Name: Royce Da 5'9"
Mixtape: Build and Destroy
Joints to check for: "What We Do," "Renegade" featuring Eminem, "She's the One" featuring Eminem, "Life Goes On."
Previous mixtapes: Royce has kept a steady presence on the underground scene for years.
The 411: If it's not one thing it's another for Royce. He's had well documented record label problems with Tommy Boy and Columbia, and now he's embroiled in a lyrical feud with D12 and onetime good friend and multiple-time partner in rhyme Eminem.
Royce, who already released Rock City 2.0, returns to his mixtape roots with a double CD of album cuts, rare records, unreleased tracks and freestyles on Build and Destroy. Ever wonder what Eminem would sound like over a Neptunes beat? Royce answers your curiosity, with him and Slim Shady rhyming about harlots on "She's the One" over a track credited to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo.
"Get me drunk and I'll drink anything you can think/ What up Ms. Bitch?," Em rhymes, addressing a girl with disrespect.
Em, who came up through the underground ranks with Royce, pops up on a few cuts throughout the double CD, including a version of "Renegade" where he duets with Da 5'9" and not Jay-Z as we've heard on The Blueprint.
Royce does show there's more to him than his association with his former hometown homeboy. He drops his punchy one-liners and metaphors on tracks like "King of Detroit" and "Running," using production from the likes of Just Blaze, Kanye West and the Alchemist.
Also just touching down on the underground circuit are CDs from other underdogs on the move. Philadelphia's longtime lyrical annihilator Gillie Da Kid brings Appetizers. Signed to Cash Money Records, Gillie, who made noise as part of the collective Major Figgas, features a bunch of his solo tracks and performances with his rhyme mates.
Holding it down for Harlem, the Hot Ones get back on their grind, with a new arsenal of material via The Best of the Best Vol. 1 1996-2003. They have several freestyles of some of your favorite beats, like "What Up Gangsta" and "Pump It Up," but they also bring back a couple of their previous bangers like "Good Morning America," which features Cam'ron.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.