Remember back in 1999 when Em said “the Bad and Evil movement is coming” in a freestyle?…

Bad Meets Evil 2011

Well, seems as if his statement was a little premature. Or, rather – driven off-course of course by the wedge that got driven between himself and Royce after the whole ‘D12 situation’ (let’s not get into it).

But, 2011 is the year we can finally say the Bad and Evil movement truly arrived. We all would of liked a full album… but, at nine tracks in length and 11 on the deluxe version, we basically did get that anyway. And maybe a full blown album with a big budget and absolute dedication is in store for the future. After Shady Records fully re-establishes its stamp on rap.

So let’s take a look on what’s occurred recently surrounding the return of Bad Meets Evil…

The Release of the EP


Aside from their release of “Nuttin’ to Do” (single) on Game Recordings (label) back in November of 1999, this EP (Hell: The Sequel) is the first real collection of songs officially released by Em and Royce under their iconic moniker.

With that in mind, and considering their legendary status and early underground reception (which was, overwhelmingly positive), you would assume they’d feel the immense pressure of expectation with this release. But, according to them (Em and Royce) – they just recorded a slew of tracks in the name of fun and didn’t know they were making an EP until… they were making an EP.

It all started with the track “I’m On Everything”, which Royce wanted to get Em on for his solo project. They had a good time making that track and so recorded some more stuff together, amounting to the tracks you see on the EP today. They didn’t go in with the mindset of making an album or project, the tracks were being made freely and with no aim, which… is perhaps the most organic and productive way to make music. Only when they had a certain amount of tracks did they decide to do something official with them. Which is when Royce suggested putting the tracks out as Bad Meets Evil on Shady Records.

And that’s just what they did…

On June 13th, the EP was released in Europe, following suit on June 14th in the US.

Bad Meets Evil - Hell: The Sequel (Cover) This release is somewhat of a significant experiment for mainstream hip-hop too, given the fact that the bulk of this EP is hardcore hip-hop: as in, non-stop rhyming, tricky flows and adult content. The only true stray from that here is “Lighters”, and it’s only really the hook, sung by Bruno Mars that is aimed at the charts.

But, the actual verses are still hip-hop, and well-executed by both.

We’ve just recently found out that the EP has debuted at no.1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 160,000 copies. It also debuted at no.7 on the UK Albums Chart.

Those are pretty impressive numbers for a project like this, especially considering it’s only had one official single (“Fast Lane”) thus far, which only reached no.32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Eminem’s involvement is of course the absolute driving force for those sales, but I’m sure the excitement of the two being back together as Bad Meets Evil, from the hip-hop community contributed to a nice batch of those scans also. As, despite some moments on the album which could sit comfortably on an Eminem solo album, this isn’t an Eminem solo album. It’s very much a collaborative effort between Em, Royce, Mr. Porter and all other producers involved.

Royce even outshines the almighty Marshall on occasions throughout. It’s very much a neck-and-neck affair though and ‘who came out on top’ overall is debatable, though I’d argue Em had the most quotable’s and impressive moments, all things considered.

You can order the EP at the following retailers…


Bad Meets Evil - Hell: The Sequel on Amazon.com Bad Meets Evil - Hell: The Sequel on Play.com

And many other popular online stores. Or, you can walk into your local high-street store and pick it up.

The Reaction to the EP


Having discussed the release of the EP, and the EP having been out over a week now, let’s focus on the reaction to it. From critics to fans, as always: there’s certainly enough opinion to go around.

Despite being dismissed by many as irrelevant and useless, and despite there of course being many many, many, many, many idiotic critics and people who misconstrue, misrepresent and misunderstand the art they critique – I still would argue there is value and good reason for criticism and enough justification for ‘professional’ critics, to exist.

Whether you like it or not, critics do play a part in shaping the public perception and therefore historic memory and appreciation of a piece of art. To a degree. Whether it’s a film, painting, piece of music or other. And essentially, no matter how good somebody is at deconstructing, analyzing and rating something in various aspects, all they’re truly doing is sharing their reaction.

And the reaction to a piece of art is very much what matters and what mostly should matter, in respects to how praised or glorified a piece of work should become.

People also forget that, the average critic isn’t sub-human. They’re just like you or me. They’re just listening to the music, trying to understand how they feel about it and why, and then, sharing that information with other humans. And if the reaction of human beings, to art, created by: human beings, for: human beings isn’t what matters then… what does?

