FEATURE: Royce Da 5′ 9″, Rejuvenated

For Royce Da 5’9″, the adage “real recognizes real” couldn’t be truer. First linking up with a pre-stardom Eminem back in 1996 to form the lyrical tandem Bad Meets Evil, The Detroit MC has now aligned himself with another set of beat tape abusers—Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Crooked I—to create Slaughterhouse. And as the supergroup becomes the talk of every hip-hop fanatic on the Web, Royce has caught his second wind, rocking his digital EP, The Revival, for dolo. He’s continuing his copious output of lava-like one-liners with the third installment of his Bar Exam mixtape, next month’s Slaughterhouse group LP and his fifth album Street Hop tailing in September. Here, Nickel Nine talks Relapse, killing Auto-Tune twice, and traumatizing PETA.

XXLMag.com: Your EP The Revival dropped last week. What were you aiming to bring back?

Royce Da 5’9″: I’m bringing hip-hop back—real hip-hop, real lyrics. Hip-hop is on the operating table taking its last couple breaths and me along with my Slaughterhouse crew is the CPR. We the defibrillators. Fuck all this other shit.

XXL: Who or what, in your opinion, is the murder suspect?

Royce Da 5’9″: Come on, man, you see it. Everybody sees it. I don’t want to start no waves or point fingers, but shit is garbage.

XXL: Jay-Z blames Auto-Tune, which you should know—you rapped over his “D.O.A.” beat twice. Did you expect the Internet heads to call you out for recycling an old verse the first time?

Royce Da 5’9″: I knew what the comments was going to be. [Laughs] I told Joey I wasn’t prepared for Green Lantern. My brain is on overload—we did that [Slaughterhouse] album so fast, I was still finishing up my album [Street Hop], and trying to do Bar Exam 3. I’m a verse manufacturer, all day, every day. I just didn’t have verses fresh in my memory yet. I told Joey, “I’m going to have to spit some shit that niggas already heard.” [He said] “So what, nigga, come on!” So I told myself, I’m just going to body the “D.O.A.” beat again tomorrow.

XXL: Do you think fans should hold rappers to those standards of newness?

Royce Da 5’9″: I don’t think people take into consideration what’s going on. Back in the day when I was doing radio with [Eminem], we’d go through the same three or four verses all over the country. Now, the second you say it, it’s video and audio documented on the ’Net, and you can never say it again. Then they bashed Drake for rhyming off his Blackberry at the station. This is a human brain we’re talking about. How do you expect niggas to memorize all this shit so fast? Niggas be drinking and shit. I don’t think it’s fair, but it is what it is.

XXL: Speaking of Eminem, what’d you think of Relapse?

Royce Da 5’9″: It’s not my favorite, but I think people were just criticizing his album because he set the bar so high. He’s desensitized the human ear. Now you’re listening to him with so much bias. But if you take yo’ head out your ass and really listen to it, that’s a great album. Jay-Z is about to have the same problem. It’s nothing that those two men can ever say again that’s going to make people go crazy.

XXL: For a lot of people, it wasn’t what Em was saying, but how he was saying it. Namely, with that accent.

Royce Da 5’9″: I can see what they’re saying about the accent flow. I love when he do that shit. I would’ve liked him to switch it up more. I got my way that I want to hear Marshall rap just like everybody else, because I’m a fan. The fan is automatically stingy. He wants you to be exactly what he wants you to be. Just like people say, “I like the battle-rapping Royce,” or “I like the commercial Royce.” I like to hear Em bite niggas’ heads off. So the accent thing is cool, I just don’t want to hear it as much as the battle Em.

XXL: You completed the Slaughterhouse LP in only a week. How do you think the recording pace affected the quality?

Royce Da 5’9″: Maybe it could be better if we spent a whole lot of time on it, but then again, any longer than a few weeks to a month, we’re over-thinking it. That shit is not rocket science when you get those four individuals in that booth. I do every Bar Exam in two weeks, and that’s just my own shit. I think it’s good that we did it fast. It’s definitely a classic album—that took no thought.

XXL: We interviewed Crooked I recently, and he suggests that we give the group a XXL cover. What would be your ideal concept for the shoot?

Royce Da 5’9″: Yeah, we need to be on that cover, man. What else in hip-hop are people excited about? This is what I wanted to do for the album cover—some fucking bloody shit, where we’re standing in a slaughterhouse with pig heads all over the place and chainsaws. Some racy, edgy, crazy-looking shit, where we don’t care about the animal-rights activists.

