Royce da 5’9” has been a very prolific artist in recent years. His most recent project Book of Ryan dropped in May . Once again delivering a high caliber pure hip hop album. Prior to that his collaboration album PRhyme 2 with legendary producer DJ Premier came out in late March. As well as the Bar Exam 4 mixtape hosted by DJ Green Lantern just over a year ago. Early on in his career he made a decision that for a time he regretted. However in the big picture it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Royce da 5’9” – Caterpillar feat. Eminem & King Green
PRhyme – Rock It
Royce da 5’9” – Gov Ball feat. Westside Gunn & Conway
Royce had befriended Eminem in 1997 at a local concert venue in Detroit. Royce was the opening act for Usher and Eminem had a booth promoting his Slim Shady EP. Kino, Royce’s manager had initiated the conversation between the two. The following year Eminem signed a deal with Dr Dre’s Aftermath label. Royce had made such an impression on him that he forwarded his demo to Dr Dre.
Dr Dre was impressed and reached out to Royce to be flown out. (http://www.inflexwetrust.com/2016/04/07/video-royce-da-59-on-how-he-met-dr-dre/) Once Royce arrived he went to the studio to work on what would ultimately result in Dr Dre’s album The Chronic 2001. Royce would end up writing the verses for “The Message”. The most powerful song on the album which served as a tribute to Dr Dre’s deceased brother.
Royce da 5’9” Meeting Dr Dre
Other contributions to the project Royce provided was the original version of “Xxplosive” titled as “The Way I Be Pimpin”. The other track was “The Throne Is Mine”. He had also recorded the track “Bad Meets Evil” for Eminem’s album The Slim Shady LP. Dr Dre put a deal on the table for Royce to sign with his Aftermath Records. The deal was for 250k and unlimited access to Dr Dre’s beats. However there was another deal from Tommy Boy Records for a cool million dollars.
Dr Dre – The Way I Be Pimpin (Xxplosive orig) feat. Royce da 5’9”
Royce da 5’9” – The Throne Is Mine (prod. By Dr Dre)
Eminem – Bad Meets Evil feat. Royce da 5’9”
Royce ultimately decided to go with Tommy Boy Records. He claimed it was the biggest regret of his career. Seeing though how his career turned out Royce is content. Royce has been able to put out a lot of high quality hip hop content throughout the years. Whether it was through solo albums and mixtapes or through his group Bad Meets Evil with Eminem. Or PRhyme which consist of Royce and legendary producer DJ Premier and lastly the recently disbanded supergroup Slaughterhouse that he was a part of. He has had a long and fruitful career. Royce is well loved by his fans and critics alike.
There is a chance if Royce had signed to Aftermath that he would have had a higher profiled career. However at that point being on Aftermath was not a guarantee. The label at that point had put out two projects. Dr Dre Presents The Aftermath and The Firm. Even though both projects went platinum at the time they were both considered commercial failures. The other factor to consider was that many artists who were signed to Dr Dre’s label at some point never saw their project released. Two key examples are legendary emcees Rakim and King Tee. Dr Dre has a reputation of being a perfectionist to a fault and would have creative differences with his artist.
Also there is speculation that Dr Dre was not a fan of Royce’s manager Kino. Supposedly the reason why more of Royce’s work did not make it onto The Chronic 2001 was because of Kino. Allegedly he had been spreading the word that Royce was ghostwriting for Dr Dre. In addition to making comments alluding to in recording sessions Eminem would be the teacher and Dr Dre was his pupil.
Ultimately Royce made the right decision, avoiding the politics that would have been involved. Not sacrificing his manager Kino who remains by his side to this day. Most importantly though making music from the heart and not for commercial purposes. Resulting in a career that has been going on for over 20 years and still putting out high caliber material. Bucking the trend of falling off after being in the game for such a long time.