Royce Da 5'9": Death Is Certain
Talk about your new album, Death Is Certain, and why you picked that title. I was at a point in my career where I just felt like it can come to an end at any time, or it's going to come to an end. Not even in the morbid sense of it but just life is a continuous cycle. Something can be going good for you and then go bad and vice versa. You career's gonna come to an end. Your life's gonna come to an end. I just felt like doing music that I felt comfortable with. I wasn't doing a lot of partying at the time so I didnt do any club records. And I wasn't really listening to the radio so I didnt do any radio joints. I felt like doing an underground album just for the respect, just to let people know that I can write records, music from my heart. Every song meant something.
How is this album different from Rock City? They're like night and day. I was a lot happier when I did Rock City. I was partying, living in New York. I was doing the album for a bigger label, bigger budget. I hadn't been through a lot. I didn't have any problems in the street. So that's like my day album and Death Is Certain is like my night album. Rock City didn't really tell you who Royce was. It showed you the diversity, the different types of joints that I could do.
How did you hook up with the producer Carlos "6 July" Broady? I met Los when I signed my first deal, and I've been working with him since then. We met and we connected mentally. I would see Los and then not see him for two months. We was always on the same page. We just kind of connected on this album. His beats kind of matched what I wanted to say. So that's why I worked with him so much on the album.
6 July produced a remake of Biggie's "Beef" for your album, and I also read he gave you other BIG tracks? That was Los. He didn't tell me when we were recording. That's something he brought out afterwards, and he still, to this day hasn't told me which records that they were. He worked with Biggie a lot. He connected with Biggie mentally as well. I think that might be another reason why he took to me. He told me we [Royce and Biggie] were a lot alike in terms of our work ethic, how much we like to stay in the studio.
What makes you bond artistically with other artists like Los? Just being the underdog. People take to somebody who might not be getting the props they deserve, somebody who's able to stick around through whatever phase music is going through, somebody who can still do what they've always been doing and blend right in. They might not be on top one minute, but they still able to coexist in the market with whatever's new in the game. People like Premo, Los, like myself. We just vibe with each other and try not to change with time like a lot of people do.
Are the artists featured on this CD like Cutty Mack and Ingrid Smalls signed to your own label? MIC is the label I'm trying to start. It stands for Make It Count. Those are people I'm looking forward to signing. It's not fully functional, but that's another one of my career goals. After we get my project off the ground, then MIC is next and you'll start hearing from those artists. Tre Little, Billy Nicks, June, Viscious, Birdie
With all of the controversy you've survived, what has this year taught you? I've definitely grown and learned more of the business side. Thats kind of been my focus over the year. I feel like I've learned a lot from my mistakes. I'm taking my career in my own hands. It's not just recording the album but it's what to do with the album after you've finished recording it. Don't leave it up to the label. That's part of the reason I switched so many labels. 'Cause I left it up to the label and then once they get to the point where they don't know what to do with it, then you're just sitting around. Then when you're ready to leave that label, it makes you look bad. It looks like no label knows what to do with you. This year with Koch, we don't put everything on Koch. We do our part and they do their part.
Has all of the controversy changed how you feel about hip-hop? Nothing that has happened to me has changed the way I feel about it. The way the music is going affects the way I feel about it. I think they are a lot of dope MCs out there and a lot of dope MCs that haven't been heard. I don't think there's a whole lot of people saying anything. Music will always go in a cycle, real good one minute and not that good one minute.
What are your future goals?
To disassociate myself from negative stuff. It's proven that it doesn't help anything. I've never purposely tried to get involved in controversy. But sometimes when you carry yourself a certain way, controversy will follow you. Right now that's what I'm in the process of working on, disassociating myself with controversy because I've never been that type of person. I'm the type of person that if people go against me, I defend myself. I man up. That's just how I am. It has backfired on me in some instances and in some instances, it has helped. But all in all, the negatives outweigh the positives. I feel that I'm a lot more comfortable just staying to myself, working as hard as I can and staying humble, and things have been going good.