Review Summary: "Cause this is what happens when Bad meets Evil/And we hit the trees til we look like Vietnamese people/He's Evil, and I'm Bad like Steve Seagal/Against peaceful, see you in hell for the sequel"
And here we are, 10 years later, and after numerous difficulties ranging from addiction and jail, to “beefs” and deaths, with the rap duo Bad Meets Evil
back together. Bad Meets Evil, are Royce da 5'9
, for those who live under a rock. On this EP, you won’t find a classic such as one of their early tracks, ‘Scary Movies’, or youthful tracks like ‘Nuttin to Do’ and ‘She’s the One’; however, this is by no means a bad thing. Royce da 5'9's technicality, flow, and overall ability to create lyrical verses has grown immensely since we last heard him with Eminem, and since Em has deviated greatly from his former technique, making him arguably less clever and even somewhat grating to listen to recently, the verses heard on this album are almost equally matched on every track. Make no mistake though, when Em decides to go in, Royce is once again left standing in the dust gaping at who he, himself, has stated as “the greatest MC of all time”. Since this EP is more of a slew of random tracks recorded for fun, rather than a cohesive unit, I’ll be breaking this review down into the dreaded track-by-track format. If you cannot be bothered to go through every track, skip over to the end for any final thoughts. Oh and please excuse my slight tendency to come off as a Stan-I swear I’m not trying to.
1) Welcome 2 Hell (2: 58)- The album opens with a Havoc produced beat that utilizes haunting, eerie vocal samples that harmonize while a relatively simple, semi-fast tempo is set by the backing drums/clap. Eminem opens fiercely and sets up the form for many of the songs on this album: impressive double time flow coupled with so many one-liners (“Push a bitch out the Aspen until I get the *** out of Dodge”), similes, metaphors, wordplay and just funny lines, that you’ll inevitably have to give the track another spin whether or not you liked it. Royce slows it down a little on this short opening track, and after spitting a few clever bars (“anybody thinkin'/That the game don't need/the Bad and the Evil regime/That's like saying that bad boy Piston team didn't need Isaiah”), the duo’s voices combine and intertwine as the trade lines for a pretty epic closing (Eminem even reverts back to the semi-automated sounding voice that was common around the “The Eminem Show” era, which is a very satisfying allusion). Favorite lines in this song go to Eminem:
“Bruce Willis on his death bed, last breath with an infection
Fighting it while he's watching internet porn
About to meet his death with an erection
My God, what I mean is
David Carradine jacking his penis in front of his tripod
Choking his own neck, what part you don't get?
I'm saying I die hard”
2) Fastlane (4:10)- The first single, and one of the songs where Royce comes out on top. This song is relaxing, enjoyable, funny, but somehow lacks any lasting appeal. The beat is well done and literally pounds through the speakers, but still doesn’t help the track from feeling sort of mundane by the end. Still, the song was a good choice for the single, made very clear by the success of the carefree and humorous music video, as it showcased not only Royce’s ability to keep up with a double time flow, but also his knack for obscure and clever lines much like Eminem-although on this specific record, albeit one or two clever lines (“was called Eminem/but he threw away the candy and ate the rapper/Chewed him up/and spitted him out,”), Em just drifts through spitting non sequiturs about trailer trash and hoes in double time as he lets Royce take the forefront. Favorite lines? Royce predicting Jack Kevorkian’s death.
3) The Reunion (4: 50)- The beat, created by Eminem and Sid Roams, sounds like something straight from the MMLP or TES era-which is fitting, since this song as a whole is by far the most reminiscent of that time. Em and Royce paint a fictional tale of their reunion that includes fat chicks, wives and mistresses, black ice and jack-knifing and even SWAG. Those themes, coupled with Eminem’s slowest flow in recent memory, a chorus song by none other than Em himself and not a sappy pop star, and a rhyme scheme towards the end of third verse that’s similar to MMLP, simply cannot fail. The only negative aspect of this track is that the oversimplified lyrics can reduce the appeal of song after many listens. That’s not to say that there aren’t any clever lines. Royce hating on swagger is a huge plus: “She said/I'm feeling your whole swagger and flow, can we hook up?/I said/umm, you just used the word swagger, so no”. Favorite lines go to Em though:
“Turn the radio up louder, make it thump
While I bump that Relapse CD, trying to hit every bump in that cunt
Thought I snap back in that accent cause she kept asking me
To quit calling her cunt, I said I cunt,”
4) Above the Law (3: 30)- This song sports an intense beat from Mr. Porter (further proving that he’s a capable producer) and one of the two catchiest chorus on the album-both of which are sung by Claret Jai. Essentially, this song is Eminem and Royce at their angriest, fastest, and yup, loudest. But unlike other songs where Em’s new take on aggression as being equivalent to loudness is prevalent, this track makes it work. No unifying concept, except for one or two references to the law, but many, many sick lines.
