Royce da 5' 9" - Rock City [Version 2.0]
The curse of high expectations.
In all forms of music, the curse has brought tons of otherwise incredible talents to their knees. Hip hop however, has perfected the art. Littering the landscape of hip hop are the carcasses of talents that have been hyped up only to fall flat on their faces. For Royce, judgment day has finally arrived in the form of "Detroit Rock City Version 2.0" his debut major label release. This debut has endured multiple delays (hence the 2.0), but was it worth the wait?
Things start off well with "It's Tuesday" which acts as a combo intro slash track, and features a gorgeous violin loop that descends in melody in a jutting fashion. "Rock City" the first single off this album is just a straight banger. Featuring Eminem on the chorus, this beat will have you nodding. However, I must say that the remix that is present on this album is not as good. Because this is an Enhanced CD, you are privy to the original "Rock City" video and song; that's where it's at.
Neptunes lend their production talent on 2 tracks: "Off Parole", and "Mr. Baller". The former is incredibly lame and lazily produced; while the latter is real jiggy, but is tightly produced. It's much more impressive than the former.
"You Can't Touch Me" is laidback, and Royce rides it perfectly spitting some nice battle lyrics, although I can't get over how smooth and club ready this is. Suprise surprise, it's Trackmasters on the track pimping out Royce. More accurately, it's Royce pimping out Royce since it was his call to do this track. Royce is just not a jiggy rapper, and just does not work as one.
Luckily, after the insipid wannabe southern bounce of "Let's Go", the strong part of the album appears. Tracks like "De-Elite", "Boom", "Life" and the bonus track "King of Kings" all exemplify showing Royce in his natural environment. I cannot forget to mention the track "My Friend". Produced by none other than DJ Premier, it's an amazing track that gives an excellent example of Royce's natural talent in wordplay.
There are more than a handful of songs that exhibit great qualify, however there are more than a handful of songs that shouldn't be on this album in the first place. It's perplexing that on Royce Da 5'9"'s first release, he appears to want to leave behind what made him popular in the first place. It's unfortunate, because he's much better than that and plethora of joints on the album shows that.