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My Review Of Royce Da 5'9"'s "Death Is Certain"

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  • My Review Of Royce Da 5'9"'s "Death Is Certain"

    I liked both versions of "Rock City." Yes, they had some weak tracks, but they were far from bad albums. Still, despite the fact that I liked them, I definitely saw room for improvement. And improvement is exactly what Royce promised from his sophomore album (Build & Destroy doesn't count). No more hip-pop attempts, no more Pharrell singing the chorus.

    Regardless - The albums opens properly with this banger. The beat is excellent, and subdued perfectly to keep your attention on Royce's rhymes. He starts off with Eminem's opening bars from Lose Yourself, but quickly flips it to his own story. The message is clear: Royce is hear, so listen. Trust me, you want to.

    Throwback - This is the "hype" single to Death Is Certain. Basically, if this doesn't make you want to listen to Royce, then nothing will. He spits line after line with a flow he has down to a T over an ear-grabbing beat. The hook is fast-paced and the female-singer makes it excellent. This track is probably the best introduction to Royce since "Boom."

    What I Know - After the bangers that Carlos Broady and Ty Fyffe brought to the table so far, What I Know was disappointing; even more so when you realize that the guy behind the boards for this track is none other than Reef, the man behind the classic "Scary Movies." Royce is still not bad on the lyrical tip; but, as Kory would say, his "destroy cities like the Blob" line is amazingly whack. You can't really let one bad line ruin it though, and the rest of Royce's bars are far from basic stuff.

    I Promise - Broady gets the album back on track with this song; I Promise is excellent. During the hook, the beat reminds me of Biggie's "My Downfall." I can't really explain why, but maybe you'll hear it if you listen yourself. Royce raps about everything from battling to how his career went sour. "I'm feeling like Nas before he dropped Ether." Hopefully, like Nas, he'll go on to drop more excellent albums and get the attention he deserves.

    Call Me Never is a horrid skit that should have been cut. The end.

    Hip-Hop - The long-awaited Primo-Royce collaboration is here. So how does it match up to Boom? I personally like to see it as the song that it is, because few hip-hop songs can measure to the perfection that was Boom. Hip-Hop disappointed me on first listen, but after a few more plays, the heat that this track contains hit me head on. Royce goes battle-rap on us and insults people that don't respect Hip-Hop, while simultaneously telling the listener what Hip-Hop is to him. Primo's beat is reminiscent of "1/2 & 1/2," and that's definitely a good thing. This track won't get much radio play, but that's not even what it's for. Listen to this song and recognize the talent behind it; whether it sells a million copies or one copy is irrelevant.

    Gangsta - This is the second-weakest song on the album; however, it's not half-bad. The fault goes mostly to Cutty Mack, Royce's (non-talented) friend from D-Elite. I think he should have put Billy Nix instead. But to dwell on the bad would be an injustice, especially with the excellent rymes Royce drops on this song. The beat takes a little getting used to, but after awhile I got to like it.

    T.O.D.A.Y. - Royce raps about his life, his career after Death Is Certain, even Dr. Dre on this track. The beat is a piano loop that works greatly. On the hook, he goes for the spelling out of a word like on Throw Back. However, this time he doesn't just do it in the background; instead he uses each letter to begin a word like on R.A.K.I.M. I really don't care much for this technique; I think it's unoriginal and played-out. But when a hook like that is in such good company, the track doesn't suffer.

    I & Me - I saw that on the Hip Hop Site review, they called this song one of the low points on the album. To which I say: blasphemy! This track is one of my favorite from the album. The beat is quieter than most, but definitely hot. It lets you center on Royce's flow, which is on this song, at its best. He apologizes for his past mistakes on previous albums with a humility that's refreshing in the rap game right now. Royce really lets you see into what's going on in his head on this track. This is the type of song Eminem was trying to do during the whole Eminem Show but really only succeeded once.

    Beef - This is Royce's version of Biggie's now wide-known What's Beef. I like this version better than Biggie's, to tell the truth. Royce is obviously the superior lyricist, and he shows it here. The beat isn't as head-nodding as some of the other ones, but it works.

    Bomb 1st - As I'm typing this, the deep-voiced 2Pac-style hook is going through my head. This is probably the catchiest song on the album, and simultaneously the least radio-friendly. Royce flips into story-telling mode over the pounding piano beat. It's kind of violent, and Royce probably wouldn't do half of the stuff he says on this track in real life. But hey, he's a rapper, he doesn't have to. This track is excellent.

    Everybody Goes - This track is back to battle-rapping, where Royce is dissing an understood you. Sure, some rappers like Copywrite beat this style to death, but when it comes in moderate doses it can be great. As you can probably imagine, Royce tears the mic apart with his flow and his lyrics are onpoint throughout the whole track. The beat isn't as great, but it's still good.

