Royce Da 5’9”, Detroit’s second best emcee (or is it first?), will be making a much-needed return to the current talent barren Hip Hop landscape with the release of his next solo album, The Revival.
“In my opinion it’s what hip-hop needs,” says Royce exclusively to HipHopDX regarding The Revival. “It’s basically just, picture me having hip-hop on the operating table, and I’m putting the difibrillator on it and I’m shocking it and I’m bringing it back to life. I [also called the album] that because the material that I got I’m so happy with.”
Save for the album’s title-track, Royce bypasses opportunities to make chest-beating declarations of saving Hip Hop, instead focusing his creative energy on conceptual narratives. “I tried to make every song real visual,” he explains. “When you listen to it you can close your eyes and you can see it. It’s a lot of crazy concepts, a lot of stories. I got five stories so far – it’s still a work in progress. All of the stories got like twists at the end, like, ‘they double-parked by a hydrant,’ that kinda thing.”
Many fans are eagerly anticipating hearing Royce’s Revival on January 22, 2008, the date several online music retailers have listed the album for release. Unfortunately, that date will likely come and go without a Royce release, as the deal to distribute the album has not been completed. “The Babygrande [Records] situation is not totally concrete yet,” he explains. “I haven’t actually signed anything with them. The Revival is definitely gonna come out on a major label. There’s no ifs, ands or maybes about that. I’ll probably do a project with [Babygrande], but The Revival is my baby, and it’s gonna come out on a major.”
After publicized troubles with Columbia Records in 2000 and 2001, Royce, who once released a street album called Independent’s Day, seemed unlikely to return to a major. “I been talking to a few of ‘em,” he reveals of his hunt for a new deal. “We actually taking meetings right now. I’m pretty much gonna go see every [major label], basically. I’m totally open for whatever with the major labels, ‘cause I’m definitely trying to put my project out on a major label.”
Prior to the major label release of The Revival, Royce will unleash his long talked about Street Hop album independently [“That’s probably the project I’ll give Chuck [Wilson] at Babygrande,” he explains].
Street Hop will only feature one feature, Royce’s younger brother Kid Vishis. And The Revival will showcase Royce the microphone soloist. “I’m trying to go for the classic approach,” he says. “No guests on the album.”
Both albums will be executive produced by DJ Premier (with a total of 6 Premo joints set for Street Hop). And both Street Hop and The Revival will boast beats from heavy hitters Havoc, 9th Wonder, Alchemist, Mario Winans, Bink, and hopefully Hi-Tek [“I haven’t done anything with Hi-Tek yet, which I’m gonna do,” says Royce. “I actually gotta go to Ohio to do that soon”].
The bulk of the production duties for both releases however are being handled by Virgina-based beatmaker Nottz, who contributed two cuts to Royce’s last studio release, 2005’s Independent’s Day. The dynamic duo will also soon be hooking up for a mixtape appetizer to the full meal of two albums. “I just talked to Nottz, and me and him are talking about doing one,” says Royce. “I honestly think that he’s the best producer in the game right now.”
With two albums and a mixtape to work on, Royce has a lot on his plate. “And it’s all gonna hit in the first quarter,” he exclaims to what will surely be his fans delight. “I’m gonna try to be as visible as possible. It’s gonna be a real busy ’08 for me.”