XXL: Graphic. We also got Joell Ortiz to relay a question to you. He asks, if there were another four MCs that could compete with Slaughterhouse, who would they be?

Royce Da 5’9″: Only the greats, you can’t compare nobody else to us. We’ll chop their fucking heads off. I say Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas and Jesus Christ. That’s my four. I’m dead fuckin’ serious. I think they’ll take us—because Jesus is in there. [Laughs]

XXL: Will Slaughterhouse be only for the purists—an album worth of punchline-packed 16s?

Royce Da 5’9″: We stayed true to what we’re known for, but ended up with records that I think radio will fuck with. All four of us can make records, so when we get together, what do you think we gon’ do? It’s definitely not going to just be us kicking verses back to back to back for a whole album… it’s going to be bigger than people see.—John Kennedy

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Anticipating the Slaughterhouse project……

    • FLOSS

      Whats good wit you Pierzy

      • $ykotic

        My dudes! The only thing I’m not feeling is the one week thing. At least 3 weeks to feel it out and tweak. but that’s me.

        XXL give them the cover. Jay & 50 can have it after that.

        Oh yeah FLOSS you know I seen that SOB’s footage. I’m not gonna Budden Royce’s shine right now.

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        What’s poppin’ fellas?

        FLOSS, how you been? I’ve just been living, man. I took a step back for a minute due to the multiplicity that was going on down here but it’s all good. Work, school, XXL, hip-hop, the usual… what about you?

        Lately, I’ve been digging back into the classics. Today the choice was AZ’s Pieces of a Man.

        What up $yk???

        • $ykotic

          What it do, P?

          I’m back in NaS’ “It was Written”, and Masta Killa’s “No Said Date”. Just copped a 2k3 Armada, I need some bangers in it.

        • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

          Is it possible that It Was Written is actually underrated considering how people felt when it dropped that it wasn’t Illmatic?

          NaS says some shit on there!

        • http://www.myspace.com/fastlifearchitects miles archer

          I’m of the belief that It Was Written is better than any Jay-Z album not named Reasonable Doubt.

          Miles Archer

      • Grimey G

        Can you faggots stop sending personal messages to each other, its really gay. Just ask “Pierzy” “whats good wit him” when you go over to his house to blow him later ok?

        • valdez

          damn grimey g. LMAO!!

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Slaughterhouse is that shit!

  • G

    I hope this album is good. “One week” to do a whole project with 4 different MCs? I don’t know I got a funny feeling about this one.

    Everything I’ve heard so far suggest it will be worth my time and money, but I don’t know about “classic”. What is the standard for a classic album these days?

    G

  • http://www.undergroundfuzion.com shod harris

    I believe this album will be one of the only classics this year besides Jay but it should be hot.

    • BIRDMAN64

      ONE OF THE ONLY CLASSICS? REALLY? WHAT BOUT EM U DUMB FUCK?

  • vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    prolly was a good interview but i was to busy laughin at the fedora!! rofl!! you ain’t detroit red nigga!! lol!!

  • Avenger XL

    You know what would be ill? If rappers simply worked on making the best music they could make rather than keying in on bringing back “real Hip-hop”. Hip-hop is still a powerful cultural art form and it doesn’t need saving. What we need is diversity in the music distribution stream. There is a time and place/audience for most music. These rappers and artist who claim they have power should step up for diversity if they care about the image and culture of hip-hop. Because no song or album will truely usher in anything other than a knew trend and songs of substance should not be considered only trends.

  • DADE COUNTY 305

    Avenger XL… I agree with what u said!!!! Rappers be killin me with that ima bring real hip hop back. Nigga there’s plenty lanes for hip hop artist. Just go back to all the MC’s back in the 80′s and 90′s. So RAPPERS and FANS quit with ima bring back REAL HIP HOP!!!

