Review Summary: Cold raindrops hitting your head after a terrible day, this is what Death Is Certain sounds like.Death is Certain
speaks volumes of Royce Da 5’9”. Before this effort, there was a certain playfulness about Royce Da 5’9 that sort of balanced out and made his records enjoyable on such efforts as Rock City 2.0
and Street Hop
. Despite that lack of playful balance, Royce’s pain stated on Death Is Certain
makes it not only Royce’s best effort lyrically, but his best album over his entire career. How is this? Well, Death Is Certain
is a record of painful misbalance, like life, it never resolves the pain at the end of the record with a ballad at the end. It’s completely consistent in mood; Royce is a very angry rapper.
And yet, it works for Death Is Certain
, even the records cheerier moments, like the cowboy western soundtrack of “Gangsta” or the odd mood dissonance of the Spanish vocals in “Everybody Goes”, contain a very fierce and gun toting Royce Da 5’9” who has sort of both given up on the good in people and is on the prowl to kill. The closest the record gets to a ballad is “Death Is Certain pt. 2 (It Hurts)”, which is melancholy tune detailing a desperate Royce Da 5’9” dealing with a dyeing friend. The albums best moments where Royce is mentioning family or getting as angry as possible, and as such the albums best track, and Royce’s best song, is the swirling epic closer “Something’s Wrong With Him”, where Royce even names that his own wife has a strong distaste of his music.
For an underground album, Death Is Certain
’s production value is oddly high. Each track, while not matching the high quality of the mainstream, it by no means get in the ways of Royce angry verses, which take more of a literal sense then a series of metaphoric punches and punchlines more like his earlier material. Other than the classical humping “Throwback” and the odd transitions of the tropical “What I Know”, the album continues a certain quality control, with beats ranging from the dramatic violins of Premier’s masterpiece “Hip Hop”, to the subtle, moody chants of the decent “Bomb 1st”.
Death is Certain
is a Royce Da 5’9’’ masterpiece, and almost uniformly consistent and sounds like a cohesive whole as opposed to just a bunch of parts. Death Is Certain
is more than the sum of its parts, and although some songs entirely shine, as an entire record it fits together well into one piece that tells the tale of Royce’s life at this point. Royce Da 5’9” is completely serious and switches from gun toting to brutal honesty to depressing tales of passing friends. With this effort, Royce truly opens himself with his lyrics in a way that is rarely done, and thus makes his best record as of yet.