The Puzzling History of Rap Album Sequels

Near the end of the aughts when of rap records were struggling more than they had in years, the rap album sequel trend found a potential renewed interest. While some of these, such as Twista's Adreneline Rush 2007 and Method Man and Redman's Blackout 2, were made to coincide with the 10th anniversary of their namesakes, in many cases (Capone-N-Noriega's The War Report 2: Report the War, Lloyd Banks' H.F.M. 2 (The Hunger For More 2) --both 2010), they seemed like a promise to listeners that these artists were returning to the style that first brought them such acclaim. The most puzzlingly titled of these was Fat Joe's 2009 release Jealous Ones Still Envy 2. While it was the sequel to his most successful album, 2001's Jealous Ones Still Envy, that record itself was a sequel to 1995's Jealous One's Envy, making calling this new album Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 the equivalent of changing the name of, say, the fourth Shrek film, Shrek Ever After, to Shrek 2 Part 3. It's on par with Pitbull ruining the acronym of his M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is A Major Issue) project by calling its remix album Money Is Still A Major Issue.

Of course, all this sequel fever lead to the announcement of several albums that are delayed to this day. Of the countless MF Doom projects that are on the way (the new KMD album Mental Illness, the Swift and Changeable album with Ghostface) fans are probably most interested/infuriated by Madvillainy 2. Buzzed about for years, fans felt their heartstrings plucked as Stones Throw put out a release under the Madvillainy 2 name in 2008 that was merely a Madlib remix of the original album. Still, the label promises a proper follow-up is in the works, going as far as registering the domain names and fellow indie label Nature Sounds releasing a limited edition MF Doom/Ghostface cassette single with a "Madvillainz Remix" in the summer of 2011.

Also notable among these rap game Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League releases is Busta Rhymes' E.L.E. 2. The follow-up to his armageddon paranoia-riddled 1998 Extinction Level Event release, he's been saying its in the works for about four years now, going as far as describing tracks in interviews, including one where he and Eminem exchange battle verses. It's questionable how this is going to tie into the original though, unless, of course, it begins with someone screaming "WE'VE ONLY GOT NEGATIVE FOURTEEN YEARS LEFT!"

But if there's an argument that these sequels might be worth the wait, look no further than Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt II. Originally announced in 2005 as an Aftermath release, Rae spent four years worth of delays perfecting the album and recapturing the sound of the original classic in a way even the most devoted of Wu-Soliders wouldn't have thought possible. Released the same week as Jay-Z's Blueprint 3, it was a critical smash that remains the pinnacle of the rap album sequel. Just as Nas' return to form was signaled by his own masterpiece's sequel, 2001's Stillmatic, it's a strong case for proving sometimes an artist needs to look back to go forward.

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