Hot off of the heels of the successful Slaughterhouse movement, Royce da 5'9 readies his latest solo debut Street Hop. Royce has always been a love him or hate him kind of guy for me. I was never really impressed with his lyricism until recently and his persona isn't anything special to me, he's just from Detroit.
Street Hop starts off with the tried, true and traditional for Royce as the first song is called "Gun Harmonizing" which also features Crooked I who steals the song from under Royce. on "Soldier" which features a relative unknown in Kid Vishis, Royce spits energetically over some bouncing production. Those are probably the brightest spots until the end of the album.
Songs like "Dinner time", "New Money", and "Shake this" are all unnecessary as they don't add anything to the album and could have been cut as the LP is 17 songs deep. The production is excellent throughout but the lack of diversity from the normal "I'm gangster and I run the streets talk" is disappointing though not at all unexpected. That is Royce's basic formula.
Mr. Porter of d12 lends his vocals to "Mine iz thiz" where Royce goes in and raps in a more d-12-ish style. Trick Trick reminds everyone that Detroit is a No Fly Zone on "Gangsta", and Phonte from Little Brother guests on "Something 2 Ride 2". "Warriors" which features Slaughterhouse is one of the joints that should have made that actual album but finds itself here.
Like I said the end of the album is where it's merits are. "Street Hop 2010" features Royce spitting some of his best bars on the album with an impressive array of similes and metaphors. I'm not a fan of non-west indian descendants using the patois but Royce doesn't really disrespect it on "Bad Boy" which features a hook by Jungle Rock Jr. The Highlights are the three story tracks two of which are a continuous narrative that starts with the back end of the story then "flashes back" to the beginning in the songs "On The Run" and "Murder". Not the most creative titles but the songs are serious, especially "Murder". "Part of Me" is an unexpected tale of set-up and betrayal that you really have to hear. The album wraps up with "Hood Love" with Bun B and Joell Ortiz where once again Bun seems out of place with lyricists.
Overall, the album has superb production with a good balance of sounds. It is very crisp sounding and Royce shows that lyrically he may be at the top of his game when he is inspired. Unfortunately, for a part of the album, he settles in to the same bland coverage of street life without really adding anything to it. His lyrics are good, but the subject matter came up a little flat. Royce does save the album with the last four or five songs that elevates it a few notches.
Rating: 3/5 (it's a high 3 lol)