Royce Da 5'9" Talks Eminem's OCD, "Delusional" Canibus, And Writing For Dr. Dre's Detox
Exclusive: Royce discusses his EP with Eminem, if he'll respond to Canibus' attacks, and how much his pen has been put to work recently for Dr. Dre.
Royce Da 5’9” refuses to accept the credibility of Canibus’ claim - via statement released by the enigmatic emcee’s management exclusively to HipHopDX in early April - that offensive and confrontational tweets that began being sent to @TheRealRoyce59 from @Poetlaurete8 in March were not written by ‘Bis, but by someone posing as one-half of The Undergods.
“And then he made two diss records about me,” explained Royce of his doubts to DX last Thursday (May 5th). “Don’t believe nothin’ Canibus says, man. That dude, he’s delusional.”
The confounding contradiction of apologizing for attacking the ally of Canibus’ longtime nemesis, Eminem, via Twitter, and then proceeding to call him a “moist buttwipe” in song has left the recipient of those remarks apathetic.
“What am I supposed to do, write a record?,” asked Royce rhetorically. “What he’s doing don’t even motivate me. He’s not even motivating me to find time to respond.”
While @TheRealRoyce59 and @Poetlaurete8 continue to exchange insults via Twitter, an arguably more newsworthy tweet last week from Royce about assaulting a DJ Premier beat failed to grab the attention of gossipmongers.
“It was more ‘Hip Hop,’” replied Royce when asked if the sound of that Preemo production is more in the vein of the dramatic “Shake This” or the hypnotic “Hip Hop.” “It’s just one of those braggadocio songs. That’s what the beat was telling me to do. So I went in there and just got lyrical, didn’t talk about anything in particular, just random punch lines. It’s classic Hip Hop, Royce and Preem shit.”
The currently untitled Premier track will appear on Royce’s forthcoming new solo effort, Success is Certain, having already received the seal of approval from a powerful consigliore.
“[Eminem] loved that beat that Preem just sent me,” Royce revealed. “I played it for him yesterday.”
But will 5’9” satisfy the cravings of Hip Hop heads worldwide by having Slim Shady fill in the still open third verse to that loved Preemo beat?
“Em is like – he’s in the studio right now messing with the mixes [for the Bad Meets Evil EP],” replied Royce. “Like, he’ll come in everyday and find something wrong with a mix. So he’s in OCD mode right now. I won’t be able to get him to rap for at least another month. And I gotta finish my album and turn it in. So, probably not for this album, maybe sometime in the future.”
Soon, fans of the Bad Meets Evil duo will be able to feed their need for relentless rhyming from Royce and Eminem together when the 9-song EP, Hell: The Sequel, arrives in stores and online June 14th.
“I love those records,” he noted, “but we wanted it to be an EP and not an LP so obviously something had to get cut.”
And why an EP and not an LP?
“Because we didn’t start with any kind of a plan,” replied Royce. “Normally, if you gonna do an LP where Em is involved, you start with a plan and then you go in and you do records. This didn’t come together like that; it just happened naturally. We just started cuttin’ songs, just to be working with each other again, with no intent in mind. We didn’t even know we were gonna do that many songs, so at around five or six songs, we lookin’ like, ‘Yo, man, we got these records, I think we should do something with ‘em.’ That’s when we decided, ‘You know what? We can just do this as Bad Meets Evil and just make it an EP.’”
“We certainly didn’t have enough time to set up to make it an album,” he added. “We don’t want people to think that it’s that type of release, because it’s not. We went in there and had fun. And we just gonna see what happens. We just want people to hear it.”
The buying public will have to be satisfied with the nine songs they hear, as there are no current plans to record the first full-length Bad Meets Evil project.
“Nah, we never discussed nothin’ like that,” revealed Royce. “The main focus really is Slaughterhouse. So we gonna get this [Bad Meets Evil EP] out and use it as a springboard for the group. That’s the main thing that everybody over here [at Shady Records] is excited about doing. [But], until we finish that, and another solo album from me, and only the good lord knows if Marshall’s gonna go do another solo album for himself, I mean, who knows what could happen in the future. We don’t know, but we definitely haven’t discussed it.”
Tentatively due only a month-and-a-half after the release of his EP with Eminem, Success is Certain - featuring its Em-assisted lead single, “Writer’s Block” is slated to drop on July 26th via Gracie Productions/The Orchard.
“That’s my last independent album,” noted Royce. “And [then] I’m a free agent. So, after I put that out, I’ma start cuttin’ randomly, and, you know, hopefully I can find a home.”
