| June 14, 2011|
14 June 2011
| Eminem (exec.), Mr. Porter (also exec.), Paul Rosenberg (co-exec.), Havoc, Magnedo7, Supa Dups, Jason "JG" Gilbert, Sid Roams, Bangladesh, Sonti "branNu" Brown, The Smeezingtons, Battle Roy, Tony "56" Jackson, DJ Khalil|
The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Success Is Certain
Eminem, Bad Meets Evil, Royce da 5'9"
Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop
Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album
Hell: The Sequel is the debut extended play (EP) by Bad Meets Evil, an American hip hop duo composed of Royce da 5'9" and Eminem. It was released on June 13, 2011, in some countries, by Shady Records and Interscope Records and it was released on June 14, 2011 in the United States. The EP focuses on hardcore hip hop and midwest hip hop. It contains songs such as "Welcome 2 Hell", "Above the Law" and "Loud Noises" featuring Slaughterhouse; these tracks includes the violent lyrical content, while trying to maintain a humorous tone. "Fast Lane", "A Kiss" and "The Reunion" features the sexual themes. "I'm on Everything" featuring Mike Epps, is a humorous song about drugs, while "Lighters" featuring Bruno Mars, and "Take from Me" features its focus on more serious themes such as success and music piracy.
In May 2011, the album's title and artwork was revealed. The EP features the executive producers Eminem and Mr. Porter, with production handled by Bangladesh, Sid Roams, Havoc, DJ Khalil, The Smeezingtons and Supa Dups, among others. Following the reunion of the duo, recording began in late 2010, when two tracks, "Living Proof" and "Echo" having leaked onto the Internet. The lead single, "Fast Lane" (which was released on May 3, 2011) was considered a highlight from the EP, while the second single, "Lighters" (featuring Bruno Mars), was met with mixed reviews. Hell: The Sequel was met with positive reviews, with critics praising the chemistry between Eminem and Royce da 5'9", as well as their technical rapping abilities. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first week sales of 171,000 copies.
The duo also collaborated on their 1999 12-inch single "Nuttin' to Do" along with several other collaborations released the same year. However, as D12 rose to fame in the early 2000s, Eminem and Royce had a falling out resulting in both sides going their separate ways. The feud turned into a public rivalry between Royce and D12 and lead to Royce releasing three diss tracks aimed at the group. After disses were exchanged from both sides, Royce and fallen D12 member Proof reconciled their differences before Proof's death in 2006. Two years later, Royce was featured on D12's mixtape Return of the Dozen Vol. 1 in 2008 and also joined the group on tour in Europe and Canada. Rumors of Royce and Slaughterhouse signing to Shady Records began in late 2009 when Royce, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Joe Budden appeared alongside Eminem in Drake's "Forever" video. After months of speculation and anticipation, Eminem announced in January 2011 that he had officially signed Slaughterhouse to Shady Records as the full report was made in the March cover-story for XXL Magazine.
The EP was recorded over the course of 6 months, according to an interview with Eminem on his radio channel, Shade 45. Two songs titled "Echo" and "Living Proof" were leaked onto the Internet in November 2010, causing speculation among fans about an upcoming Bad Meets Evil project: on April 25, 2011, the EP was confirmed, and on May 2, Eminem announced the EP's title Hell: The Sequel. The two songs will, however, be included as bonus tracks on the deluxe version of the album. The title is a direct reference to a previous Eminem and Royce collaboration, "Bad Meets Evil" on The Slim Shady LP as they end the song by saying "This is what happens when bad meets evil, see you in hell for the sequel."
Royce da 5'9" originally reached out to Eminem for the song "Writer's Block", for which Eminem provided the hook, and the two started working on a project together. The album features production from Mr. Porter, Havoc, Bangladesh, The Smeezingtons, Supa Dups and Sid Roams. Bruno Mars, Slaughterhouse and Mike Epps appear as guest artists.
