Royce da 5’9″s infamous quote spoken fourteen years ago on Eminem’s Slim Shady LP…and a patient blackhercules21 has been waiting to hear it ever since. So allow me to introduce you to “Hell: The Sequel.” My first apolloKIDZ album review. I’m going to take a look at all of the tracks (while attempting to breakdown my favorites) in hopes that it will give you a deeper understanding on a great body of work.
“Hell: The Sequel“ consists of nine songs (with two more on the deluxe edition) and features production from some of the top producers in the game. Guys like Havoc (Mobb Deep) and Supa Dups to fellow Detroit Native Mr. Porter and Bangladesh.
1)Welcome 2 Hell (prod. Havoc)
The Intro. No hook. Just bars. The claim is that they are in a league of their own. A league very different from the competition.
In it, Eminem says…
“Thunder and lightning, rain, hail sleet with a tornado’s the kind of brainstorm I get
So when the wind starts blowing, shit
Talking about going in? Going INsane is more like it”
Later in the verse is the segue that creates the plot for the album…Em continues with his verbal assault by rapping…
“Dick dastardly of audacity
Mental capacity, unmatched it has to be stopped
But it can’t be, but man I can’t just keep
Doing them like that or no one will rap with me
Except one, you asked who is it?…
And then Royce comes in claiming the he is the one that can rap with him and that this album is called Hell because
Guess who just came through the blast, you bitches
With the ratchet, the book of Matthew, a book of matches…
Clearly a “blast” and “a book of matches” refer to Fire, which is what “Hell” is supposedly filled with. The Book of Matthew reference symbolizes the controversial New Testament Book of the Bible which tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
The rest of the song does a good job of breaking out scenarios where two things, when compared, would have drastically different outcomes or when left up to opinion…a staggering amount of people would choose one way over the other.
“With these ideas, 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”
Isaiah Thomas was one of the most, if not the most, important players on those back-to-back NBA Championship Teams.
And perhaps you’ll have no rebuttal in
fact, you seein’ me in this rappin
is like saying Tila Tequila can sing like Jazmine Sullivan
Again, anyone that knows anything about singing knows that a claim that Tila Tequila is a better singer than Jazmine Sullivan is absolutely ridiculous. Just like you are if you aren’t hooked after the first track.
2. Fastlane (prod. Supa Dups)
In that this was their first single off the the project feel free to watch the official music video below
3. The Reunion (prod. Sid Roams)
With claims that this is the true story of how they actually reunited, you are sucked in and listen with full attentiveness, to find out at the end that it’s more a fictional tale of verbal and physical abuse. But if you are able to stomach a few derogatory statements and admire their ability to tell a story (fictional or non-fictional) you will appreciate this track.
4. Above the Law (prod. Mr. Porter)
One of the most passionate songs on the album. A few religious references from the duo, most notably Royce saying…
Partner, you’re not hard, I body your hot bars
Beef is left you pray, right like Allahu Akbar
If you beef with Royce you’ll be his prey and/or if you beef with Royce you better pray…double entente at it’s finest.
5. I’m On Everything (prod. Mr. Porter)
It wouldn’t be Eminem if there wasn’t a catchy gimmicky song on the album. When I saw Mike Epps on the features I didn’t know what to expect and his standup routine, although funny seemed a little misplaced. Especially for a recovering drug addict. Do not let that take away from some of the best back-and-forth rapping I’ve heard in a long time. Just wish I could relate to the topic a little bit more.
6. A Kiss (prod. Bangladesh)
My favorite song on the album. Eminem should write a novel on what to tell groupies after hearing him spit on this one. He begins with the line..
Get in the whip but you ain’t turning, a frog into a prince, what you tryna keep convincing me for?
