Royce Da 5'9" - Street Hop

One would be inclined to mention how I should probably not be reviewing an album on the 13th if it does not release until the 20th.
One should also realize that these leaks have been Royce's albatross throughout his career, which has come in coincidence with the advent of the internets.
One should ALSO realize that I, as a Royce Stan, plan to buy the damned album anyway, based solely on the body of his previous work, my respect for his grind and especially the Slaughterhouse album.

I won't get into the specifics of where this particular leak came from, but comparing the track listings I have found on the internets to what I have, this is a proper leak and not some cheapass bootleg "street album" full of track-by-track leaked songs from mixtapes, though 3 of the songs have been heard on the internets before.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the album, shall we?

  1. Gun Harmonizing (feat. Crooked I)
    I do like this beat, and Royce starts off this album rhyming his ASS off, though the scatting with the gun sounds is annoying and always has been. I like this beat a lot too, the samples are well-placed. Also, I have a confession to make... Prior to the Slaughterhouse work, I never knew or even gave a fuck who Crooked I was. Now, I begin to feel a bit mad with myself for not knowing.

  2. Count for Nothing
    Okay, the Chuck D Sample originally used on Ten Crack Commandments is wearing thin 12 years later. It is well-used by Royce compared to others who may have, but this song is still not what he is capable of. He seems to be punching his lines with little regard for song structure.
    I don't think I like this song as much now... Wait, the "Shonuff, I'm glowin' like Taimak" line got a chuckle outta me. I guess this is okay. Not bad, not GREAT, but good. Could be better. The utter disrespect for those I dislike (OJ Da Juiceman, Soulja Boy) in the one-liners saved this from being a shitty song.

  3. Soldier (feat. Kid Vishis)
    Phun Phlip Phact: Kid Vishis is Royce's little brother, and is usually somewhere around his projects... I am thankful that he was nowhere near the Slaughterhouse album and that his involvement in this is out of the way early in the presentation.
    Okay, starting the first verse, getting 3 bars in and "nah, bringitback" then starting over is one of those things that I LOVE when employed on a song. This song was good until we got to the hook, which is not so great. He works the HELL out of this beat and Vishis does not ruin it for a change.

  4. Something 2 Ride 2 (feat. Phonte of Little Brother)
    Dammit, Ryan Montgomery, you tricked me! I was in the car this morning looking forward to THIS song, speaking from the mind of an NC resident who grew up like 2 miles from Phonte...
    I never got that Phonte verse, though. See, we have "Phonte of Foreign Exchange" here instead of "Phonte of Little Brother" and it took me until the damned song was almost over to realize that.
    All in all, though, this was not a bad song. It could have been worse, we COULD have gotten Percy Miracles on this one, so I will be thankful for the small victory in the face that I would sacrifice your mother to hear Phonte Coleman RAP over a Premier beat, though this doesn't much FEEL like a Premier beat. Not filthy enough, drums aren't huge as we're used to.

  5. Dinner Time (feat. Busta Rhymes)
    This is not a bad look from Busta, who seems to not much care about rapping these days, even though that is pretty much still the only thing he's doing. Okay, these drums, horns and guitars are ENORMOUS!!! Royce is rhyming angry-like. I like how he beats on each line in each bar and falls to a pause. Busta gets a verse and feeds it just back, SAME style. I miss this Busta Rhymes, someone get Trevor Smith a message that we want him to come back to us! I like this song.

  6. Far Away
    Here we go with the fucking smooth R&B beats and shit... WHAT THE FUCK, IS THAT AUTOUNE?!!? Oh wait, he was just playing. I will start this song over and try this shit again, I was a LITTLE scared for a moment there. He is playing with the autotune thing, and it is so obviously a joke, and is actually kinda funny when explained that it is. The beat is still a bit cheapy to me, but he IS rhyming well kinda well, but not extraordinarily. Good song, if only for the in-joke, but probably won't hold value very well.

  7. The Warriors (feat. Slaughterhouse)
    Okay, I was talking to a friend just last week about how THIS song should have been on the Slaughterhouse album. If it had been, it would have been one of the best songs ON the album, and that says a lot. As I listened to it on my way to work this morning, though, I noticed something. Royce had the hardest verse on the song "Lord have mercy, we here to destroy EVERYTHING/you n***as is butter in front of a fucking machete swing. Motherfucker I'm fly, I ain't no scary goon/try me and I guarantee you I'ma see you very soon..."
    The verse continued and then EVERYONE rhymes again, and then very much unlike every other Slaughterhouse song, Royce closes the song instead of Budden. I guess that would mean it was MEANT for this album, and not that one... It is still the best song I have heard to this point on this album. I like this song THAT much.

