A rapper's rapper. It s a phrase that has been used to describe the best of them. This respect that Ryan Montgomery, aka Royce Da 5 9, has earned amongst his peers has been ten years in the making. Though he began his career at a time when these qualities were still abundant in the rap game, Royce is the last of a dying breed in 2009. He is one of the few artists today to put the quality of his music above everything else, choosing to opt for perfection over conforming to an overcrowded genre of mediocrity. Now, in an age where hip-hop s drought has forced the audience to weed out the nonsense and search for the answer to a dull and uneventful art form, Royce returns with Street Hop, his full-length rescue mission to show MCs how it is supposed to be done. Executive produced by DJ Premier, Street Hop is Royce s most personal project to date. Though it is chock full of creative ingenuity and picturesque stories that have wildly astonishing twists, Royce shows his versatility by mixing in songs like I Gotta Shake This, which recounts the turmoil and stress Royce felt as not only an artist, but also a husband and a father, while being incarcerated for a year. Growing up on the West Side of Detroit, music was a constant companion for Royce. His father played guitar and made sure to expose him to Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Bootsy Collins, while his mother favored pop stars like Janet Jackson. However, as timing would have it, it was hip-hop that caught Royce s attention. Memorizing songs from Run-DMC and LL Cool J, and getting immersed in artists like D.O.C., Steady B, and N.W.A., Royce became inspired to make a name for himself around the D as a ferocious battle MC tearing up open mics at Maurice Malone s famed Hip Hop Shop, Ebony Showcase, Napoleon s Retreat, and C-Note Lounge. It wasn't long before his buzz caught the attention of the then up-and-coming Eminem, whom Royce s manager arranged a meeting with in 1997. The two clicked and began recording songs as the duo Bad Meets Evil. One of these songs, Bad Meets Evil , made it s way onto Eminem s debut, The Slim Shady LP. Through his relationship with Em, Royce began his famed ghostwriting career, writing Dr. Dre s heartfelt, The Message , on 2001. His hard work led to a deal with Columbia Records, who partnered with EI records to release his debut, Rock City (2.0), in 2002. A staple in the underground rap scene, the album spawned the DJ Premier-produced classic, Boom. With a proven track record as a superb lyricist, Royce has always delivered on his early promise to make music that his fans, and even his fellow MC-s have always come to expect.
In 2004, he released his sophomore album, Death Is Certain, and followed it with the independently released, Independent s Day. Although the project was originally supposed to be a mix-tape, his distributor insisted it be released as an album. Royce then quickly added the superior mix-tapes, Bar Exam and Bar Exam 2, hosted by DJ Premier and DJ Green Lantern, to his catalog. With Street Hop, Royce will finally cement his hip-hop legacy above ground, by introducing the masses to the same MC that so many rappers have grown to respect. Realizing that there is strength in numbers, Royce joined forces with three other MC's to form the hip-hop super-group, Slaughterhouse. Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz all have the skill to impress even the toughest hip-hop critic. And together, they have decided to set off a massive hip-hop takeover. With Slaughterhouse s upcoming appearance on the Rock The Bells tour, a growing list of writing credits (Royce has already contributed to Diddy's next album), and popular video blogging that has the internet on lock (ImNaShitFoolTV), Royce Da 5 9 is poised to make his biggest splash yet. Rappers, get ready.