Bar for bar, only a few can are comparable to Royce Da 5â€™9â€. Heâ€™s penned hit records for P. Diddy, stood toe-to-toe and arguably outshined, Vibeâ€™s best rapper alive, Eminem. Yet, to your average music fan heâ€™s an unknown. As clichÃ© as it sounds, heâ€™s your favorite rappers favorite rapperâ€”just ask Nas. With three discs in tow for 2009, including the Slaughterhouse LP that has the blogosphere buzzing feverishly, Nickle-Nine is set to give fans a few more reasons why they should stop sleeping on him.
â€œEverybody talks all this shit about internet rappers but the internet is the new streets. Itâ€™s no different from when niggas were calling niggas mixtape rappers. Now theyâ€™re just calling them internet rappers.â€
Format: Slaughterhouse has a huge buzz online. How do you feel about the love the group is receiving so far?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: It feels great. It finally feels like weâ€™re moving forward. and I speak for all us when I say it finally feels like weâ€™re doing something right, you know what Iâ€™m saying (laughs)? Weâ€™re on a great path. It just feels like we finally got something.
With me standing next to these emcees itâ€™s forcing people to pay attention to me more. Everybody treating me right now like I just stepped it up out of nowhere, but man Iâ€™ve been doing this, I just think people havenâ€™t been paying attention. So now that we got these other things going on, people are starting to really listen to me and know that Iâ€™m dope.
Format: For all the fans salivating over the Slaughterhouse album, what can they expect when it drops?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: The Slaughterhouse album is crazy. The shit is real crazy. Itâ€™s Hip Hop quotable frenzy from front to back. I, personally, have never heard an album with this caliber of emcees on it just rhyme the way we did. I think people know we can rhyme. I think theyâ€™re going to get the album and expect to hear some lyrics, but what we got on there that they donâ€™t expect is real songs. We got singles. We got some undeniable shit. I think people are going to be real surprised with the way we put this together and weâ€™re going to get out of that box that people are putting us in.
Format: Slaughterhouse is made up of 4 dope emcees (Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Crooked I and you). You all have your respective cult followings. When Slaughterhouse begins to crack (increase in popularity) how will you all keep your egos in check?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: We donâ€™t really have to keep our egos in check. I donâ€™t think anyoneâ€™s put their ego aside yet. Weâ€™re all in the studio with huge egos but itâ€™s just big ass egos in the room and theyâ€™re not clashing (laughs). Joey still got his ego. He says his little shit, Ortiz, me, Crooked, we all still feel how we feel about ourselves, but what people donâ€™t realize is how much respect we have for each other. So I donâ€™t think weâ€™ll ever have to put them aside. We just need to stay in a room big enough to hold our egos (laughs).
Format: With Joeâ€™s situation with Method Man, if you were in Method Manâ€™s shoes how do you handle the situation?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: You know who I think handled Joey well? Melle Mel. He made a blog basically saying this is what Iâ€™ve achieved since you want to know. Iâ€™ve done this, this and this and then he ended it with a joke [saying], â€œ[Joey] youâ€™re the asscrack of Hip Hop.â€ People laughed about it and he kept it moving. The shit is squashed now. But I think Meth got a little too angry for his status. I donâ€™t think he needed to get that angry considering how much of a legend he is. I think if he wouldâ€™ve ignored Joey the situation wouldâ€™ve went away so quickly. The situation got big because they created a big ass deal about it. The shit is over with now. Joey spoke in Chicago about it at the show. They shook hands. Joey apologized and weâ€™re going to keep it moving. Ainâ€™t no use to keep dealing with the negativity, you know what Iâ€™m saying?
Format: Tell me about your long-awaited project Street Hopâ€”features, production, feel, you know?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: I got Slaughterhouse on the album twice. I got Busta Rhymes on the album. I got Phontae from Little Brother on the album. I got my little brother, Kid Vishis, on the album. I got production from Emile, Streetrunner, Nottz, Frequency, 6th of July (Carlos Brody), Preem (DJ Premier), Bink. I got a lot of people on there, a lot of monsters. Itâ€™s a well rounded album. You got your spittinâ€™ joints, your story joints, your concept joints. Itâ€™s a very well put together album. Like anything Iâ€™ve put out in the past doesnâ€™t compare. It doesnâ€™t even come close. Iâ€™m anxious to see what people are going to say. I just tested a record the other day. I leaked â€œGun Harmonizingâ€ on the net and they went crazy. Iâ€™m pretty much in pocket with what I think people are going to like. Itâ€™s going to be a good year.
â€œSlaughterhouse […]I got that shit tattooed on my hand. Thatâ€™s for life. Slaughterhouse is for life. Even if, God forbid, something bad happens and we break up for whatever reasons this shit is still an era in my life; a very, valuable and important one.â€
Format: When you leak your material on the internet and fans comment, how do you prevent yourself from being trapped in that box that fans create for you while staying true to yourself as an artist?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: Well yeah, thatâ€™s what I want. The artistic integrity that I have, is what the fans want me to do. The only fans that I can gauge what they want me to do are the ones on the internet because they leave comments. Iâ€™m researching, studying, reading the comments and listening to what they want to hear and giving them that. Everybody talks all this shit about internet rappers but the internet is the new streets. Itâ€™s no different from when niggas were calling niggas mixtape rappers. Now theyâ€™re just calling them internet rappers. Youâ€™re not the hottest shit in the street unless you have a hit and Iâ€™ll use Drake as an example. That nigga got records on the radio. Now heâ€™s making money. But before that, he was hot on the internet. His mixtape [So Far Gone] got hot on the internet. He ended up selling a bunch of units on the street because everything he did on the internet.
Format: Letâ€™s say Street Hop does big numbers and itâ€™s received well critically do you leave Slaughterhouse? How does that scenario play out?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: Naw man, weâ€™re a group. I got that shit tattooed on my hand. Thatâ€™s for life. Slaughterhouse is for life. Even if, God forbid, something bad happens and we break up for whatever reasons this shit is still an era in my life; a very, valuable and important one. I can always continue to do my solo shit. My solo shit is always first and foremost, but I just think that Slaughterhouse is such a crazy side hustle that opens up so many doors to so many new fans that I canâ€™t stop fuckinâ€™ with it. Iâ€™m rocking with [Slaughterhouse] until the wheels fall off.
Format: I think the way you were able to step in with the Charles Hamilton situation and dead it shows the type of respect you have in your hometown. So I wanted to ask, in the D, what type of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Royce Da 5â€™9â€: I donâ€™t want to go down as somebody who got into it with whoever and killed a bunch of niggas, but [instead as] somebody who got love in a bunch of neighborhoods. The only way youâ€™re going to get love is by giving love. So I just want to continue spreading love to all the neighborhoods like Iâ€™ve been doing. Right now, Detroit, this is my home. I can walk anywhere here by myself. It happened like that over a period of time by behaving in a proper manner and showing proper respect to the right people and getting it in return. So now I am in a position where I can squash a situation like that. Iâ€™ve been putting it down here for a long time. So I just want to leave that type of legacy behind. I want to have the kind of legacy that Proof left behind. I would be cool with that. I would be cool with the kind of legacy Dilla (R.I.P.) left behind as well.