Bad Meets Evil, ‘Hell: The Sequel (Deluxe Edition)’ – Album Review
The name Bad Meets Evil comes from the title of a song they recorded together for Em's debut 'The Slim Shady LP.' Not long after that, they had a falling out and weren't on speaking terms for years.
"Royce and I started hanging out again and inevitably that led us back into the studio," Eminem said in a press release. "At first we were just seeing where it went without any real goal in mind, but the songs started to come together crazy, so here we are."
Eminem doesn't tend to collaborate as often as some hip-hop artists, so it's cool to see him team up with another emcee, especially one with whom he clearly has chemistry.
'Hell: The Sequel' is an EP with just nine songs, but the deluxe edition tacks on two more. Here's our recap of all 11 tracks on the expanded version.
1. 'Welcome 2 Hell': This short introductory track boasts a nice synth beat courtesy of producer Havoc. "I told you we'd be back / Now welcome to Hell," Eminem says before he and Royce begin spitting intense rhymes. It's a good choice to open the record.
2. 'Fast Lane': 'Fast Lane' answers in the affirmative the question of whether the lesser-known Royce is capable of keeping up with Eminem's lightning-fast delivery. This first single from 'Hell: The Sequel' features the emcees impressively alternating stanzas while Sly Jordan sings the hook. (Listen Here)
3. 'The Reunion': The rappers slow down the pace on this narrative song, in which Eminem verbally abuses his female companion while they drive to a party; meanwhile, Royce has to break up a fight between his wife and his mistress. We still haven't gotten used to Marshall's singing, but that's the only bad part of an otherwise interesting track.
4. 'Above The Law': Singer Claret Jai kicks off 'Above the Law' with the hook, "Sometimes life seems so unfortunate, that's why I don't give a sh-- / The poor stay poor, the rich get richer / It's just so disproportionate." Her chorus is matched with a cinematic keyboard riff and a screaming-mad Eminem for another engaging song.
5. 'I'm On Everything' (featuring Mike Epps): Stand-up comedian Mike Epps makes an unexpected appearance, delivering a hook that mentions all the substances he's on: "Syrup, painkillers, cigarettes, weed, Hennessey, vodka." This track feels like a gimmick -- it's not our favorite.
6. 'A Kiss': 'A Kiss' is the song on which Eminem notoriously disses Lady Gaga, calling her "a male lady." Meanwhile, Royce tells a companion, "You should be cooking / You should be buckling your seat belt with over mitts." It's crude and misogynistic, but it's creative and makes for a fun listen if you can stomach the lyrics. (Listen Here)
7. 'Lighters' (featuring Bruno Mars): 'Lighters' features crooning by Bruno Mars, who sings about living out his dreams while his collaborators rap over a shiny pop melody with synths and piano. Best line: Royce's "Ya'll buggin' out like Wendy Williams staring at a beehive." (Listen Here)
8. 'Take From Me': Maybe the acoustic guitar and piano were added for some variety, but they just don't fit. 'Take From Me' has a weak hook and lame lyrics about people who steal and take from others.
9. 'Loud Noises' (featuring Slaughterhouse): 'Loud Noises' features Royce's group Slaughterhouse, but the lengthy list of vocalists keeps the song from being cohesive. And the "Slaughterhouse!" shouts after every verse are the most annoying thing on the record.
10. 'Living Proof': On the first of two bonus tracks for the deluxe edition, Royce kicks off the track with a verse that mentions Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige and Todd Bridges. The song's grimy guitar riff is appealing, but otherwise this track isn't particularly memorable.
11. 'Echo': Guest artist Liz Rodriguez leads a collection of spooky female voices on 'Echo,' the downtempo closing track featuring just a single extended verse from each rapper. We're not sure why this DJ Khalil-produced track didn't make the cut for the standard EP, because its sinister vibe makes it a perfect fit for the album.
Watch the Bad Meets Evil 'Fast Lane' Video