  8. A Brief Intermission
    I really do blame Prince Paul for this shit, and he had nothing to do with this album... Why? Ever since De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising, EVERYONE has felt that they MUST have at least one funny -- or, as it were in this case, UNfunny -- skit on their album. This one falls into the latter category. It was almost chuckle worthy, but trust that the saving grace of this is that it was over in 37 seconds.

  9. New Money
    I won't say that I was EXPECTING The Beastie Boys' The New Style to be sampled, but I would be lying if I said that I was surprised that it was used. Something in listening to this song brings back painful memories of You Can't Touch Me, a song from "Rock City," Royce's first album, which -- along with a manager with a bigass mouth -- conspired against his career on the whole. This is something of a "radio" song, which the artist here is not suited for, so I do not like it so much. I would be willing to bet this was the first single if this album was to ever spawn any radio play. Again, one-liners make this song for me. Shitting on skinny-jean mohawked hipsters and the "my mama pussy had the new car smell" line almost cost me a mouthful of this Yuengling Black & Tan I am currently enjoying.

  10. Shake This
    A holdover from The Revival, with the vocals slightly dirtied almost to sound like like it is a phone call, and there were a couple of samples added at random times that I did not notice until now, my second time listening to the song in this context. I like this effect, it serves to further humanize the effect conveyed in the story being told, that of a man who has gone from nothing to something and back, then repeated. The way this song goes, it belongs at the beginning of an album in my opinion. I like this song, though and always have.

  11. Gangsta (feat. Trick Trick)
    Okay, I get it. Gangsta is the name of the song, right? Trick Trick is allegedly a GANGSTA motherfucker. This will be a hard song and Young Berg will be get joked upon.
    [Phlip note - damn I'm good]
    Okay, working the Daft Punk/Kanye thing into a joke on Kanye's mullet was guffaw-worthy.
    Wait, all Trick Trick does is talk on this? Oh well, at least it's over, it was not great.

  12. Me in Thiz (feat. Mr. Porter)
    This is bad.
    No, correction... This is fucking HORRIBLE. I want my 3:15 back for this song. Denaun Porter provides the beat and the hook, and I think this song is about bringing guns in the the club. Somewhere in this song, Royce channels his inner Marshall Mathers, but not in the way we might want him to.
    This is a silly ass song, I don't think I will be listening to it anymore.

  13. Street Hop 2010
    The original Street Hop was a better song. Why can we not have a version of that? This one was not bad, but that one was that much better, from the beat to the rhymes. In fact, in every other aspect except the jokes told. Hell, even Katie chuckled at the Octomom one. [Phlip note - yes, Katie, I heard that]
    Yes, I know the original Street Hop was 3 years ago, but I want some version of it instead.

    And what the fuck is up with this damned skit at the end of the song?!!?

    ... oh, this...
  14. Thing for Your Girlfriend (feat. Kay Young)
    Let me start off by saying I don't know who in the blue hell Kay Young is.
    Oh, now I see why... This is a fucking R&B song, and I don't think I like it. Royce comes in after an extended R&B verse from whomever this broad is, and talks about fuckin'. Thank God for the FoxyTunes plugin in FireFox, it will be EXTRA easy to skip this song after this one listen.

  15. On the Run
    Okay, extended intro, which means we're about to get "Storyteller" Royce.
    Wow, I like this sample.
    Fuck, this beat is BUILDING!!!
    I like this a lot. Yes, a story gets told, and Royce is calm and builds, gives the beat it's just due.

  16. Murder
    Wait, seriously?!!?
    This song is a continuation of the previous, it serves as an explanation of the events leading into the story from the prior song. Royce is NOT calm in this song, and is rhyming his ASS off.
    We get a few lines from Trey Little, but apparently not enough to be credited as a proper "feature" though. This is REALLY fucking good, when approached with the knowledge of the prior song's existence.

  17. Bad Boy (feat. Jungle Rock Jr.)
    This is one of those horrible reggae/rap songs. Royce does not do patois well, I wish he would not try. He is even fucking up the wording!
    This is not a good song, damn fuckin' sure not as good as it pretends to be.

