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Royce da 5'9"

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Royce da 5'9"
Royce da 5'9" in 2008
Royce da 5'9" in 2008
Background information
Birth nameRyan Daniel Montgomery
Also known as
Born (1977-07-08) July 8, 1977 (age 44)
Oak Park, Michigan, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1995–present
Associated acts

Ryan Daniel Montgomery (born July 8, 1977), known professionally as Royce da 5'9" (or simply Royce 5'9"), is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Montgomery is currently one half of the rap duo Bad Meets Evil with fellow Detroit rapper Eminem, and is one half of the hip hop duo PRhyme with producer DJ Premier. He was also one quarter of the Shady Records hip hop group Slaughterhouse with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Kxng Crooked. Alongside his recording career, Montgomery served as a ghostwriter for the likes of Puff Daddy and Dr. Dre. Online magazine ranked the rapper as one of the "Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007)".[4]

Early life

In an interview with DJ Vlad on YouTube, Royce stated that his only early stage name prior to the "Royce" nickname was R-Dog, which "didn't even last a year".[5] He moved to Oak Park, Michigan when he was 10 years old, later acquiring the nickname "Royce" during high school after wearing a British link chain with an R pendant resembling the Rolls Royce symbol. Royce's name comes from his height, 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm). However, the numbers five and nine have been in his life numerous times as he "found his calling" as a rapper in 1995 and in his song "Tabernacle" he discusses his grandmother dying on the fifth floor of a hospital and his first son being born on the ninth. Similar instances suggest that his name has numerous meanings besides his height. He started rapping at age 18, influenced mainly by Ras Kass, Redman, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Esham, Heltah Skeltah, LL Cool J, Nas, Jay-Z, Detroit's Most Wanted, and N.W.A.[6]

He signed his first deal in 1998 with Tommy Boy Records, the label offering him $1 million compared to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, who offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats—what Royce expressed as his "biggest regret" in a March 2016 interview with Complex.[7] After Tommy Boy Records shut down, he signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings where he started recording an album called Rock City, referring to Detroit's former status as home to Motown Records. When the project was heavily bootlegged, Royce left the label for Koch to re-record some of the album, eventually releasing it in 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). While the album did not sell very well, the DJ Premier-produced single "Boom" gained Royce some underground recognition and eventually resulted in the two working together more closely.


1997–2001: Early years

Through his manager Kino Childrey, Royce was introduced to Eminem on December 29, 1997, at a concert,[8] and the two formed a working relationship; they formed up as a duo, Bad Meets Evil, and released several tracks together. On August 20, 1998, Royce and Eminem both appeared on The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show for the first time.[9] Furthermore, Royce appeared on Eminem's major-label debut studio album The Slim Shady LP, in which he was featured on a song called "Bad Meets Evil". Royce and Eminem also released a track called "Renegade", from which Royce's vocals would later be replaced with Jay-Z's on the latter's The Blueprint.

Through Eminem, Royce would also be introduced to both Dr. Dre and execs at Game Recordings. After Royce's manager Kino stated: "I've seen Em' sit Dre down like a pupil and coach him on rhymes." on a phone interview,[10] Dr. Dre requested that Royce cut ties with Kino. Royce refused to fire his manager Kino, thus Royce's relationship with Dre ended.

Royce da 5'9" in 2002

2002–2003: Feud with D12

In 2002, Royce had a falling out with D12 including mutual friend and group member Proof, which sparked a public rivalry that resulted in Royce releasing a total of three diss tracks. The first, "Shit on You", was recorded over the instrumental of D12's track of the same name and mainly attacked group member Bizarre. Following Royce's second track, "Malcolm X", D12 responded with "Smack Down", over the instrumental of 50 Cent's "Back Down". Proof himself released the tracks "Many Men", over the instrumental of 50 Cent's "Many Men (Wish Death)"; and "Beef Is Ova", with rap group The Purple Gang. Royce responded with his third track, "Death Day", recorded over 50 Cent's "In Da Club".

Proof confronted Royce outside a Detroit nightclub in 2003, which led to a fight between both rappers' entourages. Proof and Royce were arrested and jailed overnight in adjacent cells, where they talked out their differences and ended the feud.[11] Their beef was reignited in 2007 when Royce re-released "Malcolm X" off his mixtape "Bar Exam", but officially ended in 2008 when he was featured on D12's mixtapes Return of the Dozen and The Devil's Night Mixtape.[citation needed]

2004–2005: Death Is Certain and Independent's Day

Royce signed with Game Recordings, for whom he had recorded several tracks for the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto III, released in 2001. The in-game radio station, Game Radio FM, prominently featured Royce's "I'm the King" and The Alchemist-produced solo track, which (along with the publicized beef) helped elevate Royce's name beyond his association with Eminem. In 2001, Royce was featured on pop singer Willa Ford's song "I Wanna Be Bad". In 2004, he released his second and most critically successful album to date, Death Is Certain, charting with another Premier-produced single, "Hip-Hop".

