Royce 5’9″‘s New Freestyle Shows His Time To “Shine” As A Solo Artist Is Now (Video)

For more than 20 years, Royce 5’9″ consistently has been one of the most skilled wordsmiths in Hip-Hop. Coming of age with Eminem as part of Bad Meets Evil in the late 90s, Royce always surrounded himself with the best of the best, and thrived. After his 2000 single “Boom,” produced by DJ Premier, established him as a solo artist, Nickle’s next major leap came when he, Joell Ortiz, Kxng Crooked (pka Crooked I) and Joe Budden came together to form the lyrical super group, Slaughterhouse. The fearsome foursome, signed to Eminem’s Shady Records, stood as arguably the most skilled unit of MCs since Wu-Tang Clan. While Royce once again stood shoulder to shoulder with each talented member of the crew, the individual voices of each were arguably overshadowed by the power of the collective. The same held true when Royce re-teamed with Eminem in 2011 for another Bad Meets Evil project, Hell: The Sequel. Despite being one of the few to be able to go to to toe with Eminem, and up the ante, to many, Royce was forever associated with monster groups, rather than for his solo prowess.

Ironically, things would change with the 2014 releases of PRhyme, Royce’s album with DJ Premier and Adrian Younge. Although he was once again being associated with a heralded group, Royce was the sole microphone controller in the unit, and his verbal skill was front and center. Anchored by Preemo’s production, Royce re-kindled the magic the pair had found 14 years earlier and established his voice more than on any project of his prior. As pivotal as PRhyme was to Royce’s career, however, there is nothing that allows an artist to show who he is like a solo project.

In February of this year, Royce announced, via Ambrosia For Heads, that he would be releasing Layers, his first solo album in nearly 5 years, on April 15. As part of the announcement, he unleashed a devastating a capella freestyle that let the world know exactly where his head was, stating, matter of factly, “A lot of people ask me since I’m a lyricist in this business, how come I haven’t gone broke yet. I tell ’em it’s cause I’m the flyest backpacker EVER.”

Now, Royce returns with another a capella freestyle which makes it crystal clear his time is now. In “Shine,” the Detroit MC says “the fabric I’m cut from’s the most genuine article mankind offers. I’m like an underground landmine talking.” Rather than chase mainstream success, he wears his authenticity like a badge of honor. “Highly exalted. Call me commercial, I’m highly insulted,” he growls. Shot in stylish black and white, the visuals support who Royce 5’9″ is today: stylish, substantive, and standing alone to claim his glory.

Royce 5’9″‘s album Layers will be available on April 15 and can be pre-ordered right now on iTunes. Also, tickets are currently on sale for Royce’s release party which will be held at New York’s S.O.B.’s club. Click here to purchase tickets.

Related: Watch “The Most Significant Day Of Royce 5’9″‘s Life” In His “Tabernacle” Video