Sharing a long history that includes classic joint efforts (1997’s “Bad Meets Evil“) as well as a longstanding feud, the news of the lyrical heavyweights’ project (Due May 14) sent the internets into a frenzy. After the overwhelming response to their first single, “Fast Lane,” last week, we hit Royce up to ask about the recording process, competition to outshine Em on tracks and the inevitable comparisons to Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne. –Calvin Stovall
XXLMag.com: Where did the “Bad Meets Evil” originate?
Royce da 5’9: Well, it stems from the very first song that we ever recorded together back in ’97. It was a song we had called “Bad Meets Evil.” One of the last lines on the song was something like: “This what happens when bad meets evil, we hit the trees ‘til we look like Vietnamese people/He’s evil, and I’m bad like Steve Segal against peaceful, See you in hell for the sequel.” So, the next time that we got together, we did a piece of vinyl under the group name Bad Meets Evil. And then all of these years later, we accumulated this body of work just messing around in the studio. So, we decided to put it out because we liked the direction it was going in. So now it’s called Bad Meets Evil’s Hell: The Sequel.
XXL: How did y’all go from not talking for years to putting out an EP together? Was it just the next logical step since you signed to Shady Records with Slaughterhouse?
Royce: We didn’t really decide to do it. When we got back around each other— I started travelling with him to do shows and shit like that— and anytime we was in the studio, like when we had time if he came with a beat or something and I happened to be there, we’d just do the song. With no goal in mind, not putting it out or nothing like that. Just recording randomly. We didn’t decide to actually put it out or call it anything until we looked up and we were sitting on all these songs that we thought was crazy. So it’s like, “Man we can’t just sit on these records, we gotta do something with ‘em.” I look at him like, “Well shit you got a label, we got material, let’s put it out.”
XXL: Is the competition still there to outshine ‘Em on every track?
Royce: My goal is never to outshine because, number one, when MCs rhyme on a certain level when they rhyme with each other, it automatically makes everything come down to a matter of preference. Nobody is gonna outshine everybody every time, but we got five dudes that rhyme past average. When you rhyme above average lyrically, I just think it comes down to a matter of preference. So, I never think about, “Oh I’m gonna outshine him on this one.” It’s really just, “let me make sure I keep up. Let me allow him to bring the best out of me and hopefully I can do that with him, too.” We aim to inspire each other— never competitive. It’s just like, “Damn, he just said that? Let me think of something maybe better or just as good.” Us MCs we need that. We need to be pushed. And I think that’s what we do. We just push each other to the limit… The whole time (we were) feeding off each other. It was only a few times where I came to the studio and he already had a verse laid or I came to the studio with a verse laid for him to add to. But usually when we do that, we come together on the third verse anyway. So, the whole shit was done together.
XXL: Already on the blogs I’m seeing people comparing the two of you to Kanye and Jay and the EP to Watch the Throne.
Royce: Oh yeah, I’m ready for the comparisons. I’m curious to see what people will say, but if you’re asking me are me and ‘Em feeling like we’re competing with them: Nah. You talkin’ about four dudes that rhyme above average. So really, it’s gon’ come down to a matter of preference. It will be some people that feel like theirs is better, some people that feel like ours is better. With me, we respect everything about them, you know what I’m sayin’? So, we not even looking at it like that.
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