Royce 5’9 Explains How Griselda Has Avoided Some Of Slaughterhouse’s Mistakes
In the last month, Griselda released its first group album, WWCD ((What Would Chine Gunn Do) on Shady Records. The project unites Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher for their first full-length release as a trio. Since signing with Eminem in 2017, the collective has independently garnered tremendous acclaim, and widespread attention for solo releases, including Wes’ Supreme Blientele, Benny’s The Plugs I Met, and Conway’s Everybody Is F.O.O.D. series.
Another longtime Shady Records artist and affiliate, Royce 5’9 was an early supporter of Griselda. In 2016, he enlisted Conway and Wes’ to join him and Styles P on “Banjo.” The song was included on the Trust The Shooter. A year later, Nickel joined the Hall N Nash brothers on Parks & Passport Gift’s “Amen,” as well as appearing on The Machine’s G.O.A.T. (Grimiest Of All Time) and W.S.G. – H*tler On Steroids mixtapes, respectively. Then, one year ago, the Bad Meets Evil MC was the veteran guest on Benny’s Tana Talk 3 highlight “Who Are You.”
Before the group signed with Shady as well as since, Royce 5’9 has been a Griselda believer. Appearing on The Joe Budden Podcast With Rory & Mal, he explains how he’s coached the trio of MCs and their producer, Daringer, to avoid some of the pitfalls that hurt a super-group at the top of the decade. After one eponymous independent album, Royce, Joe Budden, Kxng Crooked (aka Crooked I), and Joell Ortiz signed with Eminem’s label. The resulting release, 2012’s welcome to: Our HOUSE very nearly topped the charts. However, the major label LP was viewed by some vocal fans as a disconnect from expectations that the quartet could bring their best game to the mainstream.
Speaking on the show at the 96:00 mark, it is at 1:17:00 where Royce recalls his words of wisdom to Griselda, and how they’ve moved differently than Slaughterhouse. “As soon as [Westside] Gunn and them came around, the first time that they came to my studio way back in the day, that’s where the preaching from me started. [I was] just taking [about Slaughterhouse’s] experiences [and applying them to Griselda] as soon as they signed to Shady.” He continues, “Sometimes people listen, sometimes they don’t, but the good thing about them is that all the little nuances about Slaughterhouse that made it to where it was hard to take it to that [next] level, they don’t have those. They’re like a unit; they’re all from Buffalo. They’re actually like a crew.”
Westside Gunn and Conway are brothers, with Benny being a cousin. Meanwhile, there are defined positions. Royce explains, “Gunn is more in control of the aesthetics. A lot of things that you see is his taste level, and everybody [else] kind of plays a role. [Meanwhile], Slaughterhouse was like four separate entities of guys who had dreams. We all got dreams, so I think we took it way further than I think even we thought it could go. But we made our mistakes. I can definitely take the blame for some of the creative mistakes.”
Royce admits that the mistakes include him. “I know for a fact I felt really good about ‘My Life,’ going into it. And the only reason I felt really good about it is because I was judging it off of the experiences of something else with the Bad Meets Evil [2011’s Hell: The Sequel album]. So it’s like a misfire; I just thought it was the logical next step. I felt it in my heart, so when it didn’t connect, I felt good about it, because I knew exactly why.” Later in the discussion, Royce suggests he empathizes with the perspectives of both Joe and Crooked since the April 2018 disbanding. While Budden has vowed he’s retired from Rap, his former band-mate has opened up about his frustrations surrounding the group’s third album and final days. The two appeared together in a since-deleted episode of Pull Up. As recently as this October, Crooked I said he hopes the quartet can someday give fans a proper send-off LP.
Royce’s coaching echoes what many longtime Griselda fans are praising about WWCD. “I just told Gunn and them, ‘Just stay consistent with what you guys are doing. Keep doin’ what you’re doing; don’t change nothing—and that’s it, and it’ll grow.’ They’re naturally gonna grow as artists. Each time they go back in, it’s gonna be the next step up without having to reach for that step up. We reached for that step up, because we were accused of being not able to go there. And then Joe had a hit, so we were just in a different space than them. It’s hard.” Joe tells Mal, who initially asks Royce to compare and contrast, “that was gonna be my answer to that question, too.”
At 1:23:00, Joe Budden states his case in comparing the two groups. “Listen, [I] love Griselda to death, but boy, they are afforded quite a few luxuries that we were not.” Budden accused Eminem of too much creative input and lack of resources during the two men’s back-and-forth media run in late 2018. Mal then asks what. “Like being able to be themselves,” responds Budden. “And not change. Ever. ‘That same BPM? We doin’ this.’ That’s it; that’s one.” Royce chimes in, “But they built that aesthetic with the fans. They’re like a hybrid of a lot of different things, which makes it the first time that we’ve seen that. And they realize what the fans were following—even with the merchandise, they know exactly what it is about them that the fans like. [When] we came together, we didn’t even know, ‘Why they like us so much?’ [Laughing] Me and you would just film ourselves talking, and people would eat the sh*t up. It wasn’t planned, bro. It’s just way different. Plus, we were way bigger than Griselda. So I wish somebody would say that, and stop acting like [we were not successful]. We did the Nokia Theater, ni**a; 3,000 people.” Royce and Joe laugh about Budden getting arrested that night.
Earlier this week, Royce confirmed his eighth album, The Allegory (artwork embedded below). Entirely self-produced, he says the follow-up to 2018’s The Book Of Ryan (named one of Ambrosia For Heads’ best) will arrive next month on Heaven Studios/eOne. He speaks about the concept and process making the album while appearing on the podcast.
Video interviews with Royce 5’9 as well as Griselda are available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 7-day trial subscriptions. New music by Benny, Conway, Wes’, and Royce is all presently on the official AFH Playlist.
#BonusBeat: Royce 5’9’s The Allegory artwork:
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