Artist: Royce 5'9"Title: M.I.C. Official Mixtape Vol. 2Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Low-Key Heinzelman
You can't keep a good emcee down for long and Royce 5'9 is proof of that. The man once destined to take over Detroit's throne has been hard at work this year, dropping his sophomore release Death Is Certain, and now his follow up mixtape The M.I.C. Official Mixtape Vol. 2 (Sure Shot). Just as he did on Death Is Certain, Royce ferociously attacks each track like a pitbull who hasn't eaten for days. With his confident swagger and newfound dark demeanor, Royce is no longer sitting back and waiting for superstardom to come to him. Instead, he is going out and taking what he deserves, and this is never more evident than on the M.I.C. Mixtape Vol. 2.
While his D-Elite crew joins along for the fun, make no mistake about it, Royce Da 5'9 is the entire show. "Buzzin" starts the album off on the right foot, as Marcus Garvey's crazy operatic beat will send chills down your spine. However, that is only the start, as Royce is just getting warmed up. He takes it to another level with the album's finest track "Basic Rap". Royce literally blacks out over Asar's spellbinding piano loop, as he sends a message to all those simple-minded emcees in the game. "Basic rapper I hate you, go back to the date that you came from. Nigga, rhymes done change, styles done advanced, Run DMC is a classic. Nigga, get back in your time machine". Royce continues to display his lyrical hunger and precise wordplay on efforts such as "Gone In 30 Second", "52 Bars" and "Simon Says". However, not to be forgotten is the standout cut "On The Road", in which Royce discusses his best source of income, performing on the road. Asar once again amazes on the production side with his haunting vocal samples.
While Royce certainly holds his own on the M.I.C. Mixtape, the album does falter on a couple of the collaborations. Cutty Mack, Young Rell and June fail to impress with their respective verses on "Switch". The same goes for Juan and Cutty Mack on "No Talent Rappers", no matter the song's dope beat. "Back In The Days" is the only other misstep, as Asar offers a surprisingly weak throwback beat.
Even though Royce may not have the buzz he once had years ago, there is no denying that he has improved his game immensely. Royce is doing what more emcees should do by sticking to his guns and releasing material that is going to satisfy his core base first. After which he will most likely branch out on his up and coming album with Nottz. But for now, you will be hard pressed to find a hungrier emcee than Royce Da 5'9. Slim Shady beware, Royce is making a strong run at Detroit's crown.