After the relative success of his second effort, Royce put out a third solo project, Independent's Day, in 2005. This was met with less acclaim than either of his previous releases. During this time, the rivalry between Royce and former friend Proof reached a boiling point in the streets of Detroit, on an occasion where the two rappers drew guns; they were subsequently arrested and left to work out their differences while spending the night in neighboring cells in jail. The time spent in jail led to the artists ending their feud and subsequently embarking on two overseas tours together.[12] Though Royce had planned other projects involving Nottz and his former crew, D-Elite, these were cut short after a sentencing to one year in jail for a DUI.[13]

2007–2008: Release from jail and The Bar Exam

After his release in 2007, Royce with DJ Premier and Statik Selektah released the mixtape The Bar Exam. He also announced an album with Premier; in an interview with Elemental Magazine, Royce stated that, contrary to rumors, Premier would not be producing the entirety of his upcoming album, but will be overseeing the project as executive producer, handpicking all of the beats. Following The Bar Exam, Royce wrote the single for Diddy's album Press Play, "Tell Me". Following this, the producer expressed interest in signing the lyricist to Bad Boy.[14] Nas has also stated that he would like to sign Royce to his Def Jam imprint, The Jones Experience. Neither of these deals, however, materialized.

In early 2008, Royce confirmed that he had officially resolved misunderstandings between himself and Eminem.[15] He released The Bar Exam 2 with DJ Green Lantern later in the year, as well as a retail version of the mixtape The Album; the projects featured production from Green Lantern, 9th Wonder, DJ Premier and July 6, among others. Later worked on his Premier-assisted retail release, Street Hop, the lead single of which was "Shake This", also produced by DJ Premier. The video to the song circulated the internet, and the project was released October 20, 2009.

2011–2012: Slaughterhouse and Bad Meets Evil reunion

Joe Budden collaborated with Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5'9" and Nino Bless on a track titled "Slaughterhouse" on his digital release, Halfway House. Based on the reception of the track, they decided to form a supergroup, minus Nino Bless, and named it after the first song they made together.[16] They released numerous songs throughout early 2009, building a buzz for their self-titled album, which was released through E1 on August 11, 2009.[17] The album features production from DJ Khalil, Mr. Porter and The Alchemist, plus guest appearances from Pharoahe Monch, K. Young and The New Royales. The group signed with Shady Records on January 12, 2011. On August 28, 2012, Slaughterhouse released their second studio album, Welcome to: Our House. As of November 23, 2012, it has sold 146,000 copies in the United States. In June 2013, the group began recording their second album with Shady Records. Super producer Just Blaze has been tapped to be Executive Producer of the project.[18] The album was set to be released in 2016 but has since been delayed.

After Royce reconciled with Eminem, the duo started working again on new music and released the album Hell: The Sequel on June 14, 2011, with Eminem's label Shady Records. Two singles from the EP were released: "Fast Lane" and "Lighters" featuring Bruno Mars. This is considered Royce's biggest breakthrough into mainstream hip-hop as both singles received regular radio play. Also, many songs were featured on the soundtrack to the mega-hit comedy, The Hangover 2. The album would be certified Gold by the RIAA. Bad Meets Evil would reunite again for the albums "Shady XV" and "Southpaw", the soundtrack to the film of the same name.

On August 9, 2011, Royce released his fifth album, Success Is Certain. The album title serves as a play on words from his second release, Death Is Certain.

2014–2016: PRhyme and Layers

In 2014, Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier announced that they would release a collaborative album as the duo PRhyme.[19] In September 2014, Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier spoke about the album, saying: "I want people to appreciate the fact that we didn't compromise in lieu of the environment. In order to try to change the way that people digest music, we had to take a leap of faith," says Royce. DJ Premier adds, "The bar has to be high. For this album to be another body of work and another chapter for both of our lives." Enlisting the music composing skills of Adrian Younge, DJ Premier went out of his comfort zone and sampled only Younge's music for the album's production. On November 24, 2015, PRhyme released the single "Highs & Lows" ft MF DOOM and Phonte of Little Brother to promote their upcoming PRhyme Deluxe Edition release. On December 11, the deluxe edition was released which included the original PRhyme Album with four bonus songs featuring The Roots, Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic featured on an extended version of the song "Mode".

