This week saw the early streaming release of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2 – you can listen to the whole thing in its entirety over at iTunes right now (and then read the official EW review).
2 of 2 is the sequel to March’s The 20/20 Experience, Timberlake’s long-awaited return to pop music. It’s also the latest in a relatively recent phenomenon: The album sequel. (Add Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 coming in November, to the list.) If movies can do it, why can’t the music world?
With these releases in mind, it’s time to look back at the best examples of album sequels. They don’t all work (in fact, a lot of them do not—be wary of rappers returning to old titles that weren’t that good in the first place), but these are the 10 best, in no particular order.
Jay Z, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life
Jigga has had two different sets of sequels, but his In My Lifetime series is consistently stronger than those albums that contain the title The Blueprint (the original Blueprint is a stone-cold classic, but its two follow-ups are bloated and inconsistent). Vol. 2 was the album that found Jay crossing over into pop territory, as the Annie-sampling single “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” gave Jay his first jolt of mainstream popularity—which he has ridden into his status as one of our premiere music stars.
Dr. Dre, 2001
The long-awaited, unofficial sequel to Dre’s landmark solo debut The Chronic (in some circles, it’s still called Chronic 2001, it’s long-rumored working title) hits just as hard as its predecessor and features a handful of tracks (including “What’s the Difference?” and especially “The Next Episode”) that sounded instantly timeless—and have remained so. READ FULL STORY