It has only taken 3 plus years but Royce Da 5'9's official debut release is here, and while its not the classic debut most anticipated in 2000 it is a big improvement from previous versions of "Rock City". "Rock City 2.0" is indeed that, a much improved newer version of the heavily bootlegged and much delayed debut album from Detroit's very own Royce 5'9. While the U.K. version was an utter disaster in the making, 2.0 sees Royce go back to his hard-core, underground roots, digging up some of his best material and underground classics over the years.
It was 3 years ago when Royce released the highly successful vinyl release of the original "Boom" and the Reef produced "Soldiers Story". It was tracks like these that got Royce all the hype and street buzz he deserved. Thankfully on "Rock City 2.0", Royce included these underground gems, giving this newer version a more hard-core, street feel than the gimmicky, club sounds of version 1.0. Also included are the street anthems of "Take His Life", "Nickel Nine" which was featured on the E.C. Allstars 2 album, and "King Of Kings" which is very similar to Nas's unreleased classic "Amongst Kings". It is joints like these that really make 2.0 the debut album we wish we saw in the beginning. As Royce stated, he wants to get back to his roots for future projects after his experience failing with big named producers such as The Trackmasters and The Neptune's, which offered him more commercial sounds but were never able to personify that Royce sound.
It is indeed those types of commercial and club tracks that made the original "Rock City" the disaster it was. Thankfully Royce got rid of most of those efforts, however a few do manage to get included on "Rocky City 2.0". The worst of these is the horrendous Jackmasters production of "U Can't Touch Me". While Royce dabbled in the mainstream light for a minute thanks to tracks like these and his guest appearance on a pop singers only hit years ago, he was never truly able to get the commercial success he strived for. Efforts like "U Can't Touch Me" and The Neptune's produced "Off Parole" just don't fit the Royce 5'9 persona. Some artists have a knack for producing mainstream hits, however Royce is not one of those artists and has to realize that. It seems as if Royce is going the right direction in the future, so attempts like those in the past will not be likely to arise.
While years ago most expected the world out of Royce, it is just good to see the man finally get an album out. Not many artists have gone through the turmoil and drama Royce has just to get to the point he is now. While it may seem Royce will never fully live up to the hype set upon him years ago, we will just live with Royce making solid albums from now one instead of the classic we all once hoped he would produce. As long as Royce stays in the right mind frame and doesn't sway far from his strong point the future may finally see some shining light ahead for Royce Da 5'9.