I Can't Call It: The Book of Ryan - Royce Da 5'9"

Posted On Thursday, May 10, 2018

I don't think there's ever been a MC that I root for more then Royce. Why? Cause from the second I first heard the Preem produced "Boom" I KNEW this dude was a problem. Now, the only problem that the problem had was that he could never make an entire album that was a dope as those Preem produced bangers he would always have on tap. (Boom, 2nd Round, Hip Hop, Shake This, etc.) Which is one of the reasons I was hype as hell when they linked up for their PRhyme projects which ended up being the 1st entire Royce album I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. It also didn't hurt that Preemo produced the entire thing and used all Adrian Young samples cause it's kinda hard to go wrong with those two. Then he drops "Trust the Shooter" which was also dope so I'm thinking bet...Royce finally got the formula down pat right? Wrong. Cause with his next album "Layers" I felt like we were right back to where we first started with Royce albums. Now the next thing you know "PRhyme 2" drops which is another Roycebanger and then word gets to ear that he's dropping his "most personal album to date" with "The Book of Ryan." But ya'll know me, I ain't falling for the banana in the tailpipe for like the 4th time cause this will end up just being another dope lyrical album with sub par beats right? 

"The Book of Ryan" sets off with "Woke" and has Royce doing what Royce does best, which is SPAZZ the F&%K out, "this one's for those of you just ain't woke yet hotep/ you rich but you broke nigga just don't know yet hotep/these rappers ain't woke yet, security back 'em hotep/ hotep, come to Detroit with that oh yes/that's a toe tag Might as well have Mayweather back ya at a Black's match-up, protest, that's that write a check you can't cash I might have to collect/that's that yo ass is bleeding, that's that Kotex I massacre your whole rap allegiance oh yes." The album's second single "Caterpillar" featuring Eminem is exactly what you would expect from a Royce & Em collabo and is dope but damn this beats sounds EXACTLY like Cyhi's "Nu Africa." I'm talking drops and everything. But I guess since they were both produced by S1 & Epikho Pro that would explain it. The Mr. Porter produced "God Speed" is dope and has Royce spitting about overcoming the odds, "I'm from the streets where the odds are not even, robbery, thievin', ballers, debauchery, schemin'/Allah and Jesus, it's hard to believe I'm a product of Eve in the garden of Eden/speakin', how targeted we been? Rihanna stalker, I'm parked in her DMs, shark in the deep end/put the paws on you, I soften your defense, hit your pause button, halt your critiquin'/talk is cheap, the more you niggas talk it, it cheapens and all I see is prayer 'round the streets today/I'm about a freak away from havin' Issa Rae eatin' out LisaRaye, any artist out that you see is great, tell 'em I said bring his ass better bring his A, let his single play" and "Dumb" is stupid and has Royce trading bars with Boogie over a dope beat sounding like some classic Dre.

"Cocaine" sets off the more personal side of the album with Royce breaking down his father's struggles with his addiction to cocaine, the album's first single "Boblo Boat" featuring hip hop's favorite singer J. Cole(who actually killes her verse) has Royce reminiscing on spending time at a Detroit amusement park while the Mr. Porter produced "Legendary" is trapish but kinda boom bapish at the same time and the jawn bangs. And while most MCs are always trying to duck that wreck aka not having other dope lyricists on their album's posse cut if their album even has a posse cut in the first place and that's where "Summer On Smash" comes in with Kiss, Pusha & Fab and my only beef with it is Push is only on the hook and doesn't have a verse. "Amazing" has Royce walking into his childhood neighborhood corner store and and going down memory lane, "remember me? I used to buy all of the mystery mix now and laters", "Outside" featuring Marsha Ambrosious is dope and "Strong Friend" has Royce asking the question that when you're the one in your squad always holding everybody else down, who's ever there to hold you down?

"Stay Woke" has Royce doing that spazzing thing he always does, "I’m fly as a dive in the sky in a harness,  anyone alive sleepin' on me can die in pajamas/police call me a threat to society though I am a promise, I am a one of one like I’d say a Isaiah Thomas/you can’t fathom thinking deep enough to sink the abyss, you think you Pac, I’m thinkin' of sinkin' your Demetrius Shipp/only thing that I can’t fathom is why the preacher is rich, how to think in moderation and turn a drink to a sip/I’m private when I fl, I ball out like 'Bron do, you in the game but you sit and coach like Tyronn Lue/me and my soldiers we just out here mobbin' like old Italians, snatching your homie's necklace to rock it with your medallion/over these groceries, I’m toe-to-toe with your whole battalion, I hit you with four from this .44 like Hova album" and I absolutely love how the album ends with the TPain assisted "The First of the Month" but my fave song on "The Book..." is the Boi-1da"Power" which has Royce breaking down the abuse his family dealt with at the hands of his father. "My big bro got a lot of emotional problems, he feel that we was all abused as kids/he saw momma get dragged down all kinds of stairs like a ragdoll when he was two/and this is back when Daddy used to sniff cocaine, poor thang, he had to be subjected to this when he gets drunk, he gets to losing it/he gets the illusion that he gon' protect us all from the Big Bad Wolf Stand up to him and prove some shit, but all he really doing is stressing mom out."

I've always said that great music is just like a photo album because if the right song comes on, it'll instantly transport you back to where you were when that song dropped. You'll be thinking about who you were dating, who you were running with, what grade you were in etc.etc. So last week when I was taking my daughter to the carnival (which has been a tradition since she was 3) and Royce's song "Boblo Boats" popped in my mind that's when I realized that Royce not only made his dopest dolo album yet but he also made an album that encompasses everything that great music should be. Something that makes you smile, reminisce, laugh, cry, remember good times and bad times, etc. So it's dope that for "The Book of Ryan" Royce not only has dope rhymes AND dope beats but what's what impresses me the most is that he's made an album that will be able to have any and everybody who listens going back down memory lane whenever they listen and to me THAT'S the dopest thing about "The Book of Ryan."

4.5 outta 5 mics

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