Royce da 5'9" Gives Us Rare Insight Into Recording With Eminem

Only a small handful of people on Earth know what it's like watching the Rap God work, Royce is one of them.
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Only a small handful of people on Earth know what it's like watching the Rap God work, Royce is one of them.

Trying to picture what it's like to be in the studio with Eminem is like trying to picture what it would be like working with God. Em's ascended the hip-hop ranks to the point where he's more rap deity than mere mortal, and his reclusive nature means that there are only a small handful of people on Earth who know what it's like to record with Mr. Mathers behind closed doors. Royce da 5'9" is one of them. 

Royce has the unique experience of recording with a huge range of people - from solo projects like his new album Layers to the DJ Premier collab PRhyme to group work with Slaughterhouse - and in our exclusive sit down with the emcee it was fascinating to hear him compare and contrast the recording process for each, especially when it came to working with Eminem on their Bad Meets Evil album and beyond. 

Thank you! For years I've been trying to puncture a hole in the "grind in the studio all night" mythology. Rappers get to the studio at midnight, record for four hours, and then brag about working all night. Nah, that's a part time job.

Hearing that Eminem actually puts in a full day's work has to be part of the reason he's so good - 10,000 hours and all that - and knowing that Em really does just riff off one word or syllable for as long as he possibly can when he's first writing raps makes perfect sense for those who've studied his music. That's how you get lines like, "A brainiac, with a cranium packed, full of more uranium / Than a maniac Saudi Arabian." 

And yes, all this means that there really are a bunch of unreleased songs with Royce and Em laying around that may someday coalesce into a project, and Royce also confirms that a project with Black Thought is on the horizon, fans just need to "give it time." That's a lot of elite rapping coming down the pipeline, we're ready. 

By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter. Illustration via PicPicx.