We all know the reference of a princess kissing a frog to turn him into a prince…but Eminem is stating that he doesn’t want a kiss…what he actually wants is…
Now you in my whip just long as you understand that I can’t be whipped
You say companionship, I say abandon ship, I’m a gigolo so you know
I’m always on the go, I don’t got no time to slow down for no relation-shit
Drop the P and add a T, yeah, you can get mad at me all you want
But I’m ghost before you can even say boo, hun let alone call me one
A one night stand is all he wants with a female fan, yeah, one like Stan
and he’s so about a one nightstand his bedroom has two lamps and only one nightstand
Get the hint? Ooh yeah boo, ew! I ain’t finna’ argue but why do you think
They call it boo? Yeah, cause the sound of it’s ‘posed to scare you
Whether it was the wordplay on “whip” (car/falling for someone), “boo” (term of endearment/ghost noise) or “one night stand (single night sexual encounter/a small piece of bedroom furniture) this verse stood out from the rest.
Royce doesn’t disappoint when he comes in using the same style of wordplay with his line…
I don’t give a fuck what your name is, we gon’ call you Hi and Bye
Hope you bi in the mean time your name is Sharon
Hi/Bye as in hello and goodbye or high/bi as in on a drug and bi-sexual. Either way they will be “sharin’ Sharon”
7. Lighters (prod. Eminem, The SmeeZingtons & Battle Roy)
Honestly I felt like Bruno Mars was a little out of place on this project. I later found out that Eminem heard him for the first time on the B.o.B album and really wanted to work with him. But whether or it was because this was the first “serious” song on the album or because I kept thinking Bruno Mars was going to say that he’ll catch a grenade for someone, this track should have been saved for another album.
8. Take From Me (prod. Mr. Porter)
This song, although also very serious, seemed to belong more. Claret Jai, who also sang the hook on Above The Law, really killed this song with her introductory stanza…
Is everything not enough?
What more can I give up?
Is there anyone that I can trust?
I give you my all and you still take from me
Grabbing your attention from the way she recites her lines, Royce jumps in and gets straight to the point…
Always been the type of dude that’ll feed my clique
I know that without the fans, I ain’t shit but y’all better read my lips
I don’t spit raps this ill, for you to just hack and steal
And leak my shit, so peep my drift, I hope y’all don’t think you’re helping me out with that shit
That shit stressin’ me out
As someone who doesn’t usually “buy” the music I have, this song kind of hit home for me. Yes these guys are well-off, but don’t underestimate the amount of work they put in their craft. And if they do it for free, or you aren’t going to purchase the stuff they put out, then why should they put out quality music they stay up all night writing or all day recording? It’s not fair. That’s why Eminem ends the song with this…
They’ll appreciate me when I’m gone, they’ll say it was ill, right?
The way I kill mics? But the way I feel right now?
It just feels like I’m so done with this shit, that I may as well wipe
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!
And with that very real very self-explanatory record, it transitions into the next one perfectly…
9. Loud Noises f. Slaughterhouse (prod. Mr. Porter)
Anytime I see a song featuring Slaughterhouse I put it on such a high pedestal before even listening. I did the same with this and it didn’t disappoint. Rap fireworks were being shot off so to speak, and everytime I listen to this track I catch something I missed the first time around. This was a great effort by Eminem to showcase the members of Slaughterhouse after signing them to the Shady Records deal. The hardest part of a Slaughterhouse song is to rank the order of hottest verses…but this time I’d have to go with 1- Joell Ortiz 2- Crooked I 3- Royce Da 5’9 4- Joe Budden. Now go listen to Budden’s verse and agree with me that that aren’t artists putting out this quality of music anywhere else.
10. Living Proof (prod Mr. Porter)
The first song to leak on the internet (almost 4 months ago) and the one that reminded how well these guys gel…only to be multiplied by the other bonus track
11. Echo (prod DJ Khalil)
The creepy ghosly beat on this leak helped me realize that Royce and Eminem may be up to something collectively as well as get me extremely excited about it. It isn’t often that you hear two top quality rappers meshing this well together and pushing each other to be more and more creative. The hook is extremely catchy and with the total time of this album totaling just under one hour this track leaves you wanting to hear more…
Excited what the future will bring
At the end of the day is this going to go down as a classic, probably not. Yes the lyrics are thought out, the production is top notch, but this, more than anything, was just two guys, who know how to rap, having fun again. The bulk of the album has a “fun” tone with a few “serious” tracks included. And that’s what Hip-Hop is supposed to be about…so go get the album and remember to check back to apolloKIDZ for all of that exclusive content you can’t get anywhere else on the internet.