Last night Nas and Hit-Boy reunited to deliver King’s Disease 2, and based on early first impressions, the project is certainly befitting of the first one’s Grammy-winning legacy. With plenty of lyricism to unpack, one of the early highlights is — perhaps unsurprisingly — “EPMD 2,” a collaboration with EPMD and Eminem.
Though Slim and Esco have indeed worked together on “The Cross,” this one marks the first time they have actually rapped on the same track. As two of rap’s most esteemed lyricists, there was plenty of hype going into this one; some wondered whether “Eminem would murder Nas on his own shit,” while others feared that Eminem’s rapid-fire flow would prove a distraction. Evidently, the doubters had nothing to fear, as everyone involved in “EPMD 2” seemed to stand in unspoken agreement.
After warming up with a brief back-and-forth verse from Erick Sermon and PMD, Nas takes to Hit-Boy’s unrelenting instrumental with a purpose. Fans will no doubt appreciate his allusions to Hip-Hop Is Dead, as Nas takes things full circle by lifting the curtain: it actually “faked its own death like Makaveli.” He segues effortlessly into Eminem, who uses the opportunity to pay homage to hip-hop’s lost ones and GOAT contenders, all while putting on a flow clinic as he’s wont to do.