|Royce da 5′9″|
Royce da 5′9″ in 2008
|Ryan Daniel Montgomery|
July 5, 1977|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Ryan Daniel Montgomery (born July 5, 1977), better known by his stage name Royce da 5?9?, is an American rapper and songwriter. He is best known for his longtime association with Eminem as well as his solo career, recording primarily with producers Carlos "6 July" Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. Royce is one half of the rap duo Bad Meets Evil with Eminem, one quarter of the hip hop group Slaughterhouse with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of the hip hop group PRhyme with DJ Premier. The editors of About.com ranked him No. 30 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987-2007).
In an interview with DJ Vlad on YouTube, Royce stated that his only early stage name prior to the "Royce" nickname was R-Dog, which "didn't even last a year". He moved to Oak Park, Michigan when he was 10 years old, later acquiring the nickname "Royce" during high school after wearing a Turkish link chain with an R pendant resembling the Rolls Royce symbol. Royce's name comes from his height, 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm). However, the numbers five and nine have been in his life numerous times as he "found his calling" as a rapper in 1995 and in his song "Tabernacle" he discusses his grandmother dying on the fifth floor of a hospital and his first son being born on the ninth. Similar instances suggest that his name has numerous meanings besides his height. He started rapping at age 18, influenced mainly by Ras Kass, Redman, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Esham, Detroit's Most Wanted, and N.W.A.
He signed his first deal in 1998 with Tommy Boy Records, the label offering him $1 million compared to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, who offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats--what Royce expressed as his "biggest regret" in a March 2016 interview with Complex. After Tommy Boy Records shut down, he signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings where he started recording an album called Rock City, referring to Detroit's former status as home to Motown Records. When the project was heavily bootlegged, Royce left the label for Koch to re-record some of the album, eventually releasing it in 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). While the album did not sell very well, the DJ Premier-produced single "Boom" gained Royce some underground recognition and eventually resulted in the two working together more closely.
Through his manager Kino Childrey, Royce was introduced to Eminem on December 29, 1997 at a concert, and the two formed a working relationship; they formed up as a duo, Bad Meets Evil, and released several tracks together. Royce appeared on Eminem's major-label debut studio album The Slim Shady LP, in which he was featured on a song called "Bad Meets Evil". However, many of the CD's pressed and released did not have this song on them. Royce and Eminem also released a track called "Renegade", from which Royce's vocals would later be replaced with Jay-Z's on the latter's The Blueprint.
Through Eminem, Royce would also be introduced to both Dr. Dre and execs at Game Recordings. After Royce's manager Kino stated: "I've seen Em' sit Dre down like a pupil and coach him on rhymes." on a phone interview, Dr. Dre requested that Royce cut ties with Kino. Royce refused to fire his manager Kino, thus Royce's relationship with Dre ended.
Royce had a falling out with D12, including mutual friend and group member Proof. This resulted in a drawn-out, public rivalry between the rapper and five of the six members, with Royce releasing three diss tracks aimed at the group. The first diss track, "Shit on You", was recorded over the instrumental of D12's song with the same name and mainly attacked group member Bizarre. "Malcolm X" was the second diss track, which featured Tré Little. D12 responded with "Smack Down" which was recorded over 50 Cent's "Back Down" instrumental. Proof also recorded a diss track entitled "Many Men". This was recorded over 50 Cent's "Many Men (Wish Death)" instrumental. Proof later released another diss with The Purple Gang called "Beef Is Ova". Royce responded with his third diss track, which was recorded over 50 Cent's "In Da Club" instrumental titled "Death Day".
In the summer of 2003, D12 member Proof confronted Royce outside a club in Detroit. Violence erupted between the rappers' entourage, leading to the police being called, and Proof and Royce's arrest. The two were detained overnight in adjacent cells where they talked out their differences and ended the feud. A few years later Royce released "Malcolm X" in 2007 off his "Bar Exam" mixtape which reignited the feud briefly (and was also a diss towards 50 Cent). The feud officially ended in 2008 when Royce was featured in a mixtape of D12 called Return of the Dozen. They also went on tour in Europe and Canada together around that time. Royce has since been featured on D12's 2015 The Devil's Night Mixtape.
Royce signed with Game Recordings, for whom he had recorded several tracks for the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto III, released in 2001. The in-game radio station, Game Radio FM, prominently featured Royce's "I'm the King" and The Alchemist-produced solo track, which (along with the publicized beef) helped elevate Royce's name beyond his association with Eminem. In 2001, Royce was featured on pop singer Willa Ford's song "I Wanna Be Bad". In 2004, he released his second and most critically successful album to date, Death Is Certain, charting with another Premier-produced single, "Hip-Hop".
After the relative success of his sophomore effort, Royce put out a third solo project, Independent's Day, in 2005. This was met with less acclaim than either of his previous releases. During this time, the rivalry between Royce and former friend Proof reached a boiling point in the streets of Detroit, on an occasion where the two rappers drew guns; they were subsequently arrested and left to work out their differences while spending the night in neighboring cells in jail. The time spent in jail led to the artists ending their feud and subsequently embarking on two overseas tours together. Though Royce had planned other projects involving Nottz and his former crew, D-Elite, these were cut short after a sentencing to one year in prison for a DUI.
