ROYCE DA 5'9" Death Is Certain (KOCH) Rating: NNN
Detroit's gun-totin' battle MC Royce da 5'9" is a solid rapper with a flair for flippin' the script and spittin' some sharp one-liners. But it's weird that Royce, aka Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001 ghostwriter, still feels the need to make all those references to his former pal Eminem. If there weren't all this Shady name-dropping and aimless killing, I'd have another N for him. 'Cause the production (including a DJ Premier burner) is tight, and Royce's lyrical cleverness is above the trite, violent filler.