Since the news broke that DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9” are joining forces for a collaborative album, Hip-Hop purists have been rejoicing. In each of their own rights, they've both contributed a great deal to rap. Neither has ever compromised. DJ Premier is undoubtedly one of the best producers Hip-Hop has ever seen and Royce Da 5’9” is a phenomenal lyricist from Detroit that only a select few can compete with.
But prior to the announcement of PRHYME, the title of DJ Premier and Royce’s joint album, Nickel Nine and Premo have also worked together numerous times. Therefore, we've ranked their top 10 collaborations to date.
Don't get it twisted… all of these records are good. But some are still better than others.
10. “Writer’s Block [Remix]”
Premo’s remix of Royce Da 5’9” and Eminem’s “Writer’s Block” does a great job of bringing his excellent signature sound to an already dope song. StreetRunner and Sarom’s original instrumental is not only a solid beat for rappers, but one that could also fit easily into the score of a Tim Burton movie too. One isn’t better than the other; both instrumentals do the Detroit emcees justice.
9. “Hood Love”
Alongside Bun B and Joell Ortiz, Royce closes out Street Hop on a high note. Not surprisingly, the song was ideal on continuing to promote Slaughterhouse and it set the stage for Bun B and Premier to work together on the Trill OG highlight, “Let ‘Em Know.”
8. “Hit Em”
Nickel Nine goes in on this one and gets The Bar Exam off to a strong start. In addition to Premier’s beat, the song is also memorable for the Gangstarr and Guru mention before the final chorus comes in. “I’m a Gangsta as well as a Star / Put ‘em together, and you caught me pickin’ up where Guru left off.”
7. “Something 2 Ride 2”
Royce’s collabo with Phonte on Street Hop exudes a mellow vibe that comes across perfectly via Premier’s use of Archie Bell and the Drells “Right Here is Where I Want to Be” for a sample. Lyrically, Royce is worthy of the beat too. Cause my pencil is priceless, so what you running for? / N***a I’m comin’ for you; if I’m the hyphen, then you the underscore.”
6. “Ding! Ding!”
Placed in the first third of The Bar Exam mixtape, this Premier-produced original track holds its own while Royce also raps atop previously used instrumentals throughout the release. Additionally, while Royce Da 5’9” is obviously regarded as a spitter, the most memorable thing about this song is how Mr. Montgomery proves that he can really put feeling into his raps as well.
5. “Second Place”
Over DJ Premier’s signature boom-bap sound, Royce rightfully proclaims that the only way he’ll see second place is if he “runs a marathon backwards.” The scratched “10 Million Stars” sample is very fitting for anyone who even thinks they can give 5’9” a run for his money, and so in the words of LL Cool J: Kiss the ring, be gone.
4. “My Friend”
This song is a little more eccentric than what people have come to expect from DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9.” The song is about Royce’s penis, but it isn’t just an excuse to rhyme dirty. Instead, it’s a clever ode to an organ - ranging from its sexual prowess to the act of masturbation to even how it is loyal to Royce himself. By no means is it anything to be taken that seriously, but it isn’t too silly to just be written off as a gimmick either.
3. “Shake This”
Like “Ding! Ding!,” “Shake This” is another record which shows there definitely can be emotional depth to Royce’s outstanding bars. The song has a real “me against the world” mentality to it and that is what makes the end of the third verse so powerful. “I’mma do it this time, I’m feeling really defined / Unsigned to signed, n***a the city is mine.”
DJ Premier has said that the “Hip Hop” instrumental was originally for a Mary J. Blige remix. However, when the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul passed on the beat, it was sent to Royce. And the results are a standout cut on his Death is Certain set. The song says it best: “Me and Preem, both names go together / Like they ain’t supposed to be separate like D&D.”
Track number 11 on Rock City [Version 2.0] is the highlight of Royce and Premier’s collaborations thus far. It’s an example of the two of them each doing what they do best. From Premo’s scratching to Nickel Nine’s outstanding lyricism (“Everybody claiming they the best, and they head the throne / Since B.I.G. is gone, if you ask me, they ‘Dead Wrong’”), “Boom” is the bomb and the ticks and clavinet make it even more explosive.
What’s your favorite Royce Da 5’9” and DJ Premier collaboration so far? Please let us know in the comments section!