“You got a mouth like Kanye, I'll knock your whole bottom row of teeth out. No disrespect to Mr. West, *** I'm just nice with mine
And this just rap, I'm like Ricky Hatton, I just like the line”
5) I’m On Everything (4: 31)- Decent beat, cool sample, sick flows, ehh lyrics-joke song. People need to relax and stop crying every time Eminem makes an average song. Royce’s constant stream of movie references are pretty funny, and so is:
“I’m the type that’ll take a bath with a whore
Drown her, bang her head on the passenger door
When I’m stashin’ her in the back, smacking
Her forehead on the dash and its accidentally blowin’, a Benz jeep horn”
6) A Kiss (4:34)- A Bangladesh beat laden with bells and filled with misogynistic lyrics-apparently a formula for success, because damn is this song good. Royce and Em both deliver their equally hilarious and witty lines with a quiet, fiery, flow. Eminem once again shows that he has more to offer than the usual yell technique he’s been implementing, and introduces us to a different soft spoken double time flow. Royce has many clever lines (“'bout to saves a couple of these bitches, that's right, I'm the new Bible/You? You five-O, me?/I'm all grounded than punishments/But I'm too fly though/y'all niggas be winin', I should call you Moscato”) but Eminem wins cleverness with his allusion to a threesome: “A one night stand is all he wants wit a female fan, yeah, one like Stan/So by the one nightstand this bedroom has two lamps and only one nightstand/Get the hint?”. The song also contains a reference to Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, and Justin “Beaver”, and easily the best back and forth on the whole EP. Hook is pretty gay though.
7) Lighters (5: 04)- Yeah it’s a good song. Yeah, Bruno Mars does well on it. But it just doesn’t work with this EP and creates a rift in the flow of the album. You’ll hear it on the radio soon enough. SMH at T-Pain not wanting to work with Royce though: “I remember when T-Pain ain't wanna work with me/Now my car starts itself, parks itself and auto-tunes”
8) Take From Me (3: 26)- Although it’s the shortest track, this song is easily the most meaningful. The hook, sung by the aforementioned Claret Jai, reiterates the song’s theme of selfishness and inconsiderate fans/family members/people in general. Eminem focuses on leakers and how they actually have an impact on him since now that he’s sober, his music and his daughters are really all that he has left. This verse sees Em pretty close to his prime form, and believe it or not, Royce manages to completely keep up and maybe even surpass him with his opening verse. Eminem has the better flow but rhyme scheme and content wise…it could go either way. Here are the best parts from each verse:
“Guess that's the difference in friends and associates, I done been broke
I done been through the motions, I don't pay no attention to birds, I use my scope and I tend to the vultures
No one ever blows up your phone just to talk, I don't make money just to loan it to y'all
Tell a nigga that then you wildin' it's like dialin' 'em and then talking to a hole in the wall
Please look at these expenses, these niggas expensive, if I gotta lend you money every time
I see you just to be your friend bitch, I don't really need your friendship”
“Cause I break my back to give you my art
You steal my thoughts, it's like driving a spike through my heart
You might not think it's that big of a deal to steal from me but music is all I got"
“I have nothing else to give you, nothing left to contribute
Farewell I bid you, but before I go, my last gift to you,
Ladies and gentleman, Slaughterhouse I give you!”
9) Loud Noises (4:20)- Final song on the regular version of the EP, featuring Em, Royce and all the other members of Slaughterhouse
in a back to back, no time to breath, double time frenzy. Each rapper delivers something unique, Eminem with a sick flow, Crooked I
with an insane amount of multi’s, Royce with his “big dick” humor, Joell Ortiz
with an incredibly fast Yelawolf
-ish verse, and even Budden tosses aside his usual drawl for a double time verse with deadly lines. Despite the great verses however, the song doesn’t quite mesh together too well and comes off as kind of obnoxious. Still, there are many sick sounding lines like Joe Budden
’s “Got an aura more like Sodom and Gomorrah”.
‘Welcome 2 Hell’
‘Above the Law’
‘Take From Me’