  18. Part of Me
    Here we find Royce telling a VERY disturbing story that man-hating feminists and their ilk will cheer over for ages to come. If you suspend disbelief at what you're hearing, though, you'll be greeted to a damn good bit of storytelling. This was well worth the holdover from The Revival.
    The things added/changed in the mix/master (sound effects, ad-libs, a pause in the beat) were well-done. I still like this song.

    *Pause Button*
    I'll be right back after Hip Hop Honors goes to commercial.

    Okay, back to this thing, I have a couple minutes...
  19. Hood Love (feat. Bun B & Joell Ortiz)
    If anyone thought that the homes of the individual Slaughterhouse members (Detroit, Jersey City, Brooklyn and Long Beach) was an odd mix, check THIS shit out (Port Arthur TX, Detroit, Brooklyn).
    See what I did there? I introduced you to the concept of the song, and I type that sentence just as it starts, before anyone starts rapping. You know, of all people from below the Mason Dixon, Bernard Freeman has forever been one of my favorites, and this comes LONG before Big Pimpin.
    Listening to the song, I REALLY like the laid-back feel to it, and I would find it HARD to pick who would rhyme last on it. I was a bit disappointed that Royce didn't give us one more 16, or maybe even an 8, to close the album. Really good song, nonetheless.

At the end of this, I can see where Royce may have mailed it in a bit on the Slaughterhouse album, which I have very openly and plainly said he did. I know WHY he did it as well, and I cannot terribly say as I blame him, being that he clearly outclasses his contemporaries and could have made them look VERY bad in comparison. I am not saying that he did the same on this album, but I would be inclined to think he could have done a LITTLE better than he did. Again, I am not displeased with this project on the whole, as I am happy with the departure of "unhappy/depressed" Royce who complains about how the industry horse fucked him at the behest -- whether specifically stated or not -- of a certain Marshall Mathers and Andre Young.

High points include that this was not a "Slaughterhouse 2.0" album, in that we get very limited features from the members of the group, usually finding Royce handling the tracks for himself. Surprise guests were Busta and Phonte, and I might be Surprised by Kay Young and Jungle Rock Jr. if I knew or particularly cared who the fuck they are.
Mr. (Denaun) Porter's contribution leads me to believe in the earnestness of the mended fences over on Shady Records, which leads to my curiosity with the omission of Eminem from the presentation... Maybe later and with a better budget, I hope.

Points of contention continue to include production on the whole, but there again as mentioned, this is an independent release, which would either include in-house, old throwaway or very inexpensive beats due to the "budget" being what it will HAVE to be, if the artist intends to feed his wife and children.
My plans still include the purchase of this album. I will do so at the hopes that I can get more product with better production [think more DJ Premier, less Satalight and Raf Moses, whoever the fuck they are] on future product not only from Royce, but the rest of Slaughterhouse as well.

I will not tell you what to do with your hard-earned recession dollars, but I will offer the tidbit that if there is a FYE near you, they do not charge more than $10 for single-disc albums here in Greensboro, NC, plus have the buying power to actually HAVE obscure-assed non-promoted pseudo indie rap albums. It is where I bought Slaughterhouse and where I will be buying this.

Make note that I will NOT be an album reviewer on a regular basis here, that is not my modus operandi, and I intend to stay in my lane. I will do an album here and there, but probably not what you want to hear. I listen to what I listen to... I guess I am a blogger of sorts, but in such I do whatever is on my mind when my fingers hit the keys.
If you want to read some album reviews in varying degrees of hilarity and a zero degree of objectivity, get at Max over on Hip Hop Isn't Dead, he would love to have your attention I'm sure...


Allen said…
I agree with this for the most part. The thing that annoyed me the most about this album was the sequence. None of the tracks really seemed like they were in the right order, so it just seemed like a bunch of songs thrown together. Maybe it'll be different when the actual retail drops though. Probably one of the best people at doing this correctly is Masta Ace, I think he should executive produce all rap albums. lol. Lyrically Royce kills it as always, I could've done without that song with Kid Vishis and probably even the one with Trick Trick, though nobody talks shit quite like him. Overall a good album though, I'd say the beat selection was better than the Slaughterhouse album. Oh, and I was TOO pissed that Phonte didn't kick a verse man. They should specify Phonte of Foreign Exchange or Phonte of Little Brother to set expectations

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