V Exclusive: Royce Da 5'9" On Working w/ Eminem For Bad Meets Evil's 'Hell: The Sequel'

With the recent release of Bad Meets Evil’s Hell: The Sequel, the much talked about EP featuring hip-hop icon Eminem and respected underground spitter Royce Da 5’9” has been more than a decade in the making. But for the longtime friends and Detroit natives—who first combined their soaring lyrical gifts and sneering penchant for eyebrow-raising barbs in the late ‘90s on “Nuttin' to Do / Scary Movies" and “Fast Lane”—the release was highly unlikely just a few years ago.

Following an altercation between Royce and members of Em’s D12 rhyme collective, the pair had a public falling-out. Diss records were exchanged; relationships were frayed. After the tragic 2008 tragic shooting death of fellow friend and D12 member Proof, Royce, Em and his D12 cohorts pushed aside their beef. Yet Ironically, it was the signing of the hip-hop super group Slaughterhouse (made up of Royce, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I) to Eminem’s Shady Records that led the way for a Bad Meets Evil reunion. Now Royce Da 5’9” offers his personal account on how Bad Meets Evil came together against all odds; how his self-destructive behavior almost destroyed his career; and why his upcoming album is his best work yet.—Keith Murphy

Royce: How did the Bad Meets Evil project come together? We just started recording songs a while ago with no real intent in mind. We didn’t come to the table and say, “Yo, we are going to do a project.” It started with a song that I had that I wanted to use for my album. I came to Em with it, and we had so much fun recording it. We never thought it was going to be for a big project.  Mr. Porter would bring a beat on the plane and we would hear it, and jump on it. And that was it. 

But Em and I looked up I don’t know how many months later, and we had all of these great songs. We didn’t know what we were going to do with them. But like I said, making an album was never the plan, but certain conversations started to be had and we decided to put out Hell: The Sequel as an EP. Ironically, there has always been talk of me and Em making a project together. But for it to come out [almost over a decade later] has been a great surprise for us and the fans.

Being a part of Slaughterhouse led to the Bad Meets Evil project. It opened the door for me and Em to get together. Em is the one that signed Slaughterhouse and he knew I was a part of the group. But being a part of Slaughterhouse has also helped me individually. It turned me on to a lot of different fanbases from three other different individuals that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. We got together and it pushed me lyrically. That’s part of the reason I’ve been able to stay relevant in the [music industry]…I keep my ear to the streets.

I’ve learned a lot from my past mistakes. A lot of my issues were caused outside of the booth because of my attitude. I’ve been able to work on myself as a man. It’s no longer about whether or not I can rap or how talented I am. It’s no longer about me thinking I’m better than other [artists]. I’m just trying to keep the mistakes down to a minimum. I’ve mended certain relationships; my relationship with Em and others. I’m just doing things organically.

If I could go back and talk to Royce of 2003 as an older, wiser person, I don’t know what I would say. Yes, I made a lot of mistakes. But I needed to make them in order to learn. There were a lot of people who were telling me things back then that I didn’t listen to. I’m an alpha male, so I had to learn how to make my [stumbles] on my own. I’m still going to make some mistakes, but the one good quality that I have today is I know now not to make the same mistakes.

Right now, I’m just finishing up my solo album. It’s called

Success Is Certain. It’s a spin-off of a project that I had out called Death Is Certain, which was a dark period in my life where I was stuck in this time frame where all I was rapping about was all the negative stuff that I was going through. I spoke a lot on my failures and people turning their back on me. Now I am in a good place. Hearing all the positive [feedback] for Hell: The Sequel from all the Bad Meets Evil fans has been great. I feel like I’m in the better and more positive position in my career today than I was in the past.—As Told To K.M.

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After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.


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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

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— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."


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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"


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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.


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Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

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“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

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