If Kanye West is the David Bowie of hip hop, then rappers Eminem and Royce da 5’9 can best be described as his Dylan and Cash counterparts. The Detroit natives have rekindled their chemistry and collaborated on a new record under the moniker Bad Meets Evil, the same name as the second last track on Em’s first major label release, The Slim Shady LP. The nine-track EP marks the first collaborative effort between the rappers since Royce da 5’9’s much publicized beef with Eminem’s group D12.
The seasoned rappers display their lyrical finesse on the new record, titled Hell: The Sequel, which opens with the hard-hitting single “Welcome 2 Hell.” The subject matter the duo explores is not revolutionary by any means, but the cohesive feel of the album shows the maturation of both artists. Eminem swaps his verbal diarrhea of life’s lemons for a less proximate, but more philosophical approach. (The transformation is far from complete though, Em reverts to his crude, misogynistic rhymes most noticeably in the song “A Kiss” in which he spits, “Hoes all over the ride like it’s an ice cream truck, I can see why they fret / I already ran over two hoes and I ain’t get up the fucking drive way yet.”
Much like the song, Hell: The Sequel oscillates between deft lyricism and compilation to just plain douchebaggery. It is enriched by a plethora of guest vocalists, from comedian Mike Epps to pretty boy Bruno Mars. The ebb and flow of tracks is well-coordinated, with aggressive tracks sandwiched between more soulful and melodic tunes. Likewise, Em’s sporadic rhyme spitting is counterbalanced by Royce’s slower drawl, pacing the record and giving it a more dynamic, comprehensive range.