After his release in 2007, Royce with DJ Premier and Statik Selektah released the mixtape The Bar Exam. He also announced an album with Premier; in an interview with Elemental Magazine, Royce stated that, contrary to rumors, Premier would not be producing the entirety of his upcoming album, but will be overseeing the project as executive producer, handpicking all of the beats. Following The Bar Exam, Royce wrote the single for Diddy's album Press Play, "Tell Me". Following this, the producer expressed interest in signing the lyricist to Bad Boy.Nas has also stated that he would like to sign Royce to his Def Jam imprint, The Jones Experience. Neither of these deals, however, materialized.
In early 2008, Royce confirmed that he had officially resolved misunderstandings between himself and Eminem. He released The Bar Exam 2 with DJ Green Lantern later in the year, as well as a retail version of the mixtape The Album; the projects featured production from Green Lantern, 9th Wonder, DJ Premier and 6 July, among others. Later worked on his Premier-assisted retail release, Street Hop, the lead single of which was "Shake This", also produced by DJ Premier. The video to the song circulated the internet, and the project was released October 20, 2009.
Joe Budden collaborated with Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5?9? and Nino Bless on a track titled "Slaughterhouse" on his digital release, Halfway House. Based on the reception of the track, they decided to form a supergroup, minus Nino Bless, and named it after the first song they made together. They released numerous songs throughout early 2009, building a buzz for their self-titled album, which was released through E1 on August 11, 2009. The album features production from DJ Khalil, Mr. Porter and The Alchemist, plus guest appearances from Pharoahe Monch, K. Young and The New Royales. The group signed with Shady Records on January 12, 2011. On August 28, 2012 Slaughterhouse released their second studio album, Welcome to: Our House. As of November 23, 2012, it has sold 146,000 copies in the United States. In June 2013, the group began recording their second album with Shady Records. Super producer Just Blaze has been tapped to be Executive Producer of the project. The album was set to be released in 2016 but has since been delayed.
After Royce reconciled with Eminem, the duo started working again on new music and released the album Hell: The Sequel on June 14, 2011 with Eminem's label Shady Records. Two singles from the EP were released: "Fast Lane" and "Lighters" featuring Bruno Mars. This is considered Royce's biggest breakthrough into mainstream hip-hop as both singles received regular radio play. Also, many songs were featured on the soundtrack to the mega-hit comedy, The Hangover 2. The album would be certified Gold by the RIAA. Bad Meets Evil would reunite again for the albums "Shady XV" and "Southpaw", the soundtrack to the film of the same name.
In 2014, Royce da 5?9? and DJ Premier announced that they would release a collaborative album as the duo PRhyme. In September 2014, Royce da 5?9? and DJ Premier spoke about the album, saying: "I want people to appreciate the fact that we didn't compromise in lieu of the environment. In order to try to change the way that people digest music, we had to take a leap of faith," says Royce. DJ Premier adds, "The bar has to be high. For this album to be another body of work and another chapter for both of our lives." Enlisting the music composing skills of Adrian Younge, DJ Premier went out of his comfort zone and sampled only Younge's music for the album's production. On November 24, 2015, PRhyme released the single "Highs & Lows" ft MF Doom and Phonte of Little Brother to promote their upcoming PRhyme Deluxe Edition release. On December 11, the deluxe edition was released which included the original PRhyme Album with four bonus songs featuring The Roots, Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic featured on an extended version of the song "Mode".
In May 2017, Royce confirmed on his Instagram account that he and DJ Premier are working on the sequel to their debut album, PRhyme 2. He released a set of videos with one in particular featuring DJ Premier scratching on the turntables and making a instrumental.PRhyme 2 was released on March 16, 2018.
Months after the release of the deluxe version of PRhyme, Royce announced his sixth studio album Layers, which was released on April 15, 2016. He released the single "Tabernacle" to positive reception from fans and critics, and then released "Dead President Heads". On March 29, the free pre-album Trust The Shooter EP on the mixtape website Datpiff was released to positive critical consensus.
In July 2015, Royce collaborated with Lazarus and was featured on the single Underdog which was released under Russell Simmons' All Def Digital channel. The music video of the single was released in February 2016.
On March 31, 2016, Royce da 5?9? announced that a new album titled Book of Ryan was in the works and that it had already been nearly completed. The album was originally planned to be his second album of 2016, following the release of Layers. The release of Book of Ryan saw multiple delays but was officially released on May 4, 2018.
While in high school, Royce da 5?9? was generally a good student in class. He recalls in an interview by saying, "In high school I would usually excel in class depending on the teacher, I will admit I did have a bit of attention issues but actually I was a well appreciated student." Royce has two sons, James and Trenton. He also has three daughters. He is a recovering alcoholic, being sober since September 11, 2012. One of the main reasons for his choice of sobriety was his son saying "I love my dad I think he's Superman but I don't really know him". Royce is also married. "I met my wife in Oak Park High School, we had Spanish class together. She was in the 10th grade and I was in the 9th grade. We didn't become a couple until around 1995, when I was supposed to graduate."
Royce has a younger brother, Marcus, who is also a fellow Detroit rapper that goes by the name of Kid Vishis and is a hype man for Royce. Vishis released his full-length debut album, Timing Is Everything, on July 22, 2014.