Royce Da 5'9" Death is Certain

What the hell happened to Royce Da 5’9”? He peaked while hungry on Bad Meets Evil with Eminem, dropped a decent — if long-delayed — solo album in late 2002 with Rock City, and returns with a big disappointment. Death is Certain can be summed up in one word: boring. Carlos "6 July” Broady and a few others add samples that give an interesting nuance to some of the beats, but the tempo remains the same throughout the album with all the songs tending to blend together. Even Royce’s attempt to recapture the feel of "Boom” by working with DJ Premier again for "Hip Hop” does little to add to the sound of the album. And the subject matter? Royce used to work with notable rap artists like Eminem and Dr Dre, sold out for his debut, and is now rapping because he loves it and too many people are relying on him; plus, he’s a real gangsta with a special hate-on for studio gangstas, and will kill anyone that messes with him. Oh, and Royce mentions Tupac, Biggie, Slim Shady and Dre more than a couple of times. Best of all, you only need to listen to the final track, "Something’s Wrong With Him,” where he summarises the whole album in one song. There’s evidence of talent on Death is Certain, but it’s lost among the sameness. (Koch)