Rapper Royce da 5'9" rolls into chart-topping territory with his pal Eminem and no one is surprised.
Published: August 24, 2011
Besides the different voices, how do the three projects differ? "Success is Certain is a lot different," Royce says. "I was working on the Slaughterhouse album, the EP and my solo album at the same time. I was actually recording ideas not knowing what it was for. I make the determination on what should go on what. So it's not that much different. The process isn't that different with any of them. [Recording with Eminem] is a simple process. It's actually kinda scary because, when we get in the studio, oftentimes we feel like we're the same person. The way we approach our solo shit is very similar. We kind of just fuse that together. We both obviously move off the music. If we hear something that we think is good, even if the beat's not hitting me the same way it's hitting him or vice versa, let's say it's hitting me but not him, then I'll write something and lay it down, and that will inspire him to write something. It's like we utilize everything in a situation and go from there."
On Aug. 26, Royce da 5'9" plays the Majestic Theatre in Detroit, followed by a show at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on Sept. 6. Both are important to the artist, for different reasons.
"The Majestic show is gonna be some other shit," he says. "That shit is gonna be phenomenal. I'm pulling out all the stops. The reason that I'm treating that show that way is because, 1) it's a big venue, and 2) it's an opportunity for me to perform in the city, not outside of the city but in the city, as a solo artist. It's the first time I've done that in a very long time so obviously I'm trying to make it an event. It's epic. Stuff that Detroit hasn't seen in a very long time on a hip-hop level. As far as the Blind Pig, it's a very historic venue. It's a small venue, but it means a lot to Detroit so I'm going there to treat it like so. I'll go there and rap my ass off, the same way I always try to do."
Royce da 5'9" isn't the rap clichéd immature punk anymore. He's no more likely to pull a gun on somebody today than he is to sprout wings out of his butt cheeks and fly. He's a father, a responsible working man. He's grown as a man too, and as a musician. He's now beginning to be rewarded.
"I know I've grown because I can see it," he says. "I'm pushing myself a lot more because I'm inspired by the people that I'm around. I didn't have those outside influences around me for a very long time. Now that I'm around Em all the time when he's doing his music, and others too, they're pushing me. They're making me want to be better. A lot of artists don't have that — just to keep up with artists who are great. Just trying to keep up with them automatically grows you up a lot faster. I don't know if it changes you but it definitely makes you grow."
Don't mistake his maturity for tediousness though. He's a grown-up dude, to be sure, but he's not dull. His rhymes are as biting and tight as they ever were. Tighter even, and there's a sharp wit in there reserved only for the best rappers. Eminem is on top of his game right now, and on the Bad Meets Evil EP Hell: The Sequel, the two dudes sound like equals.
Success is Certain is the title of Royce's new solo album. Maybe not, but it's deserved.
Royce da 5'9" plays Friday, Aug. 26, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-8700; and at the Blind Pig on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555.
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