Royce da 5'9 conducted by Bill "Low-Key" Heinzelman  

Royce da 5'9: Die Another Day

October 2004

MVRemix: Almost every rapper has a crew these days, and most of them are garbage as you know. But D-Elite is a dope crew, so what specific qualities do you think your crew has that enables them to actually be dope and cohesive?

Royce: One thing about my crew, I wouldn't necessarily classify them as cohesive. I think everybody stands alone, and can hold their own in their chamber. That is what I think makes my crew strong. There is a lot of different personalities, but I have yet to try and blend us all together. You notice you will never hear all of us on one song. So I try and spread it out, and let everybody do them, instead of having them try to rhyme a certain way just to blend in with the next person in the crew. So I think the fact that everybody can stand on their own is what makes us strong.

MVRemix: Are we ever going to get a complete crew album, or is it just going to be solo albums from everyone?

Royce: Right now, I am putting all my time and energy into myself. That is something I haven't done and that I am into doing right now. So I stepped away from the whole crew thing. I don't want to sign them, and I don't want my mistakes to depend on if they are going to be successful. So I am letting them move forward, and we'll wait until I get in the position to really do something for them. In the mean time though, we are doing records all day. But if somebody gets a solo deal, I'm supporting that. So its kind of like, if I can get my foot in the door like I want it, then I'll start thinking about, "Should we do an album? Should we put out somebody's solo album?". That is definitely something I will think about in the future, but as of right now, I can't say what we are going to do. It just depends where everybody is at in the future.

MVRemix: Are you happy on how "Death Is Certain" was received?

Royce: Yeah, I feel that I got out of it, what I put into it. I really did that album for the respect. I wanted everyone to respect me, and I wanted everyone to feel like ,"Ok, he is real". On that album I looked inward, I pointed out my flaws, and I just didn't look outward. That album is the absolute truth, and I think people respect that. And that is kind of what I wanted out of it, because obviously I didn't put any super commercial songs on there. So I didn't do that album to go for the gusto, I did it to let people know where I was at mentally, coming out of the situation that I was in. So now I'll step away from the darker side of me, and I'll bring out a brighter side, or somewhere in the middle, between the "Death Is Certain" album and "Rock City". Because the "Rock City" album was real bright, and the Nottz album should be somewhere in the middle. But I am predicting that its going to be one of the best Hip Hop albums to come out. Period!

MVRemix: What about sale wise for Death Is Certain, is that something you were concerned about, or happy with?

Royce: I knew Koch was only going to push it so far. The fact that every time I come out I can do fifty thousand independently is good for me. Because that makes me feel like I can do things on my own, and it will make things easier when we start looking for homes for label deals. So I'm definitely not disappointed, at all.

MVRemix: So with the next album, are you going to come out with a big commercial single to try and get that exposure?

Royce: When I do the Nottz album, we are going to go ahead full speed 100%, with every thing. In the mean time, we are just going to keep pushing these mixtapes to keep my name in the streets.

MVRemix: Are you going to be voting next month in the Presidential Election?

Royce: Definitely!

MVRemix: What do you think about the current political state of our country?

Royce: I think its all fucked up! I'm definitely more aware of it now, especially since Fahrenheit 9/11. Because my life is obviously all Hip Hop, I've never been a politically aware person. And Bush is just one of those people that you have to get out of there. And I'm sure we have had other President's like him, but we weren't made aware of it. Now I just feel like I got a whole bad vibe about that dude. And its not that I got too much of a better vibe from Kerry, its that I'm looking forward to a change. So I'm definitely voting, and I'm definitely voting for Kerry.

MVRemix: Do you think Bush will possibly steal the election like last time?

Royce 5 9 interviewRoyce: Nah, I don't think he will be able to because it was brought to the forefront last time. I think Kerry will get it.does it even seem like Bush wants to be in there?

MVRemix: He's just a pawn anyway.

Royce: Yeah, that is definitely the vibe that I get as well. He doesn't have a lot of leadership qualities, so give it to someone else. I'm sure it won't make it too much better, but the good thing about it is, there is a lot more black people voting this time. The awareness is raised, I mean you got Puff stopping at 106 & Park every week, so it would be a positive change.

MVRemix: Let's talk about your past and some of your background info. Were you born in Detroit and raised there your whole life?

Royce: I was born in Detroit, I was raised in a city called Oak Park. Are you familiar with the movie 8 Mile?

MVRemix: Yeah.

Royce: Ok, 8 Mile is the road that separates Oak Park from Detroit. Its all the greater Detroit area, but to be technical, I was raised in Oak Park. Its like a suburb, and I was raised there from about fifth grade, until I got out of high school.

MVRemix: What was it like growing up there?

Royce: I mean, it was regular. It was a predominately black school, and was a little less than middle class. Nothing spectacular to talk about, it was real regular. I was into sports, I was an athlete, I played basketball. I had both of my parents, my father kept us in sports, so he kept us grounded. Then after I got out of high school, that is when I really started rhyming. I started hitting open mics and shit like that.

MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?

Royce: Hmmm, my first memory? Probably, when I went to my first Hip Hop club and rhymed. We used to go to the open mics and it would be like a big cipher in the middle of the club. There was one emcee in the middle of the cipher, passing the mic around. And I got up enough courage one week to hope up in there (laughter). So I said my rhyme, I was real nervous, so that was my first memory of Hip Hop. That is the type of shit that gets you hooked, and brings you back every week. Then the next thing you know it's a way of life, and its either do it as a professional, or do it as a hobby and throw time away. So I decided to do it as a professional.

MVRemix: You said you played basketball in high school, are you a big NBA fan then?

Royce: You know what man, the more I got consumed with Hip Hop, the less I started paying attention to the NBA. I'm always going to be a basketball fan, but I'm not into it as much as I used to be.

MVRemix: After this mixtape, what else do you have going on in the future?

Royce: Besides those projects, a lot of the stuff we do we make up as we go along. Right now, I know I want to do another mixtape before I do the Nottz album. And after I put the Nottz album out, we should be in a way different predicament. Because I got plans for everything, and I think its going to be crazy. I think the Nottz album is going to change a lot of things for me.

MVRemix: And the Nottz album, which label is that going to be on? Is it going to be on Koch again?

Royce: Definitely not on Koch, but as of right now, I'll just say its going to be on my label. We are actually going to take that album and try to get a label deal. But I'm definitely not going to put it out through a standard artist deal.

MVRemix: Are you going to be appearing on anybody's album that we should know about?

Royce: Na, you know what, I haven't really seen anybody. I have really just been in Detroit, in this sheltered environment with myself and my crew. So I haven't really seen anybody in order to get on their album. But my man E-A-Ski, from Cali, I have been talking to him. So I'll probably hop on his album. I have also been doing a little work with BG (Cash Money), I was in the studio with him the other day. We got a couple joints together, which will probably end up on my next mixtape. I might be on his album as well.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Royce: Just look out for the mixtape in October, look out for Vol. 3 a few months after, and be on the look out for all future M.I.C. projects.

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