July 9, 2009

My Gut Reaction: Royce da 5'9" - The Revival EP (July 7, 2009)

Royce da 5'9" has been riding a wave of goodwill in hip hop blogland lately. After releasing his acclaimed mixtape The Bar Exam 2 (for free, for fuck's sake!), Ryan Montgomery hooked up with three other rappers on the verge (Joell Ortiz, late of Aftermath Records; Crooked I, who was once signed to Death Row Records; and Joe Budden, the Def Jam reject who has taken to bashing Method Man and any other artist who has an issue with him in online freestyles) and formed Slaughterhouse, a hip hop supergroup that has the potential of bringing back that "real" hip hop (notice I put "real" in quotes, as opinions vary as to what makes hip hop real), even though they won't sell any copies of their record except to backpackers and folks like myself, who like to beat dead horses.

Anyway, The Revival EP is one of four digital-only releases that the Slaughterhouse members will be releasing in the coming weeks to build up hype for their group debut, coming later this year. Royce took the title from an album that he was supposed to release a couple of years ago, but after getting locked up for a parole violation after copping a DUI, he focused more on his mixtape game rather than forming a real album, so those sessions remain officially "in the vault", although a lot of that shit has probably leaked already.

That's certainly a lot of words written for an EP that only features four fucking tracks.

I could have done without the childish gun noises coming out of Ryan's mouth, as it reminds me of a bunch of kids re-enacting a shootout on the playground at recess (or, at least that one episode of Spaced). The fact that the sounds double as a chorus of sorts makes me want to never hear this shit again, regardless of how pleasant the chanting/singing in the background is.

Uses the same Chuck D vocal sample (from Public Enemy's "Shut 'Em Down") that DJ Premier chopped up for Biggie to use on his "Ten Crack Commandments". This is more of the sort of track I would expect Royce to appear on, with a beat that keeps things moving along while the punchlines chime in with full force. My only issue is that this sounds more like an incomplete mixtape-only track than an actual song readied for a release, digital-only or otherwise. Ryan also manages to drop more names than The Game on any given Sunday on here.

Did you ever wonder what a Wu-Tang Clan posse cut would sound like if each rapper held down two verses instead of just the one? Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Ryan Montgomery attempt to answer that question (and in no way did I just compare Slaughterhouse to Wu-Tang) and simply rip the fucking stuffing out of a soothing beat that seems to be better suited for a dramatic film score, but I'm clearly wrong. This shit could actually get people excited about hip hop again, especially if you look past Joey's recent fuckery. (I'm obviously partial to Method Man, by the way. Remember back in the day, when the Wu refused to enter into rap beef, they would just smack the shit out of you? Now we have to deal with Gza/Genius dissing Curtis Jackson and Inspectah Deck writing songs about Joe Budden. What the hell happened?)

4. STREET HOP 2010
Another incomplete-sounding song filled with punchlines and random pop culture references (Royce actually mentions Marlon Brando's controversial Academy Awards acceptance speech at one point). While the title is meant to invoke thoughts of Ryan's eventual Street Hop album (another project that The Revival EP was supposed to foreshadow), the quality of the song (and its short length) indicate that this was a leftover track from one of his Bar Exam mixtapes or, at best, an afterthought.

THE LAST WORD: The Revival EP sounds like a rushed product that was intended to draw attention to the forthcoming Slaughterhouse crew album. Which, of course, is what it was supposed to be. One song bangs and one song sounds decent, but the other two falter miserably, and considering there's only four songs on here, those are very questionable odds. The sheer lyrical energy behind "Warriors" alone will carry this project, as the song is good enough to warrant that kind of publicity (even though the four rappers are ultimately saying nothing), but methinks Royce should have performed some quality control on the project, or at the very least, included his "Redemption" freestyle. Sigh.


Other Royce da 5'9" write-ups can be found here.


  1. yea it couuld've been better.

    Hey check out Novablast.blogspot.com
    for the best in hip-hop.

  2. well I think Gun Harmonizing is pretty dope

  3. What happened with the Wu not entering rap beef and slapping the shit outta people? I think its because of the times just can't beat the shit outta people like you used to. You got the internet doing the snitching for you.

    "I sham punched Ma$e in his face over some bullshit"- Ghostface Killah

    I agree with your review, Warriors is the only noteworthy song.

  4. AnonymousJuly 09, 2009

    I agree the EP pales in comparison to the Bar Exams, but I like the gun harmonizing on Gun Harmonizing.

    Oh, and Royce's "The Revival" album (or at least a version it) leaked like a year ago. With the Premier produced "Shake This" and some other shit.

  5. AnonymousJuly 09, 2009

    Didn't Tash release an album recently?, thought you would have been all over that by now.

    I liked the bar exam and was tempted to track down some of his other work, notably Death is Certain, but I won't be checking for Royce now that he's running with Mr pump, pump, pump it up and these Slaughterhouse faggots.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. I know the chorus was annoying to some (I personally like it a lot, actually. After hearing a few too many horrible choruses this year it was nice departure), but Gun Harmonizing is such a great song I can't believe you dismiss it so easily.

  7. AnonymousJuly 29, 2009

    Yeah...what happened to Joell Ortiz and "Move On" ...People who do this for the love of the artform don't pull this publicity beef shit. Although Ortiz is certainly the most humble of the crew. But what the fuck do I know...I live in Indiana these fools wouldn't pay a dime attention to the hip hop that goes on here.