Royce Da 5’9″ delivers a highly anticipated, yet underwhelming album with this latest installment. One thing is absolutely, unequivocally true, and that is the fact that he is a lyrical mastermind. That is definitely evident on this new album. His rhymes are smarter than everyone else’s. You can just tell that he really sat and prepared these rhymes. These aren’t just bars that were chicken scratch just to fill up a notebook. The part where this album really suffers is the production. A ton of the beats are way too laid back. There are songs where you almost think that you could fall asleep like “Dope Man.” There are some gems on here. The singles “I Don’t Age” and “Overcomer” with Westside Gunn are truly some jewels that need celebrated. Another highly notable part of this album are the Grace skits. A lot of knowledge is passed from parents to children in these skits and they are pretty remarkable. Overall, this album was very underwhelming. I understand what Royce was trying to do and I think to some degree he accomplished it. It’s just that this project was not very audibly pleasing.


OVERALL RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks


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Royce Da 5'9'' - The Allegory


The Detroit legend is back with one of his best albums to date. This is by far his most personal albums ever. The amount of work he put into this project definitely shows through as you listen from front to back. Lyrically, there is no question that Royce is on point. He is able to give you perplexingly complex rhymes, but also give you a piece of himself as he unravels some layers and shows you where he came from. There are so many instances on this album where Royce perfectly explains some great stories from his childhood. The beats on here are pretty decent as well. While you won’t really find any neck-snappers on here, it really isn’t the place for them. It’s basically an introspective background for him to shed his soul. The highlights on this album include “Boblo Boat” featuring J. Cole, “Cocaine,” and the absolutely fantastic centerpiece “Caterpillar” featuring Eminem. This song is basically perfect while Royce and Eminem trade fantastic lyrics back and forth. This is a must listen for any hip hop fan out there.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

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Royce Da 5'9'' - Book Of Ryan


Royce and Preemo are back with their second installment of their Prhyme and it is pretty dope. I think their first installment is better, but not by a whole lot. Royce has always been able to bring an onslaught of hard bars and this project is absolutely no different. He almost channels a whole different energy when he spits his flows. Premier definitely backs him up properly with the beats. DJ Premier is arguably one of the best producers in the game and he is always on point. The only very minute criticism I could offer would be that Royce sometimes just rhymes for rhyming’s sake instead of having a central theme on some songs. That is being super nitpicky and it is a small critique. The highlights of this project are the absolutely banging song “Flirt” with 2Chainz and “W.O.W.” with Yelawolf. Both beats are amazing boom-bap style hip hop and the MCs complement the songs well. This is a must have for rap heads so go out and get that pronto.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

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PRhyme 2


Royce hit us with a surprise release that we have all been waiting for ferociously- the fourth installment of his Bar Exam series. This one is fantastic. One quarter of the Slaughterhouse group has blessed us with a very robust project of relentless bars. At 28 tracks, your ears have their work cut out for them. Lyrically, Royce is all but unmatched. He releases an unending barrage of lyrics. It’s almost too much to handle, but if you are true fan, you will be truly thankful. The lyrics are of the highest caliber out there. I don’t think there are many people that could do better than the bars you will hear on this project. The beats are fantastic. You have a great mix of older beats, brand new beats, pop stuff, underground beats, basically anything you could think of. One track that stands out to me is probably “Wake Up” in which Royce rhymes over the “Control” beat. He sounds amazing over it. Really the only negative I could say about this project is the length. It takes a while to get through the whole thing. But secretly, I’m not even mad at that since I love Royce’s bars. Thank you for this project Royce.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

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The highly anticipated album has finally arrived. Royce offers a very good project with this album. I’ve always viewed Royce as sort of like in the Ivy League of rappers. He is so intelligent and such a good lyricist. He’s also so cocky but in a laid-back way. He’ll let you sound stupid and then complete berate you with an onslaught of bars to show you how dumb you are. Layers is a very introspective look at Royce’s life currently. He raps about divorce from his wife, raising children, and dealing with alcoholism. Some of the tracks that were on the Trust The Shooter project show up on this project but I am not even mad at that. The album is very consistent and cohesive. It definitely deserves a few listens. You can’t soak it all in on one listen. While I definitely don’t think this is a classic, it’s a strong effort from an artist that deserves your respect.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

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This is a breath of fresh air which is absolutely needed in rap music today. Royce always delivers as a lyricist and I for one am always looking forward to what he is bringing to the table. A good way to sum up this project is in the following sentence. One bar from Royce is better than anything you have ever done in your life. He is a confident MC that backs up his talk with relentlessly clever lyrics. You would be hard pressed to find a better MC in the game today. This project is meant to tide us over until the Layers album is dropped in April. Meanwhile, this EP could easily be an album. Royce takes a stranglehold of the mic and showcases different flows on different songs. “Savages” is by far his best offering on this project. He directly shows you why he is one of the best. “Which Is Cool” is another standout song with a great beat. His most introspective is “Tabernacle” which tells a story about his grandmother dying, his son being born, and meeting Eminem for the first time all in the same night. This is an absolute slamming project for Royce and/or Slaughterhouse fans.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

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