Happy Birthday, Royce da 5’9″!
Detroit is well represented with Dej Loaf, Danny Brown and Big Sean repping for the city. More then a decade before they broke out, you had Eminem and his partner-in-rhyme Royce da 5'9". Royce turns 38 years old today (July 5).
Em and Royce are two of the most lethal rappers to rise from the Motor City. Their collaborations were excellent and their radio freestyles were the stuff of hip-hop legend. They split up for a while after a falling out.
Em went on to become the best-selling rapper ever, while Royce went on to have a great underground career propelled by his sharp lyricism. His 2002 debut album, Rock City, is his most acclaimed project, and the single "Boom," produced by DJ Premier, was a noteworthy hit that marked the beginning of their musical endeavors together as the rap supergroup PRhyme.
In 2006, Royce, whose real name is Ryan Daniel Montgomery, was sentenced to one-year in prison for violating his probation stemming from a DUI charge. He came back out strong, dropping the excellent The Bar Exam mixtapes and his solid 2009 album, Street Hop.
In 2008, he teamed up with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Kxng Crooked to form the rap collective Slaughterhouse. Alliances were also reformed, too. Royce and Eminem reconciled to drop their 2011 collaborative effort, Hell: The Sequel.
Royce doesn't simply take pride in his collaborations, though. "I may not make MTV’s “hottest list” — which I could care less — but if you wanna throw 10 rappers in a cypher, you’d probably name me or somebody from my group," Royce said in a 2014 interview with The Boombox. "You would probably put me in the category of somebody you’d want standing in front of some turntables."