By Chris Yuscavage
In rap, like Hollywood, sequels are rarely better than the originals.
Fat Joe's 2009 album, Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2), couldn't hold a candle to the 2001 J.O.S.E. effort that helped introduce Joey Crack to the mainstream. Ghostface Killah's 2006 album, More Fish, sounds like a compilation of all the tracks gutted from Ghost's other 2006 LP, Fishscale. And, please, don't even begin to get us started on Jay-Z's 2002 double-disc, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse!
But every now and then, an artist manages to create an album sequel that lives up to its name. Case in point: Lloyd Banks' new album, H.F.M.2 (Hunger For More 2). More than six years after dropping his 2004 debut, The Hunger For More, the G-Unit soldier has crafted a solid album that showcases lyrics that sound just as hungry as when his career began. With that in mind, RapFix decided to take a look back at 10 other rap album sequels. Nothing beats an original—but these came damn close.
The Artist: Raekwon
The Original Album: 1995's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
The Sequel: 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II
It sure took the Chef long enough to cook up a second helping of his classic debut. But once we heard what he was serving, we had to admit that it was worth the wait. The only drawback? You can blame Rae for Busta Rhymes' Extinction Level Event 2, Redman's Muddy Waters 2, AZ's Doe or Die 2 and all the other rappers slapping the number "2" on the end of their classic album titles in order to try and reclaim their place amongst hip-hop's elite.
The Artist: Lil Wayne
The Original Album: 2004's Tha Carter
The Sequel: 2005's Tha Carter II
Once upon a time, Lil Wayne wasn't the self-proclaimed Best Rapper Alive. Not even close. He was just another rapper from the South trying to get a couple of extra spins on the East Coast. Carter II was the album that helped him do just that, spawning the singles, "Fireman," "Hustler Muzik" and "Shooter," and taking him to the top of the Billboard charts.
The Artist: Method Man
The Original Album: 1994's Tical
The Sequel: 1998's Tical 2000: Judgement Day
Yeah, we can't stand the fact that Mef threw 900 skits on the sequel, either. But he proved that he was the most commercially-viable MC on Wu-Tang's roster (at least, at the time) by dropping a disc filled with tracks that showed off his rugged style on the mic. Even if he did slap the "2000" tag on it a little prematurely.
The Artist: Nas
The Original Album: 1994's Illmatic
The Sequel: 2001's Stillmatic
Oh, Nas. You tricked us a little bit here by not calling your sequel, Illmatic 2. Had you done that, we probably would have (unfairly) tried to compare the two albums and ultimately come to the conclusion that the sequel didn't live up to the original. However, by calling it Stillmatic, you simply nudged and reminded us that you were, in fact, still ill on the mic. And after hearing it, we couldn't disagree. Well played.
The Artist: Dr. Dre
The Original Album: 1992's The Chronic
The Sequel: 1999's 2001 (also known as The Chronic 2001)
Though Dre's sophomore album is typically referred to as 2001, the marijuana leaf on the cover was obviously put there to indicate that this album was meant to serve as a sequel to the original Chronic. And it picked up right where Dre's debut left off by throwing listeners back into the middle of a cloud of smoke filled with dope rhymes and doper beats.
The Artist: Method Man & Redman
The Original Album: 1999's Blackout!
The Sequel: 2009's Blackout! 2
Either these two completely spaced out for about eight years and forgot that they were supposed to be recording a sequel to their collaborative album—or Def Jam dropped the ball and didn't know the cash cow they had back in the early 2000s. Either way, Blackout! 2 should have dropped much earlier.
The Artist: Capone-N-Noreaga
The Original Album: 1997's The War Report
The Sequel: 2010's The War Report 2: Report the War
Capone and N.O.R.E. have had their fair share of troubles over the course of the last decade—namely, 'Pone's prison bid that prevented them from recording a proper follow-up to their 1997 classic earlier and jump-started N.O.R.E.'s solo career. Fortunately, they were able to reunite earlier this year to drop an album that's better than just about anything they've recorded separately in recent years. Keep on reportin', fellas.
The Artist: Prodigy
The Original Album: 2000's H.N.I.C.
The Sequel: 2008's H.N.I.C. Pt. 2
Did P throw the Pt. 2 on there at the end just to sell a few extra copies? Possibly. But he also included plenty of the raw, street-tailored rhymes that we've come to know and expect from the Mobb Deep crew. And as long as he keeps doing that, he can call his albums whatever he wants.
The Artist: Young Jeezy
The Original Album: 2005's Let Get It: Thug Motivation 101
The Sequel: 2006's The Inspiration (also known as The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102)
Truth be told, Jizzle could've thrown just about anything on a disc back in 2006 and gone platinum. But he didn't. And while the resulting album was nowhere near as cohesive as TM101, it did feature a handful of hits ("Go Getta," featuring R. Kelly, "3 A.M.," featuring Timbaland, "J.E.E.Z.Y.") that taught us one important lesson: Jeezy is here to stay.
The Artist: Kid Cudi
The Original Album: 2009's Man on the Moon: The End of Day
The Sequel: 2010's Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
You don't have to look far to find the last rap album sequel before The Hunger For More 2. Just last week, Kid Cudi dropped Man on the Moon II—a super-dark album that was an appropriate follow-up to his debut, given all that he's gone through in the last year. But, rappers be warned: It doesn't always go this smoothly.
What's your favorite rap album sequel? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!