The problem is, critics aren’t what they once were. Historically speaking, a few hundred years ago, critics were respected intellectuals that broke down art and performance for the public, to offer insight and explanation to what may otherwise (on occasion) be a difficult puzzle to piece together. They were also a lot less opinionated in the true sense. As in, they’d much more-so analyze things in the purest sense they could, with as much logic and reason they could possibly use to justify their viewpoints, with much less ego or self-importance than we see today. It really was just about trying to understand and dissect.

Through deconstruction, dissection and discussion we can more reasonably expect to get to the inner-most truth behind an artistic piece, shed light on the meaning of a piece and any upshots or unintentional but still very present implications or ideas in a piece and so on. This is why proper, mass criticism, by intelligent people, can be useful and I believe is necessary and helpful to progression.

When that’s what a critic really does do, that is useful, and proper criticism. There are a lot of real hacks for critics now who think they’re more important than the art they’re critiquing, and in this world of celebrity madness – regardless of how many smug critics dismiss the need for attention and fame and mock celebrities in abundance, they themselves are some of the biggest culprits. Many critics now use their reviews as a means to stroke their own ego and just attempt to write the cockiest dismissals of artists. It’s like they’re trying to constantly one-up each other in their quest for the King Cunt of All Critics title.

But those assholes aside, there are also many diamonds in the rough in the world of genuine critiquing, one of which being Roger Ebert: who is one of the only critics I check regularly for film reviews. Not because I rely on reviews to shape my opinion but it’s just about empathy and relation. That’s what most normal people are truly doing when reading a review, seeing if somebody agrees with them. But he also often affirms my own opinion and allows me an opportunity to expand my views a little. It’s like discussing your opinions with a friend, and seeing if your currently held view is strengthened or weakened. It’s a way of determining and affirming taste.

With ALL that said, let’s now take a look at some of the reviews for Hell: The Sequel.

Reviews of Hell: The Sequel by Bad Meets Evil on Metacritic

Below, I’ve hand-picked seven reviews of the EP from some noteworthy publications and sites. Click on the name of whichever review you wish to read, to have it open in a new tab…

1. All Hip Hop – 9/10
2. All Music – 3.5/5
3. Entertainment Weekly – B+
4. Hip Hop DX – 4/5
5. One Thirty BPM – 73{971d0a072875b4b9fb7a027a51293b64e24a2a4063055416ceedc6df90dc9fcb}
6. Rolling Stone – 3/5
7. XXL – XL

So overall, the critical reaction to the EP has been positive. It’s not been universal and almost every critic has made mention of a handful of flaws such as “Lighters” sounding so out of place and contradictory to the duo’s image and sound, and some inconsistent production. But even the lukewarm or mixed reviews mostly acknowledge their very impressive rapping prowess on the tracks.

Considering Relapse got a mixed reception (despite people thinking it got a negative one) and the fact Recovery got a BARELY lukewarm reception, a positive critical reaction to a release with Em’s name stamped on it was becoming crucial to break his chain of mediocre ratings.

As Eminem, is not a mediocre artist and it was becoming increasingly irritating seeing so much brilliant work get such patchy reviews.

Now, am I saying Relapse or Recovery were classics? of course not. But “Beautiful” and “Crack a Bottle” aside, Relapse was top-to-bottom awe-inspiring rapping, totally in-character, with hypnotic flows and bombastic production. It most certainly deserved better reviews than it got and many critics slanted it simply because they didn’t like his accents and because they wanted a different Eminem upon return. I’ve never seen another artist get so unfairly judged based on the specific wishful taste of individual fans among critics, and past work comparison.

When judging a piece of work, you should judge THAT piece of work: not what you think the artist ‘should’ of brought to the table, or what you personally wanted to hear from them. That’s totally personal bias and that’s not what criticism should be about. You should review, as objectively as you can (and yes, criticism can be objective, to high degrees), the work that you have in front of you. Past work, public opinion or personal distaste at themes should not drive a review.

By letting those things drive a review, all you’re doing is sharing a spurious opinion among millions. And if you’re beholding of the title ‘critic’ then you need to do a lot more than that to justify what you do. Anybody can offer an opinion or say it wasn’t to their liking. Critics should break things down intellectually and artistically, define what was done or attempted and consider how close the artist got to their objective with the piece. And then, and only then should they offer their very personal opinion on the artist, themes or other less-important aspects and detail, if they wish… as a final thought.

