Royce Da 5’9 – Death Is Certain

Royce Da 5'9 - Death Is CertainDetroit MC Royce da 5’9″ is definitely one of the industry’s most underrated rappers. From his tight, complex style to his amazing wordplay to his very emotional verses, Nickel Nine is (in this reviewer’s opinion) probably a match for or iller than someone like Jay-Z or the deceased Big L (RIP). 5’9″‘s latest album tries for versatility but ends up seeming to be more than one man can handle alone. Doesn’t stop Royce from delivering fire every time, and many of the tracks are great ones. It’s also absolutely crammed with subliminal disses toward D12 and the Aftermath camp, unsurprisingly enough…


1) Intro 

Just a few sound effects; footfals, door opening, etc.

2) Regardless

Great string beat, very soulful, a kanye-styled beat; starts off with the same lyrics as Eminem’s Lose Yourself–His arms are sweaty/knees weak arms are heavy/ (hmmm..) The track has Royce spittin some determined shit about how no one can make him leave the game but himself.

3) Throw Back 

Great track; love the energetic, aggresive, get-the-*****-out-ma-way beat, Royce flows to with perfection with a confident, aggresive verse..Nickel’s usual siccness. Hook’s assisted by a female and very catchy.

4) What I Know 

A sudden switch from the last track, kinda disorienting; mellow beat, not touchin me that much..however Royce’s sung hook sounds like Nate did it and is oddly catchy and his verses are fire.

5) I Promise 

Cool beat; Royce spits more illness, seems to be talkin to God about how no one wants to let him in the game and he’s sittin on all the potential he has (I feel like Nas before he dropped Ether/)

6) Call Me Never!

What seem to be Royce’s phone messages, prolly fake, an attempt at a day in the life of Royce…iono what it’s sposed to do..

7) Hip Hop

Great beat, Royce laying verses about how the game isnt as real as it used to be and the sad state of current rap. Great track.

8) Gangsta 

Truthfully, one of the only tracks on the album i wasn’t really feeling at all. Dont like either the assisted hook, or the plain subject matter. At first the beat seems imaginitive, something out of a cliche old western, but soon gets boring.

9) T.O.D.A.Y.

Big change from the last track; this is my personal favorite. Love the piano beat and the chorus sung by Ingrid Smalls and rapped by Royce; a frustrated Royce questions how die-hard his fans really are and his own skills.

10) I & Me 

Dark, creepin, Mobb Deep-ish track, great beat but Royce again talks about lack of mainstream success, which is beginning to get old. At points Royce quotes Makaveli’s infamous “Truest shit I ever wrote” line from Hail Mary. Tracks like these Royce starts to fall into monotony, not very interesting.

11) Beef

A remake of the cut “What’s Beef” by Notorious BIG, oddly enough a subliminal diss track toward 50 Cent and rappers who ride 2pac’s dick (Pac should be pissed/50percent of the niggas suckin his dick is *****/) and references to 50’s shooting and the battle with D12.

12) Bomb 1st

Unrelated to the 2pac track, another i wasn’t really feeling, however more imagininative than ‘Gangsta.’ Details instructions to a successful murder, but still a bit monotone.

13) Everybody Goes 

Another good, creepy beat, Royce being more aggressive but still not very refreshing.

14) Death is Certain pt. 2 (It Hurts)

YES! The break in the monotony, the title track and one of the best cuts. Another excellent track; Nickel Nine raps about his homie gettin shot and dealing with his distress and the man’s moms. Very emotional track, again one of the best tracks on here.

15) Something’s Wrong With Him 

A very emotional, bitter track about how everyone seems to have a problem with Royce and the affect the stress has on his family life.


