Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape: The Bar Exam 3: The Most Interesting Man in the World
Headliners: Royce Da 5'9" and DJ Whoo Kid
Key Cameos: Kid Vishis on "Go Hard Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2," Black Milk and Elzhi on "Real Hip-Hop" and Slaughterhouse on "Beamer, Benz or Bentley (ShadyMegaMix)"
Essential Info: Royce Da 5'9" has been known to indulge in a drink or two at times, but not even he could have guessed that he would be influenced by Dos Equis. The beer's "Most Interesting Man in the World" ad campaign served as a catalyst for his new mixtape.
"I was gonna call it Bar Exam 3: Multiple Personalities," Royce explained. "It shows different sides to me. Then I ran across that intro [of 'The Most Interesting Man in the World'] on the Net. I just thought the sh-- was hilarious. So it's like I just switched up at the end. I called it that because I wanted to use those skits. I thought those skits were hilarious. It's just that cut-and-dried."
5'9" kept the comedy going on a record called "I Hate Your Pants." He sings -- yes, sings -- about his disdain for trousers that are too tight.
"With this mixtape, I was trying to showcase my personality more," Royce said. "People listen to me and think I'm always so serious, when actually I'm the exact opposite. I'm always joking around and drinking and having fun. I was trying to bring that across in this. I think I nailed that in 'I Hate Your Pants.' That's an ongoing joke in the studio, about skinny jeans. We actually got something on wax that showed that. I did it quick. Two eight-bar verses and the hook. It took me longer to make the beat."
"Taxi Driver" is a conceptual track, on which the Detroit mic king is behind the wheel and alone with his thoughts until he picks up two passengers. "It's a song I did a long time ago," he explained. "I wanted to put it on The Bar Exam, because I felt it didn't get the light it deserved. It's like I'm driving in a taxi. I got two passengers in the car. One of the passengers is Tupac, one is Biggie. I drop 'Pac off at the place he got killed. I drop Biggie at the place he got killed. Basically, we lost hip-hop when we lost these two. One of them is named 'Hip' and one is named 'Hop.' But it's Biggie and 'Pac."
Royce even mimics the two legends' voices and deliveries on the record as he raps from their perspective.
On "187 (Response)," Royce disses Saigon, responding to an interview from last year where Sai said Slaughterhouse could not make records.
"I don't have a problem with him," Royce said of Saigon. "He just sparked a competitive nerve in me. It made me wanna compete. He said, 'Them n---as can't write no record.' If you feel free enough to speak on somebody like that, I feel he should take that on the chin. I don't feel it should be some kind of backlash. He said something, and I said something. I'm totally prepared to leave it right there."
Royce also said his record aimed at Saigon has nothing to do with Sai's past problems with Joe Budden. "Joey is my man," he said. "I make it my business to stay outta the sh-- he has going on. Me and Saigon was cool. I was cool with Saigon before I got cool with Joey."
Royce said Slaughterhouse's signing with Shady Records has been stuck in a web of red tape, but the deal is looking like it should be finalized in a matter of weeks. As for Royce's solo LP, he's not sure if that will be in the cards for Shady as well.