Unfortunately, that’s not often what we see today. What we mostly see is critics basically saying ‘I don’t like X theme and this album has X theme, therefore this album is a bad album’ – that, is terrible criticism. And it’s a shame that so many top publications employ such donkeys and such, limp, uninspired, wannabe critics to review such big offerings in the public-eye. As yes, these reviews truly do help shape a work’s long-standing and public perception. So, we need to keep the quality control up.

XXL Review of Hell: The Sequel by Bad Meets Evil

But overall, I think Hell: The Sequel definitely got its fair shake on the critic front and got the reception it deserved. No more, no less. Some slightly overrated it, some slightly underrated it, but for once… it actually balanced out as it should. And I think most fans would agree.

Bad Meets Evil Week in Complex


Bad Meets Evil Week - Complex Cover In celebration of the return of Bad Meets Evil, Complex magazine did a huge cover on the audacious duo, dispelling a huge oral history on how they came together to create some truly classic hip-hop, as well as some amusing anecdotes regarding some mischievous past antics.

They also put up a gallery with some very rare pictures of Em and Royce. In case you missed their week of dedication to the pair’s glorious reunion, or simply weren’t aware of it – I’ve picked the relevant articles and features here for you.

I’ve left out two of the features here as they’re not totally relevant to ‘Bad Meets Evil’ as a duo, and are more-so off-shoots but, I’ll link to them at the end of this section. As for the two main features here though, you really should have a gander as the stories and insights shared are genuine and personable.

Just click on the title of either feature below to read it in a new tab…

The Oral History of Bad Meets Evil

The Oral History of Bad Meets Evil

The Making of Hell: The Sequel

The Making of Hell: The Sequel

Now just click on the large image below to be taken to the gallery…

Bad Meets Evil Gallery on Complex.com (1998)

I bet that slew of images was a welcomed relief to my typical bombardment of text uh? thought so.

As I said, there were also two other features run on Complex that were less related to Bad Meets Evil as a duo. One is regarding Royce’s 25 Most Essential Songs < (click bold text to open feature) and the other is Mr. Porter’s Stories Behind His Classic Records < (same again). Both features / articles have some interesting tidbits of insight into both of their (Royce / Porter) careers, and of course some history with some of the classic Eminem-featured tracks they've both been involved with.

Bad Meets Evil Live YouTube Chat


Em and Royce also did a live chat on YouTube the other day. Well, I say a live chat… they didn’t actually read or respond to live comments being posted at the time, instead – they responded to hand-picked questions, from a ton submitted days prior to the event. So, they may as well of just recorded a response and uploaded it but, they were still live and it was still quite weird to see Eminem sat in a chair fucking around in real-time, knowing you were sat there watching EMINEM do that, LIVE…

As Em sometimes does, he didn’t take it too seriously and mostly just messed around and didn’t answer much. Which was fine as it turned out pretty funny and it’s a nice little memorable session. Though, some spots were very awkward. Royce was a particular kill-joy in certain bits, but I can empathize with him to a degree as he obviously wanted to genuinely answer some of the questions for fans. And, in the past Em has been guilty of responding to things totally ridiculously on Shade 45. Which can be funny but, you still want a serious answer too sometimes.

Bad Meets Evil Meets Converse (Sneakers)


To cement their return to the hip-hop elite, Em and Royce released a pair of custom sneakers…

This is a funny little interview, and those sneakers certainly look nice.

Speaking of which, don’t forget: we still have Bad Meets Evil t-shirts available from our new store.

Bad Meets Evil T-Shirts

Thank you for reading this mammoth post (if you did, if you didn’t… fuck you, lazy! even though you wouldn’t of just read that, at least the people who read this far just did, so can smirk with me!) that celebrates and cements THE RETURN OF BAD MEETS EVIL.

PS. Look out for my review of Hell: The Sequel soon.

2 thoughts to “The Return of Bad Meets Evil

  • StanBase

    Awesome!
    Looking forward to the review!

    Reply
  • Valentine

    Being an Eminem fan has been relatively, refreshingly good recently. Good music, good reviews, ok sales and loads of artistic insight. I say this everytime but i’ll say it again… cant wait for the next Shady project

    Reply

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