Detroit has been known as a breeding ground for the Great White Rap Hop that is Eminem, but some seem to forget that Slim is not the only lyrical giant. Some continue to forget about Royce Da 5’9. Before E1 Entertainment and Amalgam Digital became the move for artists to make, Royce was holding it down on the independent movement. It’s been four years since anyone has heard a new album from the Detroit MC, but he has been able to keep fans hunger at bay with his Bar Exam series. From the age of fellow MC Eminem, Royce has continued to prove that a monster breathes and only rage follows whenever he steps in front of that microphone.
Now he has risen again and emerged as being a member of the super-group Slaughterhouse that are here to show that sometimes it’s not about the money and it’s all about the music. In an interview with HipHopWired Royce touched on his upcoming group project as well as his separate musical endeavors. The common trait that Royce continued to preach was the need of a classic and the delivery of one with these upcoming albums.
HipHopWired: As your upcoming Street Hop has been two years in the making and four years since the release of Independent’s Day, what can we expect with this next release?
Royce Da 5’9: It’s my best album. It’s my best material that I ever recorded. It’s phenomenal material. It’s the same with the Slaughterhouse album. I honestly believe that I’m sitting on two classic albums and they weren’t over-thought. I just went in and cut my songs. I didn’t do my album fast so I just took my time and did it, but when I went in there I didn’t over-think anything. Sometimes when I went in I came out with two songs in a day, sometimes one song or just one verse. The process is real easy.
HipHopWired: What can we expect on your September release in terms of production and artists that will be featured for your album?
Royce Da 5’9: I got my man Nottz, Street Runnaz and Emile on the album. I got this cat named Q Homes from overseas that gave me a banger with Busta Rhymes on it. I got Frequency, Preme definitely, Bink, 6 July who did the “Part of Me” joint. I got Phonte from Little Brother on it and my little brother Kid Viscious on the album. I didn’t go too crazy with the features. It’s definitely going to be a monumental album for my career. And of course, Slaughterhouse. That’s like two songs.
HipHopWired: Speaking of “Part of Me,” what was your mentality behind the song and the subsequent video? Visually and lyrically, it was a jaw-dropper.
Royce Da 5’9: I feel like I’m cut from the Eminem cloth and I come from an era where I came up on Biggie and Nas. When they tell stories, there’s a twist in the end. This twist is just my version of what a twist is. When I do my Shyte, I aim to fu*k people up and I try to twist your mind up when I do Shyte. Everybody knows that I can rhyme, but I just want to show people another side of my creativity and what I can do. Not every rapper can tell a story. Not every rapper can tell a story in 3 minutes and go into detail and have a twist at the end. If people really understood the mechanics of what goes into some of the Shyte that I do then I think they would respect me a lot more. That’s probably why I get more love from the MC’s then I do from regular people that are just listening and don’t really know what goes into it.
HipHopWired: What was the concept behind Slaughterhouse’s first single, “The One”?
Royce Da 5’9: With our verses we’re using a lot of different people’s names that are big stars in the entertainment business and the rock business. We’re just rocking out, but doing it in a clever way on some lyrical Shyte. The song is dope; it’s lyrical, kind of funny and the video is dope. It’s real close to being finished and it’s a big look for us. I think it’s something that people don’t think that we can do. I don’t think they think we can make actual songs with structure. They probably just think we are going to just rhyme and have a whole bunch of verses without hooks and do the whole album like that, we can’t sell anybody that because it would be the end of our group quick. I have way bigger plans for the group and so do the rest of the guys. We really think that we can take it there with this situation and show that we are a force to be reckoned with. The “One” joint is just going to actually show people that we can make real records and not poppy, soft records.
HipHopWired: The video for “The One” was featured on BET’s The Deal. Being regarded as underground artists, how does that feel being showcased in the mainstream?
Royce Da 5’9: It’s a great thing and it makes us feel like we are back in the game again. It’s nothing that surprises us because we all had video shoots with BET and MTV coming through. It’s nothing where we’ll be like, “Aww man, we made it!” We understand that there’s a lot more Shyte that we’re going to have to do. These are some of the things that come along the way. We are grateful for it and feel as though it is a blessing, but we know there’s much more work that we need to do so we try not to harp on certain things that are happening. We didn’t sign the papers with E1, shake hands and be like we made it. We know that is just one step towards our goals and that’s one goal accomplished.
HipHopWired: With stations such as BET having a minimal amount of shows that can showcase artists and their music, do you feel as though there isn’t enough promotion from television?
Royce Da 5’9: It’s obviously different now and reality TV has done that. These big corporations are just looking at the numbers, that’s it. They’re not thinking about saving Hip-Hop or resurrecting it, they just want numbers so you can’t really blame MTV for only really showing reality television because it’s just that era. I don’t care what time The Deal comes on or if it even comes on. I’m always going to be able to reach the people that want to hear what we’re doing, no matter what. I don’t think that TV is a huge part of promotion, but that’s just my personal opinion.
HipHopWired: What happens after the Slaughterhouse album drops?
Royce Da 5’9: Even after this album, Slaughterhouse is Slaughterhouse. We’re not done with each other for a minute until we prove what we’re trying to prove. We’re going to continue to put our solo projects out and we’re going to continue to do our group albums as long as people want to hear it.
HipHopWired: You’ve received critical acclaim with The Bar Exam 1 and 2 mixtapes. Can we expect to be hearing a third installment of the series sometime in the near future?
Royce Da 5’9: It’s looking like it’s going to be a little longer down the line just because I’ve been so busy doing this other stuff and I haven’t had the chance to really key in and just get that Shyte done. The Bar Exams never really take me that long to do. Me actually recording the whole Shyte, once I actually get it to a DJ, it takes longer waiting for the DJ to get it back to me than it does me making it. I don’t even know when I’m going to have the time to just go in and get it done so that’s why periodically I just do a freestyle just to let them know that I’m going to do it. I haven’t had a chance to go start it so all I have right now for it is a couple of freestyles that I leaked. Realistically it’s at least going to come out after the Slaughterhouse album.
HipHopWired: As you and Eminem have since amended your issues and he returned this year with Relapse, is there any chance of you two working together in the future? Another chance at hearing Bad Meets Evil?
Royce Da 5’9: I don’t know. I think that it’s always a possibility. The good thing about it is the fact that we’re good and that we’re friends again. We don’t really speak that much but I’m real busy and so is he. Em isn’t necessarily a phone dude and the way I’m living my life and the way he’s living his, there’s not really a premise for us to ever really see each other. It would have to be some Shyte where none of us push the issue and it just has to happen. We could just bump into each other somewhere, set a date where we can bang something out or he just calls me saying that we need to do this. It’s gotta be something like that. As I said, it’s always a possibility because everything else is in place for it to happen, but I can’t guarantee that anything is going to happen on tape. All I can say is that anything’s possible.
HipHopWired: Crooked I stated that the music outweighs the money. Does this mentality provide a landscape of authentic music that you guys have in store?
Royce Da 5’9: Listen, we went in there and got creative. We didn’t spend a lot of money on this album and we didn’t feel like we needed a lot to do the album. We obviously aren’t doing the project for the money because Shyte, look at the money. It’s not like anybody is getting rich off the Shyte. This is just monumental for Hip-Hop. We take shorts. We go on the road and take less money than we would get if we just went out on our own for the sake of Hip-Hop. Our actions show that it’s not about the money and it’s about putting a great project. I want a classic album under my belt. I really feel like the group album is the premise for me to do that.