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Royce da 5’9 Interview

Taking 15 minutes from backwards running a marathon (so he can see what second place looks like), the legendary  lyricist Royce da 5’9” spoke exclusively with HipHopWired about his secret to success, Eminem being crowned King of Hip-Hop, and which southern rapper could be the fifth member of Slaughterhouse.

Hip-Hop Wired:  So how is Detroit looking these days, dealing with this recession?

Royca Da 5’9:  Detroit is okay, you know, some areas when you ride through it’s a little bit sad … but we get through it, things are looking up.

Hip-Hop Wired:  Things are definitely looking up for you, you released Bad Meets Evil: The Sequel, got a number one slot with your Success is Certain, a Slaughterhouse album is slated to come out before the end of this year; are you working more or working differently?

Royca Da 5’9:  Yeah, I’m definitely working more, it’s a little too much working on all those projects at the same time, but I finally got my solo album out so I can only focus on my Slaughterhouse album … This is the first time in my career when I went over a month without actually recording. I normally record all the time. I’ve been on the road… I’m just trying to adapt.

Royce da 5’9 feat. Eminem – “Writer’s Block”

Hip-Hop Wired:  How are you working to adapt to that, is all this work changing your approach to music?

Royca Da 5’9:  I just kind of like to adapt to whatever’s going on in my life. I think the title “Success is Certain” is indicative of that … Whatever I’m going through in my life normally effects my music. Like back in the day when I did Death is Certain, the album was so dark because it was a dark period in my life. I couldn’t go in and rap about being happy even if I wanted … Now I’m a lot happier, a lot more positive, and I think that shows in music.

Hip-Hop Wired:  Is this happiness inspiring you put more work in?

Royca Da 5’9:  You know what? I’m inspired by a lot of things. I went to jail a few years back, that was surprisingly inspiring … A lot of people had comments like “he’s not going to bounce back,” or “his career is finished” … that really inspired me to go out and want to do better … and then from there, a lot of positive things started happening. Once I started putting positive things out in the universe, positive things started coming my direction.

Hip-Hop Wired:  It sounds like “The Secret.”  Have you ever seen that movie?

Royca Da 5’9:  Naw, I’ve never seen that. Who was in that?

Hip-Hop Wired:  It’s a documentary, it’s based on this book, it’s like an Oprah kind of thing. But since we’re on the topic of media, Rolling Stone recently named Em “King of Hip Hop.” What was your reaction to that?

Royca Da 5’9:  I don’t think anybody should name anybody king of anything. Hip hop boils down to a matter of preference … We’re all fans, so we all think our opinion matters more than anything, but it doesn’t. Jay Z is the best at what he does, Eminem is the best at what he does, Nas is the best at what he does, you can’t name one person the King of Hip Hop.

Bad Meets Evil (Em & Royce) feat. Bruno Mars – “Lighters”

It’s too many different styles, it’s too many different personalities to name one person to dominate over anything and trust me, believe, Em did not aspire to be king of anything. People need to stop doing that. If anything, it put Em in a bad position … did he even want that? You call somebody the king of something, you don’t even know if somebody wants to be the king.

Hip-Hop Wired:  Speaking on wants, on your Twitter [@royceda59] somebody said you can be as big as Em and your response was something like “that’s a bit too much.” What is your definition of success, what do you want out of this whole shebang?

Royca Da 5’9:  Success is just you actually get paid to do what you love to do. I don’t measure success with dollar amounts because everybody doesn’t need to be rich to be happy. In terms of just getting big, Eminem big, that’s a bit too big for my taste. I’m not wired to be that big. I’m next to him all the time and I see the cons of being that successful, that famous.

Hip-Hop Wired:  One of the keys to success outlined on your album is:  “My Plan B is to complete Plan A.”  Then, what exactly is your Plan A?

Royca Da 5’9:  Once you start considering your Plan B, then you only halfway try to reach your goals, so my thing is to be extremely reckless with my Plan A … My Plan A is to just stay afloat in hip hop. I don’t need to be the biggest artist in the world, I don’t have to sell the most records. I just need to stay afloat.

Hip-Hop Wired:  That’s very zen. So, sifu, death is certain, success is certain, are there any other certainties?

Royca Da 5’9:  Death and success, that pretty much covers it all right there.

Hip-Hop Wired:  What about Slaughterhouse coverage? You’ve got a crew member from Long Beach,  Jersey City,  Brooklyn. You’re traveling below the Mason Dixon Line this week for a show in Baltimore; are there any southern rappers you’d consider for the roster?

Royca Da 5’9:  Well, Bun B is already an unofficial member of Slaughterhouse. He’s like the unofficial fifth member … but it’s a lot of great artists down there. I’m really feeling Big K.R.I.T., T.I., Ludacris, Andre 3000. I mean, it’s a long list of very talented people in the South, but Bun is family. If I had to choose anybody, I would choose Bun B.