While mostly known for delivering rapid-fire raps alongside longtime friend Eminem, on his eighth solo studio album Royce Da 5’9” dials back the barrage of syllables to address some important topics and make sure the listener hears every word.
The album’s title, a reference to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave — a story in which lifelong prisoners have no desire to leave because they know nothing better — Royce speaks at length on various injustices and prejudices in America over some extravagant and free-flowing jazzy boom-bap instrumentals.
Every track here was actually produced by Royce himself, who only started trying his hand at crafting beats last year. You’d never know it – the beats are lush and complex, as if they could be from a movie score about Royce’s upbringing.
Nobody is safe from Royce’s ire on this project, as he blames the government’s lack of control on the circulation of guns and drugs for the deaths of a list of game-changers ranging from Dr. King to Mac Miller and even calls out labelmate Yelawolf for being racist behind closed doors. A noted punchline rapper, quite a few of his bars are hilarious and sad at the same time. “Hero,” a tribute to his father, closes the album out on a hopeful note.