Overall: 3.5/5

Royce has the potential to drop a classic album, but he tries to tackle more than he’s ready for here and near the end of the CD his energy seems burned out. Through that, and the needless gangsta tracks, Royce does deliver some gems and has more versatility and thought than half the rappers–no, 75% of the rappers in the game right now. No matter the shortcomings, still one of the best albums of 2003 next to Kanye’s College Dropout. Due to the fact that the album was mostly produced by one guy, a lot of the beats will have the same style which can get boring–even though a handful are great. Give the man some funding, and some more renowned producers (RZA, for example, would do a great track for Royce; so would Kanye West or Alchemist) and the man will have a great CD. My advice: Cop this here; we’ll be seein a lot more of Royce in the months to come.

Royce da 5’9 – Rock City

Royce da 59 - Rock CityWhen I picked this album up I didn’t know much about Royce da 5’9”. I knew he was affiliated with Eminem, and that could possibly mean he’s only selling records because of that. Other artists has sold a lot more with Eminem than they would without him. We’ll see…

1. It’s Tuesday (Intro)

Royce da 5’9” starts off this album with a slow, cool song. Neat beat and cool lyrics. This is something between a normal track and an intro.

2. Rock city feat. Eminem

Eminem’s co-producing this track and since the production is good I’m guessing he did a good job. This has to be one of the first commercial tracks he produced. He’s also featured on the song… He’s really just doing the chorus and it sounds kinda gay. Eminem shouldn’t sing like this.

3. Get’cha paper feat. Tre’ Little

This is more like it! A slow but still raw track. Royce’s coming out hard and so is Tre Little even tho he’s not as raw as Royce da 5’9”. Tight track and a catchy hook!

4. We live (danger)

This song is also kinda slow… The production is cool and so is the lyrics. Nothing special really. The hook is kinda catchy.

5. You can’t touch me

This, just like the other tracks, is a kind of slow beat with rawer lyrics on it. I like the beats, but the rest of it isn’t all that. All the tracks has sounded too much the same this far.

6. Let’s go feat. Twista

Twista’s one of my favourite Midwest rapper. Nobody can spice up a track like he does when he’s spitting a verse in his typical way. Same thing with this track. If it wasn’t for Twista I probably wouldn’t have like this one too much, but now I think it’s really cool. The production is above average, too.

7. D-Elite Pt 1

A 1.38 long track. It’s cool but the length of it make it seem more like a skit.

8. D-Elite Pt 2 feat. Tre´, Cha Cha, Jah 5’9”, Cut Throat and Billy Nix)

Tight beat and production for this one and I enjoy all the verses. They’re all good rappers. I’m not really into the slow kind of production Royce da 5’9”, or maybe the executive produced; Eminem, seem to like.

9. She’s the one feat. Tre’ Little

Boaring music… the rap don’t save it. Skip this track.

10. Boom

Damn! Just as I had lost faith in this album this track comes up! DJ Premier is a tight producer and he’s proving it right here! Tight production no doubt, and Royce da 5’9” come out tight too. This is my absolute favourite track on this album this far. No contest!

11. What would you do

Royce da 5’9”’s rapping about how bad he is, and what he’d do to you if you messed with him… The production is nice, but the talking at the end kinda ruins it.

12. Who am I

Uh oh! 2pac die-hard-fans will not like this. Royce’s rapping over the Pain production. When Ja Rule did that, 2pac fans started hating on him. Ja Rule took an entire 2pac verse and just changed a few words tho, Royce’s doing new lyrics to it. It’s cool but I usually don’t like when a rapper’s taking someone elses track to remake it.

13. Life

Nice slow jam. I’m not normally into slow jams but I like this one. I believe the hook is taken from some other song… Either way it’s catchy and I like it. One of the better tracks on this cd.

14. My friend

Cool way to finish of the album. The production is kinda old school like, and Royce da 5’9”’s showing skills on the microphone.

The question I asked myself when I got my hands on this album was if Royce da 5’9”’s only selling records because of his affiliation with Eminem. The answer is both yes and no. Personally I like it, but I’m also sure the mainstream audience isn’t. It’s an average rap album and sounds more like an underground album than a commercial release. It’s a good thing he’s not changing his style to sell records, tho. This is an average album and therefore I give it 3 out of 5 stars.