"Fast Lane" was released on May 3, 2011 as the lead single from the EP through digital distribution. It was also featured on the soundtrack to 2K Sports NBA 2K12 video game. On May 5, VEVO released an audio-only version of the track on YouTube a month and 3 days before the video's premiere. The music video, directed by James Larese, premiered June 8, 2011 on Bad Meets Evil's website and VEVO. Along with "Lighters", the song made its live performance debut at the 2011 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. It was considered by many as the highlight of the festival.
"Lighters" impacted Top 40/Mainstream radio on July 5, 2011. The song features American recording artist Bruno Mars. Lighters has peaked at number four on Billboard Hot 100 list. Along with "Fast Lane", the song was performed at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The music video was directed by Rich Lee, who previously shot Eminem's video "Not Afraid". The video premiered on VEVO on August 22, 2011.
Hell: The Sequel received generally positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72, based on 14 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". HipHopDX gave the album a 4 out of 5, Alex Thornton quoted that "Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" are perfectly capable of standing on their own, but it’s clear that even after all these years, they inspire something special in each other. They may have gone through Hell separately but it's Hip-Hop Heaven when they’re together." RapReviews gave the album a 7.5 out of 10, and the author Jesal Padania praised the album for its clever lyrics stating that "this is a few tracks of two old friends having fun, egging each other on lyrically and, for the most part, it works well." Wannop also favors the chemistry between Royce and Eminem.
The EP got a B+ from Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly, who focused primarily on Eminem's performance in the tracks, calling it a reminder to the world "that Eminem remains one of the best rappers alive." Even though, to Anderson, the EP is not much of an improvement from Recovery, he favors the intensity of the rapping by the pair. Anderson also noted that Royce da 5'9" is a "lyrical beast" in the album. XXL Magazine editor Carl Chery gave a positive review for Hell: The Sequel. The lyrics were praised, getting a 4 out of 5. Chery favors the change of styles throughout the EP; "I'm on Everything" is referred to as "a comical track that name checks every drug and liquor brand imaginable" while "Lighters", featuring Bruno Mars, is "another break from the typical vicious lyrical assault." Allmusic gave 3.5 stars out of 5, favoring Royce's growth and improvement as a rapper. Billboard also gave a positive review, saying that "Fast Lane" and "Lighters" were the highlights of the EP. nem for his next single Chad Grischow from IGN Entertainment gave the EP an 8 out of 10, saying, "The high-powered pair sporadically delivers on the promise of their collaboration over the nine-track EP, but for most of the effort the two take turns owning songs while the other comes off clunky." The track and lead single "Fast Lane" was favored, stating that the duo "deliver explosive, live-wire flows that make it hard to ignore how great they sound together". Grischow also favored Slaughterhouse's appearance in the album. Bruno Mars' guest appearance was criticized, however, calling it "the strangest of the set".
Music website Consequence of Sound gave a mixed review. Writer Winston Robbins claims to be disappointed to see the return of Eminem's use of crude humour, as it was negatively received in the past. He states that the EP is a "step back for both rappers." He especially dislikes the production in the EP, calling it "predictable" and occasionally "silly".
Hell: The Sequel debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with sales of 171,000. On its second week, the EP managed to sell 63,000 copies to have a total of 234,000 copies. On August 18, 2011, the EP was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping over 500,000 copies. The EP also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 21,000 copies in its first week. This makes Eminem the first artist in five years to have two number one albums in a 12-month period: Hell: The Sequel and Recovery.
Notes^[a] – co-producer
"Fast Lane" contains additional vocals by Sly Jordan in the chorus.
"Above the Law" and "Take from Me" contain additional vocals by Claret Jai in the chorus.
"Echo" contains additional vocals by Liz Rodrigues.
Sample credits"Loud Noises" contains a sample from the 2004 film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
"Living Proof" contains a sample of "Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2)" as written and performed by James Brown.
"I'm on Everything" contains a sample from Mike Epps' stand-up comedy special, Under Rated & Never Faded.
"The Reunion" contains a sample of "Bagpipes from Baghdad" (from Relapse in 2009), as performed by Eminem.
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