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Exclusive Interview

Royce da 5'9" Opens Up About Creative Process & Addiction

While chatting about PRhyme and his new endeavor with DJ Premier, the Slaughterhouse rapper details some personal struggles

Now that Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier are putting their passion together for PRhyme, their new rap duo, they see that this particular project magnified certain strengths that their output with Slaughterhouse didn't necessarily.

"With the PRhyme project, we wanted to keep it as authentic to how I started as possible," says Royce. "A lot of times as artists, especially as aggressive MCs, we sign a deal, and the thing that made people pay attention to us in the first place, we're programmed to abandon that. You start getting hit with these titles: 'I want to hear mix tape Royce! Gimme the Royce from 'Boom' on that!" You start developing all these different sides to your style, and I don't really agree with that. I want to see the day when my raw lyrics get played on the radio, and if they don't, whatever. I feel like I've got every opportunity and outlet to do that with Prem, because it's the ultimate stamp. It's the original ultimate stamp. No matter what happens or what the outcome is, we'll provide that balance for the newer kids coming up, to be able to hear raw scratches in lyrics. Not a whole lot of trendy flows and all that, just flows and lyrics that will last."

As for the differences between PRhyme and Slaughterhouse when it comes to down to the creative process, Royce feels like it's less of a band vs. band thing and more of a match that lit within him when he overcame some obstacles with addiction, which were directly affecting his relationship to rap.

"As artists, we just have to reassure ourselves that we never needed that stuff to begin with," says Royce. "I can think back to a time where I used to go to this hip hop club, Ebony Showcase, and I never thought about drinking. I never worried about having to depend on my memory to write a rap, memorize it in a day, go spit it live onstage, never fumble over a line or nothing like that. It was all about the music. Somehow, I lost sight of that, once I started making money and I started being around certain people. Once I started drinking, I started drowning my gift a little bit. I started thinking, did I need to drink to do everything? Not even just rap, interviews, calling Prem to have a conference call, anything. I didn't realize how dependent I was on alcohol until I stopped drinking and I realized how awkward everything felt. I just had to give myself some time to just dry out and dig down and find my own confidence and allow myself the time. That's why I set out for two years. I didn't release any music for two years. It was just kind of a leap of faith I had to take for myself. I had to stop giving hip hop myself. You can have my music, but you can't have me no more. I've been giving me all these years."

Props to Royce for being so forthcoming on such a tough topic. For more on his personal and artistic growth, check out the Fuse exclusive above.

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