  • Shaun Vega

    I THINK ROYCE WILL DO WHAT ROYCE DOES BEST,PROVIDE A CLEAR PICTURE TOO HIS PUNCHLINE`S,AND LYRICALLY DO THINGS THAT THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN NOT DO WITH WORD`S.ROYCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT EMCEE,IT JUST SEEMS LIKE A HE DOES NOT GET THE THE EXSPOURE THAT HE SHOULD FOR HIS SKILL`S.IT DOES NOT TAKE 3YEARS TOO WRITE A GREAT ALBUM OR MIX CD.,IT ONLY TAKES A CLEAR MIND AND SOME GOOD DIRECTION,CHASED BY HOT BEAT`S,AND THERE YOU GO 1. HOT ALBUM.SO WHAT IF HE RECYCLED SOME OF HIS OTHER SHIT,BETTER HIS LYRIC`S THAN SOMEBODY ELES SHIT.I WOULD LOVE TOO SEE “ROYCE” WORK WITH “SHAUN VEGA”OR OTHER LOCAL CATS,SEEING THAT HE COULD HELP THE NEXT JAY-Z OR NAS,ETC.

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  • Thworldisyours

    Royce is quickly becoming my favorite emcee in the game right now ever since Bar Exam…

  • FLOSS

    Only the greats, you can’t compare nobody else to us. We’ll chop their fucking heads off. I say Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas and Jesus Christ. That’s my four. I’m dead fuckin’ serious. I think they’ll take us—because Jesus is in there. [Laughs

    That nigga Royce is a fool for that one but shit I agree aint nobody fucking with SH , hate if you wanna but them niggas all go in. Fuck you gonna do against a team with no weak links nigga get real.

  • Curtis75Black

    I’m glad I’m a Libra,so when this opus drops I’ll have a level head. Not expecting too much -that’s when you get dissapointed/not thinking it’s gonna be wack – which is simply foolish. I want something I’m gonna enjoy with 1 or 2 tracks of overkill !! Diversity is the key for this project to be sucessful.

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  • Sleepy Wonder

    Completed In One Week? I Don’t Know Y’all. I Hope They Brought Their A-Game On This One.

  • D Sizzo

    royce da 5’9 is that nigga slaughterhouse should of foreal gotten the cover of the august issue but hopefully xxl will get it right and put them on the september issue cover.

  • Hussle’s way

    Imagine Jay,Em and Nas forming a group. DAMN

  • realmattic

    royce da 5’9 is weak at times man. He only gets real lyrical on dj premier joints. On everything else that nigga boring. Just telling the truth man. NO HATE

  • john cochran

    Niggas trippin on them doin it in a week, but when you think about it it makes perfect sense. If all 4 already got songs done or ideas, then the others just have to come up with verses. My only concern with them is beat selection. Royce done been on some good beats, but joell and joe got a rep for havin some lame beats on they albums.

  • barack yomama

    This shit gonna be wack. We talkin bout 4 battle MC’s makin a album. Not only that, but has beens who never reached their full potential individually. So what make y’all think they gonna crack off collectively?

  • Apollo

    Yeah Hussle that would be something worth checking for no doubt, but i cant help but feel that em would stick out so much , but you forgot about jesus…hahaha, but on the real slaughterhouse make some tight music.

    I wonder what jesus and god think of rap anyways??

    i bet they like the stuff for real, thr real stuff about people tellin the stories of their struggle, although i bet he doesnt like girls bein called hoes and shit…

    Apollo

  • Hostyle

    Give them the cover or we will start a riot up in here and burn your shit down!

  • Apollo

    yeah, Hostyle thats some revolutionary shit

  • adrian smith erdington birmingham england

    slaughthouse the album going to be sick cant wait bring that sick to england the tour luv eminem relapse album better than encore

  • adrian smith erdington birmingham england

    slaughthouse the album going to be sick cant wait bring that tour to england luv eminem relapse album better than encore

  • j

    Slaughterhouse! The Revival is the shit too!

  • http://www.myspace.com/gqnaija Darq

    Wassup fam?

    Well…i know already that Slaugherhouse LP is NO classic…with that ‘The One’ song on it…but i’m still looking foward to it anyway…

    LOL…about the other four emcee group…but i honestly doubt those guys need Jesus (at least not in the booth with them dropping bars) to body the Slaughterhouse crew…
    They still the hottest group in HipHop right now though…
    Word from Nigeria

  • BROWN

    WHAT ABOUT THE L.O.X , STATE PROP, G-UNIT, ALL GREAT GROUPS RESPECTIVELY AND THEY CAN SPIT

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  • siriusharm

    I bought the Slaugtherhouse Albulm and I must concur with Royce the shit is classic and I agree that hip-hop fans have put on a blind fold to real hip hop lyrics and beats and just sold out for a gold grill and a platinum chain. I call this era of hip-hop brainless because all people wanna do is dance and drink in the club. It’s about time we seen some real talent.