Royce Da 5'9 - Success Is Certain Review
Posted by Bill Wannop on 08.09.2011
Royce Da 5'9 is back and trying to capitalize on the success of Bad Meets Evil with Success is Certain! But can he step outside of Eminem shadow or is he just riding Shady’s coattails? 411's Bill Wannop checks in with his full review!
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Royce da 5’9 is a rapper who has had his share of ups and downs in the music business. From the early days when he had that underground hype and being featured on The Slim Shady LP, to eventually getting into a heated feud with Eminem and D12. Over the years, Royce managed to help form the underground supergroup known as Slaughterhouse as well as mend fences with Shady. Having reformed his group Bad Meets Evil with Eminem, and releasing a full album together, the publicity and buzz surrounding Royce is at an all time high. Trying to capitalize on that buzz Royce drops his latest solo album, Success Is Certain. Does the album prove that Royce can step outside the shadow of Eminem, or show that Royce is just riding Shady’s coattails?
1. "Legendary" (featuring Travis Barker)
2. "Writer's Block" (featuring Eminem)
3. "Merry Go Round"
4. "Where My Money"
5. "ER" (featuring Kid Vishis)
6. "On the Boulevard" (featuring Nottz & Adonis)
7. "I Ain't Coming Down"
9. "Second Place"
10. "My Own Planet" (featuring Joe Budden)
11. "I've Been Up, I've Been Down"
The album starts off with the Travis Barker rock infused track “Legendary” which has Royce letting the lyrics fly or a guitar laced beat. The track is a good opener for the album, and really allows Royce to just ride the beat dropping nice lines such as ‘God melted a Rubic’s cube into fluid and threw it in my intuitive brain/I’m eating food for moving music in a gratuitous lane/I threw twice, now I’m running through it til Im through with the game/You can find me under a black cloud I’m a dark star
Only thing I hate worse than a mark, is a marked car/I climb mountains like Marvin Gaye, Tammy Terrell/If you could put a face with my style it’d be Samuel Cassel’s/I switched the fire up like I am a tranny from hell’.
Following the opener, we move into the first single off the album, “Writers Block” which features Eminem on the chorus. This track shows what really is wrong with the album as a whole in that Royce is more focused on dropping nice punch lines and metaphors in his songs and less focused on following through on a concept or creating a story in his tracks. He seems to lack that creative focus in creating a song and staying on topic to the track.
Not all tracks are without purpose however. “Merry Go Round” is a prime example of what Royce can accomplish when he stays focused creating a track that is a real head banger produced by Nottz, but still has a concept which Royce stays true to. The track is about the fact that life is a merry go round and what goes around comes around. He talks about the mistakes he has made, but if he did not make those mistakes then he likely would not be where he is today. Royce spits ‘Tellin’ who we know “Get outta my face!” okay I know what Kino said about Dre/I look at Kino to this day like that was a stupid mistake/But if it wasn’t for him doin that, what would I be doin today?/If it wasn’t for Ca$his sayin’ that he gonna beat my ass/Then me and Em prob’ly wouldn’t be laughin bout us gettin past it/If it wasn’t for me bein outcasted I woulda never been on the underground rappin wit SLAUGHTERHOUSE!’
The track “ER” as well has Royce focused and telling a story about saving hip-hop. The nice guest spot by Kid Vishis helps the track along. Probably the best example of the potential of Royce da 5’9 is on the track “Security”. This track is basically a track about the late Proof. Royce tells us his journey with Proof, from their early days in Detroit to their falling out to attending his funeral sitting in the back due to his beef with D12 and Eminem. Royce really shows his story telling ability and flexes his lyrical muscles which somewhat makes the rest of the album a disappointment.
What hurts the album is the overall flow and length. While Royce has shown that he is a great lyricist and can keep up with anyone on the mic, he still falters in terms of turning that lyrical skill into proper album tracks. Tracks like “My Own Planet”, “On The Boulvard”, “Where My Money” are not bad tracks but they are not that great either. They are just there and really just have Royce dropping his great punch lines. Another issue with the album has to do with the overall length of the disc. Coming in at only 11 tracks is somewhat questionable in terms of calling it an LP, as the Bad Meets Evil album has two less tracks and was called an EP. I know that Royce was likely trying to capitalize on his recent increase in exposure due to the release of the project, but having only 11 tracks is somewhat of a rip off for fans.
At the end of the day Royce still has a lot to learn from Eminem in terms of creating a complete album. Royce shows his potential on tracks like Security and Merry go Round
The 411: At the end of the day, Royce is one of the best emcees out there in terms of lyrics and punchlines, but still has a lot to learn in terms of making songs. He was able to craft some great tracks, but a lot of the tracks on this album have no direction. As well coming in at only a little over 40 minutes is somewhat short for an album.