Royce Da 5’9 – Book Of Ryan Review

This album feels like a continuation into Royce’s life that he started on “Layers”. Full of emotions, stories and clever rhymes, this is a masterpiece of music.

The production is amazing. There is a lot of different beats on offer and all help add up to a cohesive listen. There are some missteps where some songs try to cater for specific times and/or places like the club, but it is not like they do not fit the message of the track still.

The lyricism is fantastic as Royce continues to flaunt his incredible ability. The wordplay is smart and adds a level of detail to the anecdotes and helps expand the messages of the songs to bigger proportions. There are no complaints about Royce’s performance on this project as it is this ability that has allowed him to continue despite a few problems earlier in his career.

The features are great and show how a combination of A-List and lesser known artists can come together and create great tracks. Each does astonishing work showing their own skills as well as building upon the work Royce has already put down. There is also a good blend of singing to rapping to help give an extra edge to the project.

Overall, this release is the project that Royce needed to capitalise off the momentum gained from his last releases. Including his work as various duos and groups, this is the peak of his rap career so far and it looks like he is only getting started.

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Shady XV – Various Artists Review

The first disc is a well crafted showcase of how the Shady Records roster is prepared to make more hits and the second is a track back at the past records that helped build it up to the powerhouse it is today. Eminem started it up and has kept it rolling through some tough times and a total reboot, but it is in a strong place now and this set of records is a signal that the label is as strong, or stronger than it has ever been.

The production is great, but being a protégé of Dr Dre you pick up an ear for beats. There is a good range of beat type from country to heavy and everything in-between. Each one compliments the message and tone of the track and helps to show the range of songs and backings that the Shady Crew can work with.

The lyricism is clear and present on every track. It becomes even clearer than before that these are some of the top lyricists in the rap game and that they are not to be trifled with. These guys have come to play hardball and they are annihilating almost all other rappers out there. If your a fan of lyricism and wordplay, you have to get this project.

The features are good and show that the group can work well together with an outside influence. As well as working together with them, they also seem to gain a competitive edge and work harder to outdo the feature which creates a sense of the pure nature of Hip Hop as well as creating a great track for the listener.

Overall, this is a fantastic project for both listeners and the performers on it and we can only hope they continue to create tracks of this magnitude. Whether it’s Yelawolf, any member of Slaughterhouse or Eminem, the rest of the Hip Hop world should take heed of whatever they are doing because it is bound to be a success.