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Royce da 5’9 says he was “blown away” the first time he heard Jay Z’s debut classic album Reasonable Doubt. He feels the same 20 years later.

While Royce da 5’9 was visiting’s studios he took a moment to tell us how Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt had an impact on him as a fan and an MC. Where most of his friends slept on the album initially, he brags that he was “early to the Jay Z party.”

“When I heard Reasonable Doubt for the first time, I was blown away,” he says. “Jay Z was the first person who made me want to rap for the sake of rapping, and be fly at the same time. I didn’t think that rappers rapping about what he was rapping about, were supposed to rap that good.”

Royce goes on to say that he felt there was a difference between “fly” rappers and real MCs. But after hearing the album, he changed his stance.

“The fly artists made radio records and MCs kept it gutter,” he says. “[Jay Z] bridged the gap for me growing up and made me accept things as one. That was a very instrumental album in my life. I knew back then that that album was here to stay.”

Royce and Jay share a connection. His part-time rhyme partner Eminem produced and rapped on the song “Renegade” from Jay’s The Blueprint album. The track was originally produced for Royce’s debut album Rock City but was eventually given to Jay.

Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt turns 20 years old June 25.

Photo: HipHopWired