    Death Is Certain Part 2 (It Hurts) - Royce reaches his lyrical zenith on this song. Over a somber beat, Royce tells a story about a friend. I won't go into the details here, because it would ruin the song. Just know that it's excellent, and can truely stand with Boom and King Of Kings as one of Royce's best tracks ever.

    Something's Wrong With Him - Carlos Broady is back behind the boards, and he drops his best beat of the album here. The production is so good I had to listen to the song twice because I wasn't listening to Royce's lyrics the first time. And missing out on his bars here would be a tragedy. "My wife doesn't like my album, she says it sounds like I hold grudes//she'd rather listen to Joe Budden's." The whole track is fire, and a great way to end the album. The only thing Wrong with Royce is the fact that he's so underrated.

    Does Royce deliver what he promised? Most definitely. While "Death Is Certain" falls a little short from being a Five Mic album, it leaves no doubt that Royce is a Five Mic rapper. Right now, I can count on one hand how many rappers are on Royce's level. If you are sleeping on Ryan, then it's about time to wake up. This album is the perfect alarm clock.

    Overall Album Rating: 90%
    Best Song: Death Is Certain Part 2
    Best Beat: Hip-Hop
    Worst Song: What I Know
    Worst Beat: What I Know

    Buy it.
    NEPatriots 3x World Champions
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  • #2
    I haven't downloaded the album because I want to be somewhat suprised when I buy it, but sounds like it'll be worth the wait. Nice review Luis
    If my answers frighten you, then you should cease asking scary questions

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    • #3
      Good review Luis.
      I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...

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      • #4
        A-fucking-greed. Don't sleep on this album.
        Who the hell do you think I am?!

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        • #5
          Good stuff. Thanks for the review.

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          • #6
            Regardless is the best song ive heard in a while.
            Kid Cudi
            =
            The Future

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            • #7
              maybe the skit might be removed and some thigns will be changed cause u know it still has a 4 days before release..but overall i think it is deserving of a 5 mic album cause its WAY better than some of the 5 mic albums ive heard, which of course were dope as well...wutever tho it aint about that with me the shtis hot...good review
              Wake Up Lazarus
              "Kill Radio"
              "Don't Blame Me"
              "What Do I See?"
              "Us Against the World"

              The Fallen Angels Movement

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Luis T.
                I & Me - I saw that on the Hip Hop Site review, they called this song one of the low points on the album. To which I say: blasphemy!
                Agreed... I couldn't fucking believe that comment when I read it.

                Anyway, thanks for another well-written and helpful review.

                I still haven't been able to get the entire album off Soulseek yet, but by the sound of your review I have something nice to look forward to.
                OZ HIP HOP.COM
                THE RAP CELLA

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                • #9
                  Good review. You allured me to check out this album.
                  www.thespeaks.com
                  www.pinoyrap.com

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                  • #10
                    You allured me to check out this album.
                    That's exactly what it's for; when I write reviews I hope they help people make up their mind on an album.

                    Uppin'.
                    NEPatriots 3x World Champions
                    UNC Basketball 5x National Champions
                    Charlotte Bobcats UHHHHHHH

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                    • #11
                      That review was excellent...

                      Originally posted by Luis T.
                      Gangsta - This is the second-weakest song on the album; however, it's not half-bad. The fault goes mostly to Cutty Mack, Royce's (non-talented) friend from D-Elite. I think he should have put Billy Nix instead. But to dwell on the bad would be an injustice, especially with the excellent rymes Royce drops on this song. The beat takes a little getting used to, but after awhile I got to like it.
                      WORD...I really have no idea why Royce would put Cutthroat on that track over Billy Nix...Cut's verse was awful in my opinion...Billy Nix would have ripped it...

                      Originally posted by Luis T.
                      Call Me Never is a horrid skit that should have been cut. The end.
                      Haha, very true...What I dislike the most about that skit was that impersonation of an angry pakistani neighbour...It was pathetic...
                      One Be Lo / Discography
                      Proof Discography
                      Bugz
                      VISHISS

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                      • #12
                        Here's a question... Why does Royce's "T.O.D.A.Y" have the same beat as Beanie Sigel & Jay-Z's "Still Got Love For You"?
                        OZ HIP HOP.COM
                        THE RAP CELLA

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                        • #13
                          good review man.
                          Vexx, bitch.

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                          • #14
                            yea i want to cop this album, unfortunately it comes out the same day as Chappelle Show Season 1 DVD and Yak Ballz- My Claim (Flushing, Queens!!!)...

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                            • #15
                              Great review, I was actually looking a review on this album because I havent heard it yet, I'll definatly be buying this CD now
                              .
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