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The Five Best Pre-PRhyme Royce tha 5'9" & DJ Premier Tracks

Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier, better known together now as PRhyme, have just released their debut collaborative album together. But the two have actually been working together for over a decade. It's been one of the most fruitful partnerships in rap, with both accentuating each others' strengths in a diverse number of ways.

For those who are just now getting into the PRhyme album, here's five cuts they did before this new record that are absolutely worth your attention

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5. "Ding Ding" (2007)
Following Royce's one year incarceration for violating his probation with a DUI, he released his first Bar Exam EP in 2007. Among the standout tracks on there was "Ding Ding," the Premier-produced track where Royce stretches an extended boxing metaphor throughout the entire song. It's a concept record that both allows Premier to amp up an energetic production, as well as lets Royce get creative with the bountiful subject matter.


4. "My Friend" (2002)
An early collaboration between Royce and Premier came from an unlikely subject matter, with even less likely results. Rappers have done songs about their, and others' genitalia before, often with a junior high "HEY EVERYBODY! I'M MAKING A DICK JOKE" demeanor. Instead, on "My Friend" Royce's monotone delivery allows for his dry sense of humor to be on full display. Adding to the track's punch is Premier's catchy beat and scratch-hook, making the punchlines that much sharper.


3. "Boom" (2002)
One of the first times people heard what Royce and Premier sounded like together was on Royce's 2002 debut album Rock City. While the record got somewhat overshadowed by a year full of massive releases, "Boom's" come to be remembered as one of the best tracks both Royce and Premier created in this era of their careers. A staple of Royce performances and Premier compilations since, "Boom" was a strong sign of things to come that's aged incredibly well.


2. "Hit 'Em" (2007)
Premier's finest productions both pushed the limits about what samples could be utilized in a hip-hop groove, as well as allow the MCs he's collaborating with to show their full versatile array of styles. On "Hit 'Em," the heavier rock sounds in the beat, smash and crush the soundscape allowing for Royce to use a start-and-stop flow bordering on the avant garde. The two's boundary-pushing approach comes together so smoothly that one wouldn't realize how experimental the track was unless it's pointed out. A stand-out track in any era.


1. "Hip-Hop" (2004)
Royce's persona in 2004 was a unique one. Have first made a name for himself on indie label Game Recordings, which lead to a few early breaks including being featured on Eminem songs during his ascent and being chosen to provide rap verses on a handful of pop singles, really made his trajectory a visible climb for hip-hop heads. But while his debut album Rock City got maligned and overshadowed, its obstacles in the face of the work he'd put in endeared him to listeners even more.

When Royce dropped "Hip-Hop" as the first single from Death is Certain, it was a promising sign the fan-favorite was going to finally reach the peaks longtime fans knew he was capable of. Along with one of Premier's most inspired and immediately recognizable beats of the decade, it's an unforgettable track that still get played and used in media like it came out today instead of 11 years ago.

PRhyme. With Your Old Droog, Boldy James, Freez, and DJ Willie Shu. Sunday, March 1 at Fine Line. Tickets.

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