Royce da 5'9" performing in July 2016

In May 2017, Royce confirmed on his Instagram account that he and DJ Premier are working on the sequel to their debut album, PRhyme 2. He released a set of videos with one in particular featuring DJ Premier scratching on the turntables and making an instrumental.[20][21] PRhyme 2 was released on March 16, 2018.[22]

Months after the release of the deluxe version of PRhyme, Royce announced his sixth studio album Layers, which was released on April 15, 2016. He released the single "Tabernacle" to positive reception from fans and critics, and then released "Dead President Heads". On March 29, the free pre-album Trust The Shooter EP on the mixtape website Datpiff was released to positive critical consensus.

In July 2015, Royce collaborated with Lazarus and was featured on the single Underdog which was released under Russell Simmons' All Def Digital channel. The music video of the single was released in February 2016.[23][24]

2016–2018: Book of Ryan

On March 31, 2016, Royce da 5'9" announced that a new album titled Book of Ryan was in the works and that it had already been nearly completed.[25] The album was originally planned to be his second album of 2016, following the release of Layers.[26] The release of Book of Ryan saw multiple delays but was officially released on May 4, 2018.[27] Later that year, he was featured on Eminem's Not Alike, off his Kamikaze album, which debuted and peaked at 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also appeared in Caterpillar (song)

2020–present: The Allegory

On February 21, 2020, Royce da 5'9" released his eighth studio album, The Allegory. This album included features from T.I, White Gold, Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Ashley Sorrell, KXNG Crooked and more.[28] This album contained 4 singles, the first of which "Black Savage", was released on November 15, 2019.[29] This generated a buzz around Royce's production and was featured on Jay-Z's "Inspire Change" campaign.[30] Later, on January 17, 2020, Royce released the second single from the album "Overcomer" featuring Westside Gunn.[31] On 31 January 2020, Royce released the third single "I Don't Age" which Royce later stated was "the first song he made using a self-produced beat". Finally, Upside Down was released on February 7, 2020, and was the fourth single from the album. All 4 singles were met by critical acclaim. The album peaked at no. 58 on the Billboard 200.[32]

Personal life

In high school, Royce da 5'9" was generally a good student. He recalls, "In high school I would usually excel in class, depending on the teacher. I will admit I did have a bit of attention issues but actually I was a well appreciated student."[33] Royce has two sons, James and Trenton, and three daughters. He is a recovering alcoholic, being sober since September 11, 2012.[34] One of the main reasons for his choice of sobriety was his son saying, "I love my dad. I think he's Superman, but I don't really know him".[35] Royce is married. "I met my wife in Oak Park High School; we had Spanish class together. She was in the 10th grade and I was in the 9th grade. We didn't become a couple until around 1995, when I was supposed to graduate."[36]

Royce has a younger brother, Marcus, also a Detroit rapper, who goes by the name of Kid Vishis and is a hype man for Royce. Vishis released his full-length debut album, Timing Is Everything, on July 22, 2014.[37][38]


Studio albums

Collaborative albums

Awards and nominations

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2011 Recovery Grammy Award for Album of the Year Nominated [39]
2012 Hell: The Sequel Detroit Music Award for Outstanding National Major Record Label Recording Won [40]
2017 "Tabernacle" Detroit Music Award for Outstanding National Single Nominated [41]
Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Video (Major Budget) Nominated
2020 "Black Savage" Nominated [42]
"Cocaine" Nominated
2021 The Allegory Grammy Award for Best Rap Album Nominated [43]


