Royce da 5’9″ [Interview]
Detroit, MI – If you pay attention to hip-hop culture, even just a bit, then you know that Royce da 5’9”is that underground artist. Surviving high-profile beefs, being locked-up and record label drama, Royce is consistent with an honest approach fans love. The recently released mixtape The Bar Exam 2 has the hip-hop community going wild; “did you hear that track?!” I had a chance to speak with one of my favourite emcees of all time while he was prepping for his Canadian tour with D12 and Obie Trice which kicks off November 6th in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Ladies and gentlemen, Royce da 5’9”!
HipHopCanada: Peace, Royce da 5’9”!
Royce: Hey Tara, you good?
HipHopCanada: Excellent. Let’s get into this- You’ve been releasing a lot of material lately. Is it all new?
Royce: A bit of both. The freestyles are all new, I record and release them immediately – no waiting on those. Some of the tracks you’re hearing now are older though. I’m working on the album so writing and releasing has been part of the preparation.
HipHopCanada: With so much anticipation for the album, when is it due?
Royce: Right now it’s looking like February, maybe March of 2009. Green Lantern and Premo are definitely on it. I’ve got two or three more tracks to do with Premo still. We actually just released the single “Shake This” and I saw the rough cut of the video right before you called.
HipHopCanada: The track is massive, What’s the video like?
Royce: It’s ill. Absolutely nothing generic, we made a point of having no jewellery or anything else expected. It fits the track. If you like real hip-hop, which it sounds like you do, you’ll love the video.
HipHopCanada: The Bar Exam 2 had a great response in Canada. What was recording that like, what’s your favourite track on the album?
Royce: [Laughing] That mixtape was recorded in 2 and a half weeks. Honestly, my little brother Vicious and I got drunk and didn’t leave the studio… we were focused on recording. As far as my favourite track though . . . I can’t say, they all have their own vibe and place in my heart.
HipHopCanada: Your track “Shot Down” over Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” is ill. With the history you and Kanye have, how is that now?
Royce: I love Kanye.
HipHopCanada: The blogs have obviously taken the Royce vs. Budden “beef” to another level- have you two actually spoken?
Royce: You know what? We actually just spoke and the funny thing is that neither of us mentioned any beef. That whole thing ain’t nothing.
HipHopCanada: Does that mean we can expect a Royce and Budden project? That would have the blogs going nuts.
Royce: [Laughing] I wouldn’t rule it out.
HipHopCanada: What about recording with Eminem for your album?
Royce: I wouldn’t rule that out either. Em is just busy right now. I haven’t spoken to him in months, he’s working hard but it’s not a closed idea. Last night I was with D12, D12 and I are doing a remix of “One Nation Under The Groove” by George Clinton! We spoke about him briefly.. He’s doing his own thing but it may just happen.
HipHopCanada: Dope . . . you just gave hope to the fans [Laughing]. You’ve worked with Classified among some other hip-hop artists from Canada. Do you follow any Canadian emcees?
Royce: Not like I should. It isn’t easily accessible, it seems. Class and I just did another track though. I keep up with Classified.
HipHopCanada: When was the last time you actually battled?
Royce: In person?
Royce: Wow, it’s been years. Since I actually cared enough to battle? Probably after I signed my first record label. I don’t care enough to battle anymore.
HipHopCanada: Do you have any favourite Canadian tour memories?
Royce: Red Deer, Alberta . . . that show stands out. They were WILD, so crazy. I think I actually recorded a track there . . . so wild I don’t remember. Canadians are always a good time.
HipHopCanada: What can we expect from this Canadian tour?
Royce: Definitely some thorough Royce da 5’9”. My brother is coming on tour; we’ll be doing a hot set. D12 and Obie and me; we’ve got humour and heat.
HipHopCanada: I know Canada is hyped. How can fans get at you?
Royce: MySpace. I consider MySpace work so I’m on that as much as I can be . . . hit me up there.
HipHopCanada: Dope, Thank you so much.
Royce: Thanks, Tara. See you in Canada!
Written by Tara Muldoon for HipHopCanada