vowed Royce Da 5’9″ upon the culmination of “The Slim Shady LP’s” nineteenth track, “Bad Meets Evil.”  After over a decade of leaving this pledge unfulfilled, many lost faith in a subsequent reunion with fellow Detroit rap icon Eminem.  Over the past twelve years, Eminem has evolved into whom many consider to be the consensus best rapper alive, while Royce has remained a symbol of underground success.  Under the name Bad Meets Evil, Eminem and Royce released their debut album in June of 2011.  Entitled “Hell: The Sequel”, Bad Meets Evil’s debut EP answered the prayers of Hip-Hop lovers across the nation who longed for the return of this lyrical dream team.  This ingenious duo proves to have not missed a beat as “Hell: The Sequel”, driven by its nostalgic and often nightmarish nature, is nothing short of a lyrical masterpiece.

On the  album’s first track, fittingly entitled “Welcome 2 Hell”, Royce proclaims proudly, “Anyone thinking the game don’t need the Bad and the Evil regime/That’s like saying the bad boy Piston team didn’t need Isiah.”  As the album progresses, one cannot help but agree, as the lyrical content of this nine track EP is far superior than that being played frequently on JAM’N 94.5.  Following  “Welcome 2 Hell” is “Fast Lane”, the groups first single since 1999’s “Nuttin’ To Do.”  Royce and Shady build off of each other to a frighteningly effective extent, which is complimented to perfection by a radio friendly chorus. 

Reminiscent to the classic “Slim Shady LP”, “The Reunion” acts as Royce and Shady’s ode to relationships…or a lack there of.  With a blatent diss to modern Hip Hop culture, Royce raps, “She said ‘I’m feeling your whole swagger and flow.  Can we hook up?’/ I said ‘Hmm you just used the word swagger, so NO.'”  However, only four tracks later, the duo is joined by Bruno Mars, a figurehead of the mainstream music industry, on “Lighters.”  Although Mars’ presence is somewhat hypocritical, the lyricism on this track is strong.  “Had a dream I was King/I woke up, still King” proclaims Eminem on “Lighters.”  As far as the rap world is concerned, this statement is true.  Therefore one must wonder why Rap’s monarch needs to feature Bruno Mars on an unnecessary chorus (especially given the fact that Bruno Mars is neither bad nor evil).

Another highlight of the album is “Above The Law”, on which Claret Jai personifies the group’s imagine, singing “You don’t know just what I go through/That’s why I would rather show you/ Just how far that I can take it/Every rule, I’m breaking it.”  Following “Above The Law” is the ultra repetitive “I’m On Everything”, which samples a Mike Epp’s comedy skit as its chorus.  Despite not being one of the album’s premiere tracks, Shady’s witty sense of humor refuses to be silenced as he raps, “Call me Brett Favre, spell it F-A-V-R-E, yep/It’s wrong, other words I just [expletive] my RV up.”  “I’m On Everything” and “Lighters” each showcase that the occasional Achilles heal of this super-group is the handling of their choruses.

Sitting between “I’m On Everything” and “Lighters” at track six is “A Kiss.”  Lyrically similar to 2002’s “Marshall Mathers”, Shady shows his willingness to verbally attack the music industry’s biggest names.  A prime example of this occurs when Eminem raps, “Tell Lady Gaga she can quit her job at the post office/She’s still a male lady.”  The eighth track on “The Sequel”, “Take From Me”, delves into the issue of illegal pirating of music.  Although this message has been heard millions of times, Bad and Evil have a way of driving their point home by showing humility.  Shady shows his weaknesses, “I live in a bubble.  I struggle with the fame”.  This allows listeners to look at the situation from his perspective and prohibits his later lyrics from sounding whiny and greedy.

Being teamed with Eminem provides Royce a mainstream platform for the first time in his career.  In turn, his popularity has increased immensely as his finely tuned lyricism reaches the iPods of teenagers and adults alike across the nation.  Similarly, reuniting with Royce has allowed Eminem to re-embrace his “Slim Shady” alter-ego which was believed by many to have been lost within his maturation.  “Hell: The Sequel” ends in a fitting manner with “Loud Noises”, a collaboration with Royce’s side project, Slaughterhouse.  The most underground-sounding track on the album, “Loud Noises” is a perfect platform for Royce to shine as he boasts, “One, two I’m coming for you, I’m a big old nightmare.”  The irony in this statement is evident as no matter how Bad and Evil the duo of Royce Da 5’9″ and Eminem may be, their collaboration is a dream for rap listeners rather than a nightmare.