Three DJ Premier produced tracks were included on Royce’s previous solo album, Street Hop, but the aforementioned untitled Preemo production will mark the sole Premier contribution to Success is Certain. The bulk of the album’s beat-work was handled by Denaun Porter (5 songs), along with contributions from Nottz, Streetrunner (2 songs), The Futuristics, and Alchemist (“I Ain’t Comin’ Down”).
“It’s nothin’ like Street Hop,” Royce revealed of the LP’s direction. “Street Hop was just beats and rhymes. This album, it’s called Success is Certain, and it’s basically the [opposing] album to Death is Certain. ‘Cause in theory, I feel like I’m in the exact opposite position in my career that I was in at that time. And that’s all I could think to rap about back then because of what I was going through. So now, I feel a little more successful, so I’m kinda rappin’ about that. The album is speaking on triumph, overcoming adversity, defying the odds, and just talking about success. And, speaking on everything that I went through to get to this point.”
As for the sound of Success: “It’s got the same darkness as Death is Certain,” he explained. “But the content is brighter. No Pop beats.”
Some big-time beats will likely be heard on the forthcoming Shady Records debut of Royce’s Slaughterhouse crew, as the fearsome foursome has already received heatrocks from Just Blaze, Swizz Beatz, Boi-1da, and veteran Bay Area-based beatmaker, Rick Rock.
“It’s gonna be everything that the last album wasn’t,” said Royce of the project with six to seven songs currently in the can. “Like, having to do that album in six days, and now having all the time in the world to do it, and then the budget has been [bigger] and being able to work with more producers…The element that Joey brings to the group, I don’t think that element was felt enough on the last album. I think it’s just gonna be more input from all of us. I think every individual in the group brings something special and different, so I want people to feel all four elements. ‘Cause a lot of people was like, ‘Damn, man, you going first on all the songs.’ You not gonna hear that this album, everything is gonna be spread around and it’s gonna be balanced and it’s gonna be … a monster. Quote me as saying it’s gonna be a monster, not that the album is called Monster. [Laughs]”
Jokingly referring to erroneous reports regarding the title of the Slaughterhouse project, Royce is now attempting to more carefully manage what information he reveals to the press. And so 5’9” is carefully cryptic when asked about a previous revelation he made to Vibe about the existence of a Dr. Dre produced Slaughterhouse track.
“We got a Dr. Dre joint,” he acknowledged, “but we didn’t do it for the album. It’s a song that Em had...We did verses on it, but we didn’t do it for the album. We just did it. We still trying to figure out what we gonna do with it. Maybe we might leak it; maybe we might use it for the album. It exists, that’s all I know.”
Royce did more openly oblige HipHopDX’s request for intel on another Dr. Dre related matter: How much has Royce’s pen been put to work for Detox?
“I did a few things,” he replied. “I laid down a few ideas. I don’t know what Dre’s using, because he has so much stuff. And its basically gonna be whatever direction that he decides that he’s gonna go. But, yeah, he reached out to me and I did a few things. I didn’t write like a whole bunch of shit, but I did some things. I did what he asked me to do.”
If Royce’s rhymes are recited for the Detox project, it will mark a reunion of sorts between the Detroit spitter and southern California super-producer. After Royce penned the string-laden dedication to Dr. Dre’s deceased brother for 2001, “The Message,” the ghostwriter’s manager reportedly told Vibe magazine during an interview, “I’ve seen Em sit Dre down like a pupil and coach him on rhymes.” That comment allegedly infuriated the good doctor.
“Me and Dre never had a problem with each other,” replied Royce when asked if he had to converse with Dre to smoothe over any lingering issues before resuming their working relationship. “That’s what people fail to realize. Me and Dre never fell out. Me and Em, we had a falling out. Me and Dre never fell out. We never had a problem with each other – no words, nothing. I think people confused the comment that [my manager] Kino got accused of making and Dre’s reaction to Kino; I think they confused that with me and Dre having a problem. If a grown man said something, or he’s accused of saying something, that a grown man doesn’t like, he has a right to react how he wants to react. If he decides, Alright, I’m not fuckin’ with him though, then that’s that. It is what it is. But me and Dre, it’s always been love. I’ve seen him since that, even when me and Em wasn’t really talking like that, and he showed me love. So, nah, we ain’t have nothin’ to talk about.”
And if there is ever anything touchy to talk about with the Aftermath Entertainment founder, Royce is well aware that he is no longer dealing with the same person seen taking a potato chip bag to the head in the insert to the 2001 album.
“Yeah, Dre’ll probably beat me to death,” he jokingly replied when asked about avoiding angering the producer and his Incredible Hulk physique. “I’ma go ahead and stay away from pissin’ him off. He don’t even look like he lifts weights no more; he look like he goes in the gym and just eats the weights.”