  1. ^ Centeno, Tony (August 2, 2016). "Royce Da 5'9 & Key Wane Detail The Life Of The True "Carefree Black Man"". Vibe. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Low, Carver (March 31, 2016). "Royce Da 5'9" Reveals His Next Album "Book Of Ryan" Is Basically Done". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  3. ^ "PRhyme (Royce 5'9" & DJ Premier) - Mode ft. Logic (Lyric Video)". DJ Premier / YouTube. March 11, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Top 50 MCs of Our Time: 1987 - 2007 - 50 Greatest Emcees of Our Time". January 26, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  5. ^ "Royce da 5'9" on Meeting Eminem, Eminem's Temper, Em Attacking People". DJ Vlad / YouTube. June 19, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "Royce Da 5'9" Interview", Hip Hop Galaxy, 22 July 2005 Archived December 6, 2012, at (July 22, 2005). Retrieved on 2011-07-26.
  7. ^ "Royce 5'9" Details the Journey to His Upcoming Album, 'Layers,' and Why He Decided to Get Sober". Lauren Nostro. Complex. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  8. ^ "Royce da 5'9" – Tabernacle". Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Andres Tardio (September 28, 2015). "THIS IS THE MOMENT WHEN EMINEM THOUGHT HE'D OFFICIALLY MADE IT". MTV News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Adams, Biba. "Boom" Retrieved 2012-14-04.
  11. ^ Royce Da 5'9" Youtube Interview. Retrieved 2014-15-04.
  12. ^ "The Detroit Reunion Concert (Pics & Video)", (July 14, 2008). Retrieved on 2011-07-26.
  13. ^ "Royce Da 5'9 Sentenced To A Year In Prison", Retrieved on May 17, 2017.
  14. ^ "Royce da 5'9" Addresses Nas Signing, 'For Him To Say I Was Nice Meant A Lot'", (November 3, 2007). Retrieved on 2011-07-26.
  15. ^ Arnold, Paul W. (March 12, 2008) "Eminem And Royce da 5'9" Squash Beef", HipHopDX. Retrieved on 2011-07-26.
  16. ^ "Crooked I, The Freestyler", Archived December 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on July 26, 2011.
  17. ^ Slaughterhouse. Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-15-04.
  18. ^ Shady Shady Records: "Slaughterhouse Back in the Studio". Retrieved 2014-15-04.
  19. ^ Diep, Eric (September 15, 2014). "DJ Premier And Royce Da 5'9" Tease New 'PRhyme' Project". Townsquare Media. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  20. ^ Royce da 5'9" (May 18, 2017). "@royceda59: Day one ..... #PRhyme2 @parksmusic @djpremier". Instagram. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Royce da 5'9" (May 18, 2017). "@royceda59: Ayeeeoo @antmanwonder I don't like bothering @djpremier when he gets in his zones ... He caught me recording smh #PRhyme2". Instagram. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  22. ^ Maher, Natalie (February 1, 2018). "PRhyme Reveal Release Date For 'PRhyme 2' And Drop New Single With Dave East". Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  23. ^ DJ Raf (February 15, 2016). "Watch the Music Video – #UNDERDOG – Lazarus ft Royce da 5'9". Archived from the original on February 21, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  24. ^ "NEW MUSIC VIDEO: LAZARUS – UNDERDOG FT. ROYCE DA 5'9". February 15, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  25. ^ Low, Carver. "Royce Da 5'9" Reveals His Next Album "Book of Ryan" Is Basically Done". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  26. ^ Centeno, Tony. "Royce Da 5'9″ Says His Second Album of 2016 Will Be More Personal Than "Layers"". Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  27. ^ "Royce Da 5'9 Drops "Book Of Ryan" LP". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  28. ^ Espinoza, Joshua. "Royce da 5'9" Delivers 'The Allegory' f/ Westside Gunn, Vince Staples, T.I., and More". Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  29. ^ Retrieved May 4, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ "Royce da 5'9" Drops "Black Savage" For Jay-Z's Inspire Change Campaign: Stream". Vibe. November 14, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  31. ^ Royce da 5'9" (Ft. Westside Gunn) – Overcomer, retrieved May 4, 2020
  32. ^ "Royce da 5'9". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  33. ^ Royce Da 5'9" Youtube Interview. Retrieved 2014-15-04.
  34. ^ Statigr - Royce Da 5'9" Alcoholism. Retrieved 2014-15-04.
  35. ^ "DJ Premier and Royce da 5'9 present: PRhyme's "Raiders of the Lost Art" Part 1 On Complex". YouTube. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  36. ^ "Sometime around '95 I found my calling / And that all coincides with the time that I found my darling". Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  37. ^ Lloyd Jaffe (July 26, 2014). "Kid Vishis Talks New Album, Royce Da 5'9", Writing Process". Retrieved May 22, 2017 – via HotNewHipHop.
  38. ^ "Timing Is Everything by Kid Vishis on Apple Music". July 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2017 – via Apple Music.
  39. ^ "Royce da 5"9". June 4, 2020.
  40. ^ "21st Annual Detroit Music Awards Winners". June 4, 2020.
  41. ^ "Detroit Music Awards Foundation - Nominees". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  42. ^ "Detroit Music Awards Foundation - 2020 Nominees". Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  43. ^ "2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List". November 24, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.

External links