The harsh reality of the Hip-Hop industry is one Royce Da 5'9 is all too familiar with. Years ago Royce was supposed to be, like many others, the next big thing. However, after years of set backs, record label problems and bootleggings, Royce was officially stuck in Hip-Hop limbo. While his long awaited debut album "Rock City" was officially released last year, the album failed to live up to expectations and was too little too late for Royce. However, now it seems Royce is finally headed in the right direction. With a new outlook and mentality, Royce is going back to his roots, leaving the Hip Pop world alone and focusing on regaining his once dominant rep in the industry.
With such a promising future ahead of him years ago, Royce has had to build up his career only to destroy it years later when it was headed no where. This rebuilding is starting to take place now, as Royce's hunger on the mic is back with a vengeance. Throughout the double disc mixtape showcasing the rise and fall of Royce Da 5'9, we get a glimpse of the Royce we used to know and the Royce of the future. The "build" disc focuses on Royce's past, with some of his best material from his "Rock City" days. The finest of these are of course the classics such as the Bad Meets Evil duo of Royce & Slim Shady on "Nuttin' To Do" along with the Alchemist produced "I'm The King" and "Take His Life" featuring Tre Little. Also included are some of the better Royce tracks over the years such as "King of Kings", "We Live (Danger)", "Scary Movies (The Sequel)", "What The Beat" featuring Eminem & Method Man and yet another Alchemist gem "I Won't Be".
While disc 1 features some great material, it is on disc 2, the "destroy" side, where we witness the future of Royce Da 5'9. While the past year or so Royce has hit us over the head with nothing but average material, the songs featured on the destroy disc will restore all hope in any Royce fan. Back is the precise wordplay and razor sharp lyricism from Royce. And most importantly back is the confident swagger of a great emcee. But just as important as those characteristics is the production lineup Royce is seeking for the future. While Royce tried to gather some of the industry's big names such as The Neptune's & The Trackmasters in the past, both of their more commercially geared sounds did not fit the Royce mold. Now Royce is gathering some of Hip Hop's finest such as Just Blaze, Kanye West, Jay Dee & Alchemist, and the results are nothing but spectacular. The Just Blaze produced "King Of Detroit" features a powerful vibe perfect for ripping emcee's apart, as that's exactly what Royce does over the great production. "Heartbeat" produced by Kanye West, is your typical Kanye sound of soulful loops and gorgeous melodies, that Royce ride's perfectly.
Jay Dee also comes through with a similar effort on "Life Goes On", where Royce delves into his history in this Hip-Hop game. "I've been through a lot man, the Tommy Boy thing, the bootleggers. But life goes on, so what. You gotta reach deep down in your heart and pull out as much as you can to get through what you going through. I'm living proof". Smoothed over by a great vocal sample, "Life Goes On" is one of the better Royce tracks featured on "Build & Destroy". One of the more insightful tracks on the album comes from the Royce & Alchemist collaboration of "You Don't Know Me". Royce admittedly reminds the listening public "you don't know me, you just know what you hear. This is nothing you heard, its just something you know when you hear…I could even be phony, you don't know me". As expected Alchemist comes through with his usual dominance on the production side, as the two continue to display nice chemistry together.
With "Build and Destroy" we finally get a glimpse of what Royce can really do when given the right team behind him. Throughout the ups and downs, many in the Hip-Hop community lost hope in Royce. But if the material on "Build and Destroy" is an indication of what's to come, the Hip Hop world better get ready, because Royce Da 5'9 is back with a vengeance, and this time he isn't leaving until his job is done.